One empire, many arms

Symon Garber boasts of operating Chicago’s biggest taxicab empire. It isn’t just one company, though. It’s a web of dozens of companies, run by the New York businessman and East Coast partners including Alexsandr Igolnikov, Roman Sapino, Valentina Zubok, Galina Garber-Sheinin, David Ourman and Reuben Giacomozzi. All of the businesses operate out of a sprawling taxi garage at 2617 S. Wabash. Here’s a sampling:

– Chicago Carriage Cab Co. — Operates 364 maroon-with-blue-stripes cabs.

– Royal 3 CCC Chicago Taxi Association — Operates 467 maroon-with-gold-stripes cabs.

– Chicago Elite Cab Co. — Owns cabs operated by those two companies.

– 2617 Auto Repair — Has about 55 mechanics to fix the cabs.

– Chicago Medallion Brokers Inc. — Handles the sale and transfer of city-issued taxicab licenses, known as medallions.

– Triglobal Financial Services Inc. — Lends money to finance the purchase of medallions across the country. Claims to have $500 million in capital and says it finances 80 percent of a medallion’s purchase price. In Chicago, city records show it has financed 617 medallions — including 156 operated by Garber competitors such as Flash Cab and Yellow Cab. Also makes car loans and second mortgages, according to its Web site — though the company doesn’t have a state license to do so, according to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. “If they are loaning to individuals, then they need to be licensed,” says the state agency’s Sue Hofer, adding that state agents now plan to examine Triglobal’s business to determine if it needs to be licensed.

– Funny Monica in Chicago Inc.; Tyler Crazy About Chicago Inc.; Shaun Loves Chicago Inc.; Playing Polo in Chicago Inc; Chicago Polo XVI Inc. Garber and his partners created these and dozens of other companies to buy hundreds of medallions, which they then lease. Those medallions are fastened to the hoods of vehicles owned by Chicago Elite Cab, operating under the name of Chicago Carriage Cab or Royal 3 CCC. The cars are then leased to drivers, who keep whatever fares they collect but pay the medallion owner $92.71 a day or $574 a week, according to leases examined by a reporter.

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