A top official of Chicago’s largest cab company — Chicago Carriage Cab — has been charged with illegally obtaining “clean” vehicle titles for at least 180 wrecked cars that had been put into service as taxis on the city streets, federal officials announced Monday.
Alexsandr Igolnikov, 67, of Northbrook, was arrested and charged with one count of conspiracy, two counts of interstate transportation of false automobile titles and two counts of possession of false auto titles in an indictment that a federal grand jury handed down last month.
The indictment was unsealed today following Ignolikov’s arrest. on Aug. 27 and unsealed today following his arrest. He is scheduled to appear at 3 p.m. today in U.S. District Court.
Igolnikov is a business partner of Symon Garber, a Russian immigrant who became Chicago’s cab king after meeting Mayor Richard M. Daley’s son Patrick in 2003.
The federal charges come four years after a Chicago Sun-Times investigation disclosed that Garber’s company illegally used wrecked or salvaged vehicles, including a suburban police car, as taxis in violation of city ordinance.
Garber’s company agreed to pay $1 million fines in March 2011, settling an investigation by Daley’s consumer services agency that found Garber’s two fleets of maroon-colored cabs — Chicago Carriage Cab and Royal 3 CCC Chicago Taxi — had illegally converted 183 salvaged or rebuilt vehicles into taxis.
At the time of the settlement, Garber and his partners, including Igolnikov, were facing more than $9 million in fines when they settled the case with City Hall, a deal that called for Garber to replace more than 600 of the 800 cabs.
Garber, a polo-playing multi-millionaire who lives in New Jersey, and his company had deep ties to the Daley administration. He has been a close friend of Daley’s son, and Daley’s former chief of staff, Gery Chico, worked as a lobbyist for the cab company. Chico’s law firm helped strike the settlement with City Hall.
Garber operated 400 cabs in New York City when he began operating in Chicago. He has also had a fleet of cabs in New Orleans.
Source: Chicago SunTimes