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620 Wilson Avenue Suite #100
Toronto, Ontario,M3K 1Z3
Royal Taxi Inc., operates as a call centre receiving and processing service calls 24-hours per day, 7 days a week. As such, Royal taxi does not own or operate any vehicles. Vehicles are owned and operated by independent contractors who are members of Royal's C... more.
Royal Taxi.ca - Transporation Services
Mitch Grossman - President
Mitch is a graduate of Seneca College and has over 25 years of experience in taxi operations. Mitch is a leading activist for reform and is involved in various committees and organizations within the transportation industry.
Industry dreads Uber-style deregulated free-for-all
Royal Taxi owner Mitch Grossman observed that Recommendations 7 and 8 in the report would serve to devalue the Standard plate even further.
"I'm hoping our politicians and regulators understand we already have a bylaw in place. So, why can't they come in and follow the legislation," he stated.
Among the key players was Mitch Grossman, a businessman whose family had collected more than 100 plates.
These plates gave Grossman a pharaohâ€™s power. Â If a driver wanted to use one of his familyâ€™s plates, Grossman could force him to buy an overpriced car from his sales operation, finance it through a family firm called Symposium Finance (where rates reached 28 per cent) then join Royal Taxi - the Grossman familyâ€™s taxi brokerage. Â To get around the municipal bylaw against plate leasi... Read More
Royal Taxi - Mitch Grossman
Toronto Star Taxi Plate/Leasing Investigation
Among those lobbying at Metro Hall this week were Mitch Grossman, the city's biggest plate holder, and Peter Regenstrief, a $325-an-hour lobbyist retained by the plate holders. "My father had a vision," says Grossman's son, Mitch."My dad's vision was that he would buy up taxi licences, and that some day they would be valuable." Not only did Grossman amass the city's biggest collection of cab plates, but he helped spearhead key moves that would make them valuable. Along with his brother-in-law, Irving Oilgisser, Grossman operated a cab company called Robinhood.Grossman and Oilgisser worked hard running taxis - but their real business was cab plates.In his 50 years in the cab business, which ended with his death in 1993 at age 69, Grossman was a defining figure.He was known as "the toughest man in the cab business," a ruthless negotiator and demanding boss.He was 6 feet tall and weighed 250 pounds, a formidable man with a booming voice and a quick temper. Every morning at 4:30, Grossman would go to Fran's Restaurant or the Mars diner, driving his signature red Cadillac with custom plates lettered SAM 111.Mitch Grossman says the system is here to stay. "The government has allowed a plate to become an asset," he says.Whitedoor is one of several companies controlled by Mitch Grossman, holder of the city's biggest collection of cab plates.Combined, these companies hold 70 plates, according to corporate records obained by The Star in May, 1997. Grossman also controls at least 172 other plates as the city's biggest "designated agent."The plates he holds or controls yield rents estimated at about $1 million a year. FEW OPTIONS Haji, on the other hand, has nothing to show for his labours but two maxed-out credit cards, an apartment he can barely afford and no pension. Like many drivers, Haji slipped into the cab business.He came to Canada from Iran in 1987, hoping for a better life.But when he realized he had few options outside cab driving, Haji bought his ow car, believing that would allow him to get ahead. Instead, it has become a trap. His costs have mounted, even as revenues have declined; fax machines, courier services and changes in ridership have cut taxi use. Despite that, the price of renting a plate has gone up every year.Just a few months ago, Haji's monthly plate rent was raised from $925 to $995. After six years, he feels worn down by the industry's hopeless economics. "I know that every business has its complications," he says.In an interview with The Star, Grossman admitted he doesn't own a single taxi in the commonly accepted sense of the word, even though dozens - including Haji's - are in the names of his companies. The financing was done through Symposium Finance and Management Services, owned by Grossman.Haji's car, for example, cost $11,000 when it was purchased from Grossman.Haji says he could have bought a similar car for about $9,000 elsewhere, but then Grossman wouldn't have given him a plate. "What can you do?"Haji says."I don't have a plate.If you want theirs, you have to play the game." When asked to respond to specific allegations by drivers, including Haji, Grossman did not return calls. Mitch Grossman and family - 72 plates.Estimated gross plate lease revenue, $864,000 a year. In his tailored suits and year-round tan, Grossman has the look of a Bay Street executive or the owner of a successful software company. But he is neither.Grossman is the king of the Toronto taxi industry, heir to an empire that lifted his family from poverty to privilege in a single generation. At 40, Grossman lives a life no cabby could dream of.He drives a black BMW 740 IL, list price $93,000.He lives in a newly bought North York luxury home.His last house, where he lived for years as Mayor Mel Lastman's next-door neighbour, was purchased without a mortgage. Grossman has never driven a cab.And even though there are at least 62 taxis in his companies' names, he admits he doesn't actually own any of them - at least in the usual sense of the word. Yet he has made millions from the cab business. And no one has more plates than Grossman. According to municipal and corporate records obtained by The Star, Grossman and other members of his family, including cousins, hold 94 cab plates.At today's prices, those plates would sell for $8.46 million and yield gross annual rents of more than $1.1 million. Until recently, the family's collection was far larger - as high as 145 plates, according to municipal transfer records examined by The Star.Those records show that Grossman, his mother and sister have sold 51 plates since 1993. For years, the list of plate holders has been confidential.Grossman, for example, doesn't have a single plate listed in his name, yet municipal records as of May show he held at least 70 through five corporations: Robinhood Taxi Ltd., Lo-Jo Holdings Ltd., Mitch and Associates Taxi Ltd., Whitedoor Cab Ltd., and 373031 Ontario Ltd. (Grossman says the records are outdated and he owns only 62 plates.) Twenty-four more plates are held by his mother, sister and a cousin, again through named and numbered corporations. Grossman's power in the cab industry is magnified by his role as the city's single biggest "designated agent," representing at least 172 plates owned by other people. Agents are middlemen who manage plates, allowing holders to collect rents without any involvement with the cabs that carry their names, or the drivers who operate them. Grossman plays a much more active role in the business than most.As well as being Toronto's biggest plate holder, he is also the operator of a number of companies, including Royal Taxi, one of the largest dispatch services in the city. Grossman's operation is on Sherbourne St., south of Queen.Outside his office is a constantly changing line of used cars available for sale.Many are used police cruisers, the vehicle that has become almost standard issue in the Toronto taxi fleet. Used cars are just one component of Grossman's operation.He also owns a service station, a towing company (Hallam Garage), a lease operation (Tudor Leasing) and a finance company (Symposium Financial and Management Services). As the man who controls close to 10 per cent of the city's entire plate supply, Grossman wields considerable power. Grossman spoke recently to The Star.At his office, which is decorated with family photos, he described himself as an above-board businessman whose greatest pleasure is watching his three young sons play sports. "We want our side of the story told," he says.It's clear there is a lot of money to be made in Grossman's various operations.According to cabbies interviewed by The Star, getting one of Grossman's plates usually requires joining his dispatch service, at $400 a month. Then there is financing.Grossman refuses to comment on specifics of his dealings with individual drivers, but confirms the existence of under-the-table payments. "I know it happens in the business, but I don't do it," he says."It's wrong." Asked if his company charges interest rates of 20 per cent and more, Grossman says he "couldn't believe it would be that high. "It's hard for me to say whether it's true or false without knowing . . . the business etiquette involved." Grossman says offering cars and financing to drivers is a service: "The average cab driver can't walk into a bank and get a loan for a car.Grossman says the real problem is bad law-making and weak enforcement that allows old cars and unlicensed taxis to stay on the road. "There are a lot of rogue drivers out there," he says. Grossman says the way to get old cars off the road is to institute age restrictions for cabs. Many are passed along by plate holders to their heirs - as in the case of Grossman and members of his family. Few return their plates to the city.Instead, they are sold on the open market to the highest bidder.Mitch Grossman says his father "had a vision" of the potential in cab plates. "My dad was a very intelligent man," he says."He was always having visions. "My father worked hard for everything he got.Nobody ever gave him anything for nothing." HEIR TO FORTUNE According to municipa