State Says Ridgewood Taxi Owes Over $300K in Taxes; Taxi Company Still Operating

Three judgments totaling $321,766 and a seizure of the train station office have not closed Ridgewood Taxi

On September 14, the New Jersey State Division of Taxation shuttered the train station property and seized some assets of Ridgewood Taxi. But the business is still operating, the owners confirmed with Patch.

An orange sign posted on the door of the village-owned property at the train station reads: "The personal property herein has been seized pursuant to N.J.S.A. 54:49-13A, for non-payment of New Jersey State taxes..."

According to Bill Quinn, a spokesman for the New Jersey Division of Taxation, Ridgewood Taxi (under the incorporated name of Cross County Transport) has had three separate judgments against them over the past 20 years, one dating back to 1993 and the other two in 2010 and 2011.

"The total judgment is $321,766," Quinn said by telephone Friday morning. The judgments, handed down from New Jersey Superior Court, found Ridgewood had not paid its corporate business taxes and gross income taxes, he said.

While Quinn declined to discuss specifics of the case, he said the state typically is willing to negotiate with the accused rather than performing a seizure.

But that's not what happened, according to Ridgewood Taxi Co-owner David Rutler.

"First of all, they took us by surprise," Rutler said of the Wednesday afternoon seizure, which resulted in a loss of mementos but no real operating equipment. "They [the New Jersey Division of Taxation] called us the day before and said they were going to do this. We got a hold of our tax attorneys but they didn't want to negotiate. They wanted 'x' amount of dollars or they were going to shut us down.'

"Ridgewood Taxi didn't owe the taxes," Rutler said Thursday, adding this stems from "old" claims. "They [the state taxation agency] still locked the office up and that lot is owned by the village. Our cars are still operational, the only problem is we need the phone numbers to answer the phones."

For now, Ridgewood Taxi is operating with one dispatcher and drivers are using cell phones. The taxi business is working with the telephone company to restore a telephone line. Until then, Rutler said those needing service should call (201) 286-6964.

"If they feel like they're [the state] not getting a response, they go ahead and do this," said Quinn, stressing that negotiation is always the first route and payment plans are often established for those without enough upfront cash.

Rutler argues the company has been wronged by the agency. "We're a small business and we're not subsidized by tax dollars. Everybody that came to that office was obtained by tax dollars to put 40 people out of work. So they can go and collect unemployment. Unbelievable."

Several of its vehicles at the garage parking lot, which is not owned by Ridgewood Taxi and had no seizure notice Patch observed. According to Quinn, typically, the goal of a seizure is to close operations.

"We'll sell anything of value to reduce the judgment," which includes tangible property. Quinn could not comment if any seizure was made to the Ridgewood Taxi garage, where vehicles and other assets are stored. He said the vehicles could not be taken because they were not owned by the company.

Mayor Keith Killion confirmed the village received notice that Ridgewood Taxi had its assets seized and the train station building was closed, but said the village did not participate in the seizure. The mayor confirmed Ridgewood Taxi has contacted the village to make them aware they're still in business.

Earlier in 2011, the after discovering the taxi company . A short time later, it out of Hawthorne. However, Ridgewood Taxi continued to operate out of the village-owned building at the train station until the state came on Wednesday morning. The company took legal action against the village, which is ongoing and has prevented E&K from moving in.

Killion said although the village owns the facility that was seized, it's in talks with its legal counsel to see what, if any, options it has in using the building. The seizure notice warns any tampering with the building could result in legal penalties.

He said the village could not comment on pending legal matters.

[Editor's note: Full disclosure – Kathy Rutler, wife of Ridgewood Taxi owner David Rutler, is a contributor to Patch. Her status as a contributor had no influence on the reporting of this report.]

Johnny September 15, 2011 at 09:37 PM
No company pleases all of it's clients regardless of how or who runs them. Someone at some time will have to deal with a situation that are un favorable about. As far as courtesy, They have left family events to drive clients personally in holidays they gave employees the day off. Say what you will,I'll take a family run business over any cooperate any day of the week. There is something to be said of a small company that has pictures of cabs in operation[their cabs] since the 40's. The cards will fall where they may, people kick when your down, The hands that reach out in assistance are always remembered. Ask your self this, Do you think any other owner would leave a holiday event to drive and elderly to the market? The public has a voice,use it.
David Rutler September 15, 2011 at 10:05 PM
Neal Im sorry you think we are a terrible operation. We take advanced airport reservations all day long and never tell an airport customer to "call when ready to go". We also check all arrival times on airport pick ups and try to meet everyone on time, 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Nomally we can not take time calls on local calls. This is were we request a call when ready. Waiting time can vary do to traffic conditions, weather, call volume, etc We are not perfect but we try our best. A taxi company like ours is the only form of public transportation that is not subsided by tax dollars. I hope you will reconsider using us in the future. I can be reached at 201-803-0593 Dave Rutler Ridgewood Taxi
David Rutler September 15, 2011 at 10:24 PM
Ms Frank You must have liked us at sometime if you used us for 25 years. That car did break down a call nd I am very sorry. I don't think I spoke with you and I know I did'nt yell at that driver, hes one of our best. You were not charged for the ride and our driver paid for a local cab for you. I can tell you about the car but its repaired and again I am sorry please give me a call at 201-803-0593
Harlan Consider September 15, 2011 at 11:15 PM
David, I understand you are in damage control spin mode, but my experiences did occur, even though I made it clear to the operator that I wanted to make a reservation to travel to JFK. I was also told about not being able to make a reservation for the return flight pick-up. It maybe a case of you not knowing what your staff are doing in terms of making up their own rules, contravening yours.
David Rutler September 16, 2011 at 01:19 AM
Neal The closest Ive ever came to "Damage control spin mode" was back in South East Asia. Please call me next time you need to travel, and I will insure you have a great trip. (provided that they have'nt locked me up for being a small business man in NJ) Please note anyone who answers our phones are like family to me, I would sure like to know who you spoke to, because that is not our procedure. Dave Rutler Ridgewood Taxi 201-803-0593 ovaltim7@aol.com
Reagun Diputse September 16, 2011 at 02:44 AM
I have heard from several drivers for Ridgewood Taxi that they can not cash their checks when they take them to the bank, they get told that the account has insufficient funds to pay out the check. WTF?
RdgwdGRock September 16, 2011 at 01:42 PM
My experiences with Ridgewood Taxi were ok; no complaints
Erika Frank September 16, 2011 at 02:11 PM
I just posted a comment in response to David Rutler and it's gone, hmmm . . . Yes, I did enjoy Ridgewood Taxi's service for many years--the years that Mr. Rutler was not running it. I find it interesting that, suddenly, Mr. Rutler has finally decided to care about his drivers and customers. I reported an incident prior to our July 2011 fiasco because, once again, my children and I were picked up in a broken down mini-van which could not possibly have had enough insurance to cover all of the passengers if it was filled and something serious happened. This particular van had a windshield that was so cracked in several places that the driver could hardly see out of it and the side door had trouble staying shut. I reported this to Ridgewood Taxi and nothing was done about it. Bottom line is that some of the vehicles that people were paying to ride in were downright dangerous and many of your drivers not only agreed with that, but were quite frustrated by it. That, combined with improper insurance, is absolutely unacceptable and unconscionable to me. As far as you stating above that I was "not charged for my ride and the driver paid for a local cab for us," that never happened. All I could get out of the nasty man I spoke with (who I was told by the driver was the owner) was $50 off of a $150 plus taxi fare. Would you care to put your money where your mouth is a give me back the balance of $100 now for what was a dangerous and unsettling experience?
Harlan Consider September 16, 2011 at 07:34 PM
If Ridgewood taxi gets shut down, this should not be interpreted as "driving out a business and loss of jobs". Market conditions (i.e. supply and demand) dictate, and any business lost by Ridgewood taxi will simply be absorbed by another or a new taxi company. Taxi businesses are competetive, and quite rightly so. It's the nature of competition that, for the most part, makes for better service and competetive pricing.
David Rutler September 17, 2011 at 01:54 AM
MS FRANK You didnt speak to me if you had I would have taken care of it. I have been at Ridgewood taxi since 1968. It is more than just a taxi company, it is community service. I have given you my phone number and still you complain.
David Rutler September 17, 2011 at 02:20 AM
Have you no compassion? Who are you Donnald Trump? Our drivers sat out side in the snow with their horses a 100 years ago, serving Ridgewood. Once we are gone there will never be another Ridgewood Taxi. This town wastes millions of dollars by building in flood zones etc... yet no one will help us.
David Rutler September 17, 2011 at 03:11 AM
James Kathy Rutler is not an owner of Ridgewood Taxi. She is a gifted writer and master gardner, among many other things. The state of New Jersey is broke, therefore they trying to get every penny they can to protect their taxpayer funded jobs and beneifits.The best way to do that is kill small businesses that don't have the resources to fight them. Thats why a dozen people with guns came to our office to put a sicker on the window. It does not say Ridgewood Taxi. The only assit of value it that office is a plack on the wall commemorating a driver who worked there for 54 years (accident free) and served his country at Coral Sea, Guadalcanal and Midway durning WWII. (His son still drives for the Taxi but only for 30 years) As far as the taxes go we will negoiate with them, they know our tax attorneys. If anyone would like to help us please call me at 201-803-0593 ovaltim7@aol.com
David Rutler September 17, 2011 at 03:16 AM
Reagun Everybody gets paid. we look out for each other, we are like family. We do the best we can and we need help.
David Rutler September 17, 2011 at 03:44 AM
James As I look at the statement of taxes they claim we owe the total amount is 17,199.74. Of course penalties double that. It goes back to 1997 when this particular company was not in operation. I can fax this statement to you if you like Dave
David Rutler September 17, 2011 at 05:09 AM
Ms Frank I have been running Ridgewood Taxi since before you were born (probably, sorry if im wrong). I have always cared about my drivers and customers. I have hired every driver we have. And I deeply care about them. They know they can always call on me in times of trouble. Why I could write a book on taxi drivers. As far as the vehicles go, I have a friend and master mechanic working on them all day long. We would never send out a dangerous car. Just because it looks dangerous does not mean it is. I would drive any one of them to California right now! These cars are on the road 24 7 and we do the best we can. We have the highest insurance we can get, which is over 6,000.00 per car. And our lose runs are among the lowest in NJ. The Village's requirements were not avaiable from the insurance companies,. they would not write them. Thats what started this whole mess. The only "nasty" guy I have is also the best dispatcher in New Jersey, but we are trying to train him. Ok you have my phone number and email so let me know were to send the hundred bucks. Please hurry before the state gets my last rayeyes.
David Rutler September 17, 2011 at 05:21 AM
Thanks RidgewoodGuy Come down to our garage anytime, I would offer you a cup of coffee but the state got our beloved pot.
David Rutler September 17, 2011 at 05:40 AM
Thanks Boyd We did get our phone numbers and are still operating . We will fight to the last man. (Me) We need all the help we can get. Im at 201-803-0593 ovaltim7@aol.com Dave
Jack Mulligan September 17, 2011 at 01:45 PM
I worked for Ridgewood Taxi for 20 years. It was always the best service North Jersey had to offer. Hang in there Dave. Jack Mulligan
David Rutler September 17, 2011 at 02:39 PM
Thanks Jack This is all stuff that was paid many years ago. Some is duplicate amounts. Please stop by the garage and bring a cooler, they got ours. They got the old coffee pot too. Dave 201-803-0593 ovaltim7@aol.com
Kathleen Rutler September 18, 2011 at 02:38 AM
Ridgewood Taxi is a wonderful company with loyal employees who have worked there for most of their lives.That says alot in this day when other people would jump ship. Ridgewood Taxi also claims thousands of loyal customers as an extension of that family. The travel industry/economy has been decimated immeasurably since 9/11. Increased insurance and fuel prices have put many other taxi companies out of business.The State acts to criple small businesses with convoluted fees. But best of all are municipalities who resort to kicking to the curb a company who served its community faithfully for a hundred years-all for a few extra dollars of rent money. This done after Taxi approached them to identify foreign competitors operating within their town, using fake addresses in Ridgewood and who are invisible without licenses or a presence in the community.The same competitors who infiltrated Ridgewood Taxi, stole employees, the customer list and masqueraded as Ridgewood Taxi to the public. This same company solicited by the municipality to "bid" for the train station. The same municipality that led the public to believe that Ridgewood Taxi had no insurance, when it has been struggling to pay 5X's the state minimum! The State is bankrupt, municipalities are bankrupt and instead of negotiating like civilized human beings-they descend like Medieval Tax collectors- a plague of armed locusts overwhelming a Navy veteran and his "Little Engine That Could" company. Taxi is Everyman
Erika Frank September 18, 2011 at 05:22 PM
MR. RUTLER I just tried calling you and got your voicemail. I will try you again another time although I still don't know why I need to speak with you as, to date, I haven't heard you or anyone from your company offer an apology for what my children and I went through last July. I will be happy to provide you with a copy of my VISA bill for reimbursement for that horrid ride since you offered. As far as your claim of all your vehicles being safe, that is simply not true and I will be happy to provide you with the photos I have of the unsafe vehicle that we were picked up in. I have never had any complaints about any of your drivers. They all seemed to be hard, working class people and went out of their way to be courteous and helpful every time we used your service. If anything, I felt sorry for many of them as they would share their complaints to me about working for Ridgewood Taxi. I hope they are being treated better at their new jobs. Ridgewood Taxi was a wonderful service back-in-the-day. I noticed it changed for the worse about 2-3 years ago. I don't know why that is, but as the owner you are responsible for the behavior of your employees. If you know you have an excellent dispatcher that is nasty to your customers and he is still being trained after over a year to learn how to be nice, that's a problem. I'm sure there are nice, competent dispatchers out there that don't pose as the owner when a customer in trouble asks to speak with the owner.
David Rutler September 18, 2011 at 05:42 PM
Ms Frank Please call back, I couldnt get to my phone fast enough. (watching the Jet game) Dave
Erika Frank September 18, 2011 at 06:47 PM
NealR2000 I agree.
Erika Frank September 18, 2011 at 06:48 PM
Will do. Ready? :-)
jean deau September 19, 2011 at 12:18 AM
I cannot speak to the issue at hand but having worked at Ridgewood Taxi in the Nineties, I can attest that it was the "gold standard" of taxi employment. Dave Rutler used the best fleet, the best radio communications, and enforced the highest standard of employee competency. When money was there, unheard of benefits, like dental insurance and health was company paid. The drivers took the cars home, such was the trust and respect afforded us. I've never worked for anything close since, the pride and dignity was apparent at having the name Ridgewood. I welcome anyone to defy the above.
Erika Frank September 20, 2011 at 12:26 PM
Okay folks--I have spoken with Mr. Rutler and the outcome of that conversation was that I got an apology and my money back for my July 6, 2010 "Bonfire" trip from JFK. While I still think that he could use a dispatcher that knows how to speak with his customers in a more professional manner and report problems to the owner as they come up and I made it clear to Mr. Rutler how I feel about picking up passengers in vehicles that haven't passed inspection, I did walk away feeling that he is a man of his word. That being said, I would give Ridgewood Taxi another chance, but I will look at the inspection sticker and the overall condition of the vehicle before I get in one of his taxis.
Bill Williams September 21, 2011 at 03:17 PM
I've used Ridgewood Taxi since moving to town 24 years ago. My experience has been overwhelmingly positive - sure, things go wrong every now and then, but staff have always been polite and attentive. Bill
David Rutler September 21, 2011 at 03:56 PM
Thank You Mr Williams, at this point we need all the help we can get Dave
Danny September 21, 2011 at 08:19 PM
i agree. i have nothing but good things to say about ridgewood taxi. ive used them substantially for the 4+ years i have lived here. good luck.
David Rutler September 21, 2011 at 09:31 PM
Thanks Danny We did the best we could Dave


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