The manager in charge of ground transportation at Louis Armstrong International Airport has been allowing taxi drivers to operate there without the required background checks or paperwork, according to a report released Monday by New Orleans Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux.
The Inspector General’s Office reviewed files associated with 45 taxi decals issued by the airport between 2011 and 2014 — chosen randomly from a total of 900 — and discovered that all of them had either missing or expired paperwork.
The report also said the manager in question, Larry Bishop, failed to enforce decal requirements at all in the case of so-called “short line” cabs, which handle passengers whose destinations are closer to the airport than Orleans Parish.
Because the airport did not collect the fees that it otherwise would have received from those cabs, it lost out on roughly $325,000 in potential revenue over the past three years, the report estimates.
Quatrevaux’s office said Aviation Director Iftikhar Ahmad provided “exceptional cooperation” to his investigators, but it accused Bishop of lying to them.
The report says Bishop told the investigators that he had never — and would never — approve a decal without all of the necessary paperwork. But three airport employees directly contradicted him, saying Bishop had “authorized the issuance of decals in the past, even though the applications were incomplete or did not exist,” the report says.
In a prepared statement, Ahmad said, “Early in the investigation, the airport took immediate personnel action to address the situation.”
Michelle Wilcut, a spokeswoman for the airport, said Bishop was removed from his role as ground transportation manager in September. She said she could not provide further details because the case is an “ongoing personnel matter.”