- Uber and Lyft helped crush Michael Cohen’s taxi business, according to a Bloomberg report.
- The value of Cohen’s 32 taxi medallions plummeted amid Uber and Lyft’s gains in New York’s taxi market.
- Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer, faces huge legal expenses related to an ongoing criminal investigation.
Uber and Lyft played a critical role in chipping away at the finances of Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer, Bloomberg reported Friday.
Cohen and his wife, Laura, built up a substantial taxi business in New York on the back of their 32 taxi licenses, known as medallions.
But the value of a medallion has plummeted to roughly $US163,000 from more than $US1 million within the past four years amid Uber and Lyft’s gains in the taxi market, according to the report.
Meanwhile, the Cohens’ income from their taxi fleet diminished as millions of dollars in loans they took out for the business went underwater. Now their taxi companies have piled up unpaid taxes and fines, and about half of their medallions have been suspended, Bloomberg reported, citing city records.
The taxi business the Cohens built is “deeply in debt and losing money daily,” Bloomberg reported.
They took out at least 16 loans based on the once sky-high value of the medallions, according to Bloomberg. Sterling National Bank, which lent the Cohens cash, said in a November filing that it had loans out to three taxi borrowers and that all were at high risk of default.
On Tuesday, the bank, which declined to comment to Bloomberg, agreed to new loans for Cohen and his companies, the report says. Cohen also declined to comment to the news outlet.
Cohen still has the appearance of vast wealth, driving a Rolls Royce, wearing a $US50,000 watch, and owning a good chunk of Manhattan real estate, according to Bloomberg.
But the real estate is bringing in only “modest income,” Bloomberg said, while his legal work has been suspended amid a criminal investigation that, according to recent reports, is examining whether he violated campaign finance laws or committed bank fraud.
Cohen’s finances have come under scrutiny amid the investigation and the potentially exorbitant legal costs resulting from it.
Earlier this month, the FBI raided Cohen’s home, hotel room, and office as part of the investigation.
Cohen is said to have been a cause for worry in the White House in recent weeks. People close to Trump have suggested Cohen is likely to “flip,” or cooperate with the government by providing information about others in exchange for a lesser punishment. Cohen has not been charged with a crime.
Cohen, who for years has been a close friend and adviser to Trump, has expressed intense loyalty to the president. He once said he would “take a bullet” for Trump, and he has handled sensitive matters related to him, including paying the porn star Stormy Daniels $US130,000 shortly before the 2016 election to ensure her silence about an alleged affair with Trump. Cohen says he used a home-equity line of credit to facilitate the payment.
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