Hailing Taxis

A major miscalculation cost Broward County's taxi czar his monopoly

Just before Eggelletion introduced his motion Tuesday, he spoke briefly with Cadet, the leader of a large group of Haitian drivers who contract with Yellow Cab and have been complaining for years that Gaddis is a tyrannical boss. Cadet and Eggelletion joined forces during last year's campaign, and Cadet has recently been lobbying other commissioners on the airport issue. Cadet says the monopoly has forced him and hundreds of other drivers to accept unfair contracts with Gaddis. They claim to work long hours for little pay and argue that the county's deal with Yellow Cab -- which remains in effect through December -- makes it extremely difficult to start a business that could compete with Gaddis's.

Gaddis counters that Cadet and his fellow Haitians waste their time at the airport rather than taking advantage of Yellow Cab's unparalleled countywide dispatch service. "They just want to take their bedrolls and dominoes out to the airport and wait in line an hour or two to get a ride," Gaddis complains. "I'm not the source of their unhappiness; I'm just a symbol that they've come up with.... I represent some type of oppression. I want to have a good relationship with my drivers. Do you think I like it that they hate me?"

Though he may not be able to run all the taxis at the airport after his contract runs out, Gaddis asserts that his company will still be the biggest game in town. And sounding like a poker player with a good hand, he predicts drivers who leave his company will return sooner or later to take advantage of his dispatch system. "I won't have to pay the county $400,000 a year, and I won't have to pay for the dispatchers at the airport anymore," he says, as if he's relieved at the vote. "Hell, I won't have to pay anything."

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