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Cab Driver Fined $25K Denies Charges He Shunned Black Executive

By Nicholas Rizzi | August 7, 2015 10:29am | Updated on August 9, 2015 10:54pm
 Baqir Raza, 24, of Staten Island, claims he never refused to pick up Cynthia Jordan and is looking into suing the city over his potential $25,000 in fines.
Baqir Raza, 24, of Staten Island, claims he never refused to pick up Cynthia Jordan and is looking into suing the city over his potential $25,000 in fines.
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DNAinfo/Nicholas Rizzi

STATEN ISLAND — A cab driver ordered to pay $25,000 after he refused to pick up a black executive and her family is accusing the woman of yelling "racist" slurs at his white passengers.

Baqir Raza, 24, of Staten Island, was fined after a city administrative judge found he told Cynthia Jordan, 57, and her two daughters that he was off-duty as  they tried to hail him outside of the Herald Square Macy's — and then picked up a pair of white passengers a few feet away.

Despite the fact that he pleaded guilty to the Oct. 2013 incident in a TLC hearing that year, Raza now claims he never told Jordan he was off-duty or on a break. He said he didn't notice she was there before two white women jumped in the cab before her.

He said Jordan then argued with his passengers and called them "white bitches."

"It was her being wrong, and why am I the one getting accused?" Raza, who moved to Staten Island from Pakistan in 2001, told DNAinfo New York.

"Jordan was the one being racist."

Raza, who drove a yellow taxi for four and a half years before he gave it up six months ago because it was "too much stress," said Jordan yelled "you f---ing cabbie, you have no life" at him and kicked his cab as he drove off.

Jordan denied ever insulting Raza, or saying anything other than that she was going to report him.

"He left off our first interaction and that’s what makes me even angrier," Jordan, a vice-president at a stock transfer firm, said. "He’s making up all of this."

Jordan admitted in court that she called the other passengers "white bitches" but said she regretted saying it.

"It’s not usually language I use, but I was angry at this time," she said.

Raza said he's been in talks with a lawyer and is looking into filing a suit against the city, Jordan and the Taxi and Limousine Commission for sharing his information with the Commission on Human Rights, which he said is illegal under the TLC's bylaws.

"I'm actually going to take both of them to the court," Raza said. "I am going to take this very far."

A spokesman for the TLC declined to comment because of potential future litigation.

Jordan didn't seem worried about a potential suit from Raza.

"He can sue whoever he wants," she said. "He admitted it... so what’s he going to say now? 'I didn’t do it?'"

On July 27, Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings Judge Raymond Kramer ruled that Raza must pay $10,000 in compensation to Jordan and a $15,000 civil fine.

According to the judge's decision, on Oct. 19, 2013, Jordan and her two daughters took the LIRR from Queens to Penn Station en route to her brother-in-law's birthday party and tried to hail a taxi outside of Macy's.

Jordan's daughter, Chiley Holder, saw Raza let out a passenger and switch his on-duty light on, but as soon as Holder approached the cab, he switched his light off and locked the doors, according to the decision.

Raza then drove 25 feet and picked up two white women, the decision says.

Raza claims he never saw Holder and that he let out a passenger at Macy's and then the two white women got into his cab.

"I wasn’t there to witness who was there first or not," he said. "She jumped in my car and I have to take her."

Jordan filed a complaint against Raza to the TLC and the city's Commission of Human Rights, at the urging of Holder who works for the city's 311 system, she said.

Raza pleaded guilty to a violation for refusing to pick up Jordan and paid a $200 TLC fine In 2013,  but says now that he only took the plea because it would have been more costly to fight it.

"In my bank account, I only have $200," Raza said. "I don't know how they expect me to pay $25,000."

He said he received a letter from the city's Human Rights Commission last year telling him they brought charges against him, and says he sent them a letter explaining the white passengers got inside his cab first.

Raza did not appear at his trial before Judge Kramer. Kramer found that the trip log showed Raza dropped off a fare at 188 West 35th Street and then picked up another at 193 West 34th Street two minutes later.

Raza claimed he had to stop his meter during the feud with Jordan.

"When I was arguing with her I had to stop the meter, then I took off and that’s when I started the meter," Raza said. "She was standing there, she was arguing with me, so how am I supposed to start the meter?"

The Human Rights Commission must still approve Kramer's recommended penalties before they can take effect.