Tour guides react to dismissal of Former Taxi Bureau Chief - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Tour guides react to dismissal of former Taxi Bureau chief

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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

Local tour guides say they're not surprised as the office of inspector general issues a scathing report on the Taxicab Bureau and former bureau chief Malachi Hull.

The report comes out just days after Hull was relieved of his duties on July 4.

It comes on the heels of an incident captured on a cell phone camera by one of 20 tourists on a haunted history tour.

Tour guide Wendy Bosma was roughed up in November of 2013 for allegedly operating her tour too close to another tour group.

"He threw me up against the hood of my car, twisted my arm around and wrenched my wrist while I was screaming and demanded I gave him my permit," said Bosma.

To make things worse, Bosma says Hull, the Taxicab Bureau chief, was on the scene.

"I still can't believe it. To be straight up attacked like that in front of so many people with cell phones and video cameras, it was ridiculous," said Bosma.

Other tour guides say they too were harassed under Hull's tenure in front of tourists.

"To have this happen was just embarrassing," said tour guide Jonathan Weiss.

In an unusual move, Hull was relieved of his duties on the Fourth of July and tour guides were unanimous.

"Cheers from everyone in the room," said Bosma.

Hull's hiring in 2011, followed a bumpy tenure in Atlanta, sparked protests due to allegations of cronyism.

Now, a New Orleans inspector general's report, issued April 24, was just released. It offers reasons behind Hull's firing in New Orleans.

The report says Hull committed gross negligence in the carrying out of his duties. It outlines uncollected fees of over $60,000 in one case, and hundreds of cases of allegedly poor accounting. The report also says Hull lied to investigators about the qualifications of his inspectors.

"It doesn't surprise me that Malachi Hull had to go. What does surprise me is that it took so long," said Bosma's boss, Sidney Smith with Haunted History Tours.

City spokesman Tyler Gamble says the city got the OIG report in April, reviewed it, and made it's decision to let Hull go. Meantime, Bosma is suing the city.

"I went to the emergency room and was treated for bruises. It triggered carpal tunnel syndrome and I had to have several sessions of physical therapy," said Bosma.

Gamble wouldn't comment on the suit because he said it was pending litigation.

Meantime, Gamble says the city is looking for a new Taxicab Bureau chief. In the meantime, the duties of the office will be shared by Jared Munster, the director of safety and permits and deputy CAO Ava Rogers.

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