CB18 backs away from Kings Plaza car service fight • Brooklyn Paper

CB18 backs away from Kings Plaza car service fight

Kings Plaza pickup: The Kings Plaza Car Service routinely picks up and drops off Kings Plaza patrons on E. 55th Street, but members of Community Board 18 say that the operation causes traffic, and is a hazard to pedestrians.
Community Newspaper Group / Colin Mixson

A Mill Basin civic group opposed to a car service’s bid to operate from inside the Kings Plaza Mall said it will end its fight against the livery cab company — ending what the car service owner says has been years of political roadblocks constructed by disgraced former state Sen. Carl Kruger.

Boris Kovalik, the owner of the Kings Plaza Car Service, which isn’t related to the Flatbush Avenue shopping mecca, said Kruger stopped his company from moving into the mall more than five years ago — after it had turned its old security office into its home base.

Kovalik said the Taxi and Limousine Commission had approved the move, but Kruger and Dorothy Turano, the district manager of Community Board 18, caught wind of the deal and pressured the agency to boot the livery cab company from the mall, claiming that the business did not have all the proper approvals.

Kovalik said that Kruger was against the Mill Basin Car Service coming to the mall from the beginning.

“Five years ago at a meeting in Kings Plaza, Kruger said, ‘You can operate out of the mall over my dead body,’ ” said Kovalik.

Kovalik’s partner, Steve Unger, said he was surprised by the political clout Kruger and Turano threw around to boot the car service from Kings Plaza years ago.

“In the simplest words, they act like mafia,” Unger said.

The Mill Basin Car Service was given a temporary license to operate out of Kings Plaza last year, but Turano and CB 18 immediately opposed the plan, claiming that it would be a bad spot to pick up and drop off fares.

Kruger, who pleaded guilty to taking nearly $1 million in bribes last year, didn’t chime in on the issue — but Kovalik thinks Kruger, who lived with her two sons on Mill Island, was speaking through her.

“If you take Kruger’s history, his boyfriend is Turano’s son, and she’s the district manager of Community Board 18,” Kovalik said.

Yet that’s all changed now that Kruger’s incarcerated.

Turano said that the board, which again voted to keep the cab stand out of the mall at its last meeting in June, has had its say and will not fight the cab stand further.

“If the Taxi and Limousine Commission gives them the license, there’s nothing the community board can do. Our recommendation was to oppose it, but we’re not going to fight it,” she said.

But there isn’t much Turano or CB 18 could do — the panel’s recommendations are only advisory.

Kruger, who is currently stewing at a federal prison in Fort Dix, New Jersey, could not be reached for comment on Kovalik’s claims, but Turano said the senator never went out of his way to put the kibosh on the car service’s plans.

“I don’t know what old history has to do with current events,” she said. “They could say whatever they want about Carl, he’s not around any more.”

Reach reporter Colin MIxson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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