FOX 8 Investigates: 2 arrested for alleged taxi permit scheme

New Orleans police have arrested two people, including a city inspector and a top executive at one of the city's biggest cab companies.

This is the culmination of a nearly two year long investigation involving inspection stickers issued twice a year to all cabs in New Orleans.

The allegations are that inspectors have been taking extra money for those stickers and at least one cab company executive is alleged to be part of the scheme.

The president of United Cab Company, Pat Murphy, said he does not know anything about the arrest Tuesday morning of the company's vice president, Donald Juneau, who goes by the nickname 'Cornbread.'

Juneau was picked up just around the corner from United around 8:30 a.m. FOX 8 was the only media on the scene as he was taken away in handcuffs.

The allegations center on inspection stickers, which are similar to brake tags. All cabs must get inspected twice a year at the inspection station in New Orleans East and pay $50 by money order each time.

But, FOX 8 has obtained surveillance video taken at United's headquarters on Euterpe Street. It shows what investigators believe is Juneau allegedly bypassing the system, appearing to scrape off the old inspection stickers on United cabs, and then slap on a new one himself.
Investigators say what this means is the cabs never have to go through an actual inspection to make sure they're safe enough and clean enough to be on the road.

Sources tell FOX 8 this has been going on for years. But, Juneau is just part of the equation. Also arrested Tuesday was an inspector in the city's taxi-cab bureau, 51-year-old Ronald Blake.

He was booked with malfeasance in office and filing false public records for his part in the alleged scheme. According to written statements given to police, cabbies have alleged that Blake and other inspectors in the taxi cab bureau took additional money for allowing cabs to pass inspection easily.

New Orleans Deputy Mayor Ann Duplessis says the investigation is not over.

"This is the beginning of our transformation of the taxi cab bureau," Duplessis said.

There are possibly more arrests to come in this investigation. Stay with FOX 8 News for the most in-depth coverage of this story.