Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in case of Application of Independence Cab Company, No. A-00104003.
Timothy R. Hough, with him, Allan Jaffe, for petitioner.
Alphonso Arnold, Jr., Assistant Counsel, with him, Alfred N. Lowenstein, Assistant Counsel, Daniel P. Delaney, First Deputy Chief Counsel, and Charles F. Hoffman, Chief Counsel, for respondent.
John J. Gallagher, McAllister & Gallagher, P.C., for intervenor, Independence Cab Company.
Judges MacPhail, Barry and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barry. Dissenting Opinion by Judge MacPhail.
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This appeal results from an order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) which adopted an initial decision of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) and ordered the transfer of a certificate of public convenience to operate a taxicab in the City of Philadelphia from appellant, P.D.J. Cab Company (PDJ) to intervenor Independence Cab Co. (Independence).
Although the facts pertaining strictly to the present matter are relatively straightforward, a more extensive
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discussion into the factual background is necessary to fully understand the situation. PDJ is owned by Bernard Orenstein and holds a certificate of public convenience to operate one taxicab in Philadelphia. In 1973, PDJ filed an application to operate a second taxi. For reasons not explained in the record, the first hearing on the application was not held until late in 1979. By that time, Orenstein was in default on a loan made by Pannonia Federal Credit Union (Pannonia) for approximately $30,000.00. While the stock of PDJ had been put up as collateral for the loan, Pannonia had never sought nor obtained a judgment against either Orenstein or PDJ. Further, Pannonia had never filed an application with the PUC to seek transfer of the certificate of public convenience from Orenstein to Pannonia. Orenstein and Pannonia entered into an agreement with Bernard Goldberg as co-owner and operator of Independence whereby the latter would purchase whatever certificates of public convenience PDJ held. The purchase price was to be $30,000.00 in the event the application for a second certificate was granted and $15,000.00 if it were not. In either event, Pannonia agreed to forgive Orenstein's entire indebtedness once the sale was consummated. That application was eventually denied because after extensive chicanery by all parties was discovered by the ALJ assigned to the case, the ALJ held that Orenstein was not fit to be issued a second certificate since he had no equipment to operate, no insurance and no valid driver's license. (Initial Decision, Application of P.D.J. Cab, No. A. 94358, F. 1, AM-A, January 26, 1983.)
During the pendency of that application, Goldberg took over effective operation of PDJ's sole certificate through a lease arrangement. Goldberg and/or Independence has paid all taxes, carried the necessary insurance and filed all required annual reports with
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the PUC. In March of 1982, Orenstein executed a transfer application on behalf of PDJ, proposing to transfer any ...