Dana Young calls for FDLE investigation into PTC
State Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa, is asking the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate Public Transportation Commission Executive Director Kyle Cockream’s relationship with taxicab and limousine rental firms.
It comes after the Tampa Bay Times reported that the PTC used employees from those industries in sting operations targeting drivers from their competitors Uber and Lyft for operating without permits and commercial insurance.
In a letter to FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen sent today, Young said Cockream’s actions should be reviewed to “determine if ethical or legal boundaries have been crossed.”
“When the Times broke the story, it was clear the lines between the regulator and the regulated had become blurred beyond recognition,” Young said.
Young first talked to State Attorney Mark Ober about the sting operations before referring the issue to FDLE.
The emails obtained by the Times showed that taxicab and limo firms were advised ahead of time about several sting operations in May.
The collaboration didn't end there.
The taxi and limo firms - which the PTC is supposed to regulate - were active participants, providing pretend "passengers" who used smartphone apps to lure Uber and Lyft drivers to locations where PTC enforcement officers were waiting to dole out $700 fines.
Young is not the only elected official concerned about the PTC’s relationship with taxicab firms.
“We definitely have enough evidence that it needs to be looked into,” said State Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg. “I think now other legislators are jumping on this issue and share the concerns I’ve had for years.”
Cockream said he had "no comment on this as of now."