When Symone Palermo got out of the back of the Lincoln Town Car her husband Dan Keys Jr. was driving, city Taxi & Limousine Commision agents pulled him over for operating an illegal taxi , the couple says in their new Queens Supreme Court lawsuit.
The married couple claims that on May 8, 2013 agents mistook the biracial Palermo for a white woman, and assumed she was a customer because the driver was black .
Palermo and Keys told the agents they were married, but their explanation had no effect, according to the lawsuit.
“When attempting to identify illegally operated taxis, it is the official policy or custom of [the city and the TLC] to instruct its employees to target and single out vehicles operated by minorities with white passengers,” the lawsuit says.
But Keys was simply doing what husbands all across the city do every morning, dropping his wife off at work.
The suit explains that Palermo was sitting in the back seat because the front passenger seat was wet.
After dropping Palermo off at her job at Bob’s Discount Furniture in Flushing, the agents pulled Keys over.
When Palermo returned to clear up the misunderstanding, she was also hit with a summons because the car is registered in her name.
Adding insult to injury, the agents confiscated the car.
A city administrative judge eventually ruled in the couple’s favor and dismissed the summonses. But the TLC kept the Town Car until the judge ruled in their favor eight days later.
A TLC spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit.
“We’re respectfully reserving comment at this time in light of the pending litigation,” said spokesman Allan Fromberg.
The TLC nearly doubled the number of inspectors last year, hiring 70, and is hiring another 50 this summer. There are currently 171 inspectors. They have been focused on taking illegal cabs off the road, and making sure green cabs don’t do pickups in lower Manhattan.
[NY POST Report]