City revokes cab company permit

Columbus has revoked a cab company’s permit after determining the business is not operating.

The Columbus Board of Public Works and Safety on Tuesday unanimously revoked the business permit issued to Columbus Cab Company, LLC. The city in June had renewed the permit for the company, which operated out of 1704 Central Ave., Columbus Police Chief Jon Rohde said.

By revoking the permit, the board was also revoking the permits of any taxi driver who worked for the firm, Rohde said.

The application listed James Johns as owner of Columbus Cab, Rohde said. The company address is the same location where James W. “Jaimie” Johns, Jr., a former Bartholomew County Democratic Party chairman, operated a STAT Ambulance office until about five years ago.

Since the business permit application indicated insurance liability on the taxis would expire in December, efforts were made to contact Johns to schedule a routine inspection, Rohde said.

However, the Columbus Cab business phone had been disconnected and efforts to reach Johns on his cellphone were unsuccessful, Rohde said.

When an inspector was sent to the Central Avenue location, it appeared that there was no business being operated at the address, the police chief said.

Through an investigation, police were told Johns had handed over control of the business to another person. However, cab companies cannot transfer ownership from one person to another without approval from the city, Rohde said.

“They would have had to go through the entire (permitting) process again,” Rohde said.

One final effort at contact was made Feb. 22 when certified letters addressed to both Johns and the person investigators were told had taken over Colum- bus Cab. The police chief did not identify the new owner.

It was only after both letters were returned that a decision was made to ask the board to revoke the permit that allowed Columbus Cab to stay in business, Rohde said.

While the police chief said he could not confirm that the company is no longer in operation, “it would be difficult for this business to operate if they don’t have any phones,” Rohde told the board.

Columbus has two licensed cab companies operating in the city, Another Taxi and A Fast Break Taxi Service, the police department said.

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.