New York Ag Subpoenas Airbnb In ‘bad Actors’ Battle

New York punishes hedge fund manager Falcone; consumers cut back on credit cards

Hagler in Manhattan blocked the plan in a ruling dated today, saying the commission exceeded its authority under the city charter by requiring the purchase of a specific vehicle. TLC Authority If the TLC was vested with the authority to contract for the medallion owners with third party vendors, the TLC may, for instance, also have the authority to mandate the purchase of special insurance from a particular insurance company or even to purchase a more efficient fuel from a designated vendor at pre-determined prices, Hagler said. The decision is fundamentally wrong, because it was within the commissions authority to authorize the Taxi of Tomorrow, Michael A. Cardozo, New York corporation counsel, said in a statement. The city intends to appeal immediately, he said. Aside from its being by far the safest taxicab ever designed, the NV200 has superior legroom, a panoramic roof and a host of other comforts and amenities, Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky said in a statement. We remain committed to bringing it to the riding public. The Taxi of Tomorrow program is a plan by Mayor Michael Bloomberg s administration to standardize and expand the citys fleet of 13,237 yellow cabs with 15,237 yellow vans built by Nissan, of which more than 2,000 would be accessible for wheelchairs. The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP. $1 Billion Revenue The Nissans, already being made, were to hit the streets Oct. 28. The program was slated to bring in more than $1 billion in revenue to the city. We are disappointed in the courts decision, but it will not prevent our plan to start upgrading the NYC taxi fleet with the Nissan Taxi of Tomorrow at the end of the month, Travis Parman, a U.S. spokesman for Yokohama, Japan-based Nissan, said in an e-mail. We are evaluating options for next steps regarding the exclusivity contract. The other part of the program is a fleet of green cabs that riders could hail in underserved areas of the city, including northern Manhattan and the boroughs of Brooklyn , Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx. Those cars have been on the streets since August.

The storms will probably reach New York between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., he said. An inch (2.5 centimeters) an hour of rain may fall in New York City , causing minor flooding, according to the National Weather Service . I strongly encourage all New Yorkers to take extra precautions and stay tuned to local media reports for the latest information on todays storms, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. A tornado watch, meaning the storms are possible, stretches from upstate New York to northern Virginia, including New York City and Philadelphia, until 5 p.m. according to the National Weather Service. JetBlue Airways Corp. (JBLU) , the biggest domestic carrier at New Yorks John F. Kennedy International Airport, told travelers today on its website that service may be delayed across 10 airports in the northeastern U.S., from Boston to Washington. Air Canada (AC/B) , that countrys largest airline, waived rebooking fees for passengers traveling to and from seven New England airports. Airport Delays Delays rippled out from airports along the East Coast. By 1 p.m., flights departing Ronald Regan Washington National Airport were delayed as long as 90 minutes, according to industry data compiler , while arrivals were running more than 40 minutes late at New Yorks LaGuardia Airport and JFK. This is the time of the year when the weather can get a little violent, and if everything gels together just right, you get these situations, Best said by telephone. The conditions are ripe for a couple of isolated tornadoes and, if it does occur, it will be mainly this afternoon. A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for just east of Utica, New York south into northeastern Pennsylvania , according to the weather service. Wind gusts in excess of 60 mph are possible.

Severe Storms Forecast for New York City Disrupt Travel

(Credit: CBS) Airbnb, the social service that provides an in-home alternative to hotels, is under fire from the New York Attorney General’s Office. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has subpoenaed data on all Airbnb users in New York who have offered to rent out their homes to customers. According to a person familiar with the investigation, Schneiderman’s effort stems from a New York state law signed in 2010 that places limits on residents’ ability to rent out their homes to others. Airbnb, which helps people rent out their houses or apartments for a period of time, said last week that it has 225,000 community members in New York. The Attorney General’s office has been investigating Airbnb for more than a month, a person familiar with the investigation told CNET. The investigation stemmed from complaints by lawmakers and housing advocates. Related stories Tampa is the nicest city in America, says Airbnb The crux of the issue appears to be so-called “bad actors” who find short-term rentals and run amok, according to a person familiar with the investigation. Some of those renters could be sidestepping paying taxes, the person indicated. In addition, the attorney general’s office wants to target those who are renting out multiple units in violation of state law or who are renting out their properties for longer than expressly allowed under the state’s tax laws, a person familiar with the investigation said. A person who is simply trying to rent out their units every now and then — a so-called “casual user” — will not be targeted in the investigation, according to the person. In its statement on the matter, Airbnb said that it agrees that “bad actors” are an issue, and indicated that it believes the attorney general’s office “is only seeking to target an incredibly small number of bad actors who abuse the Airbnb platform.” Despite that cooperation, Airbnb bristled a bit at the subpoena, indicating that the attorney general’s office wants access to all New York-based short-term renters on the company’s service, despite plans to go after those bad actors. Airbnb wants to work with the attorney general to weed out the troublesome renters and keep the rest of its data secure and outside the prying eyes of lawmakers. “We are confident we can reach a solution that protects your personal information and cracks down on people who abuse the system,” Airbnb said today in a statement. The Attorney General’s legal action is just the latest issue Airbnb has faced over the last year . The company has been targeted by governments far and wide over its service, which some say, hurts the hotel business.

Brian Chesky on "CBS This Morning."

Reuters CONSUMERS Credit card debt declines in the U.S. Americans cut back on using their credit cards in August for a third straight month, a sign that consumers remain cautious about spending. Consumers increased their borrowing $13.6 billion in August to a seasonally adjusted $3.04 trillion, the Federal Reserve said Monday. Thats a record and it followed a gain of $10.4 billion in July. Once again, the increase in borrowing was driven entirely by auto and student loans. A measure of those loans rose $14.5 billion to $2.19 trillion. But credit card debt dropped $883 million to about $850 billion. The decline could hold back consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of economic growth. The report highlighted trends that have surfaced in the post-recession economy. The measure of auto and student loans has risen 8.2 percent from a year ago and in every month but one since May 2010. But credit card debt is essentially where it was a year ago. And it is 16.9 percent below its peak hit in July 2008 seven months after the recession began. Associated Press Also in Business The regulator overseeing major mortgage finance sources Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on Monday said it filed legal paperwork to create a common platform for the two firms to issue mortgage-backed securities. The Federal Housing Finance Agency said it established a new company called Common Securitization Solutions.