A secretive hedge fund that’s been quickly amassing troubled taxi medallion loans has sat down with an advocacy group seeking to save drivers from drowning in debt and losing their cabs.
Greenwich, Conn.-based Marble gate Asset Management met with embattled taxi drivers and their advocates on Monday in a move that could lay the groundwork for a deal to provide yellow cabbies with some wiggle room on their loans, sources said.
“We had an introductory meeting with Marble gate yesterday,” Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, told The media. “We have already made a mutual agreement to move forward and draw up some universal standards on debt relief.”
Desai told that Marble gate also agreed to indefinitely delay a Thursday auction of 25 medallions, which would place troubled loans behind those medallions into new ownership.
Marble gate declined to comment on this story, but a source familiar with the firm told that Desai’s characterizations of Monday’s meeting were correct.
As reported last week, Desai and her members were up in arms after Marble gate purchased loans tied to some 3,000 taxi medallions from the National Credit Union Administration for a reported $350 million. Marble gate, which already owned 1,300 medallions and loans, is now the largest single owner of the placards that allow taxi drivers to operate.
The purchase comes as drivers have seen the value of their medallions go from $1 million in late 2013 to below $200,000 thanks to the rise of ride-hailing startups.
Reported last week, the $1.4 billion fund has been buying taxi medallions with a goal of owning a “super fleet” of yellow cabs. But Desai’s group wants the values of the loans Marble gate bought to be restructured to a uniform value of $150,000 with monthly payments capped at $900.