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Cab Firm Owner Sues Ex-Manager, Lobbyist

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary | The Regional
Review / DEVELOPMENTS IN ORANGE, RIVERSIDE, SAN BERNARDINO
AND VENTURA COUNTIES

April 21, 2000

ORANGE COUNTY — The owner of a taxi firm that was removed from John Wayne Airport has accused a former employee and a prominent Orange County lobbyist of illegally starting a competing company that eventually won the airport contract.

Hossein Nabati, owner of A Taxi, said he held the airport contract for three years without major problems but has suffered a severe business decline since the county's airport director terminated the contract on March 22, after Nabati's cab company failed to provide a DMV certificate of insurance.

With his cabs gathering dust, Nabati alleges that the DMV certificate was a ruse and that his former manager, Richard Schorling, and Costa Mesa lobbyist Lyle Overby unfairly started their own company, called American Taxi, behind his back.

"Here I was paying Lyle [$1,000 a month] to represent me and he goes and starts his own company," Nabati said.

Nabati has filed several lawsuits, including two in Superior Court, accusing Schorling of breach of fiduciary duty and fraud and accusing Overby of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and interference with economic relationships.

Both defendants denied wrongdoing. Their attorney, Maryann Cazzell, said she is considering a countersuit against Nabati.

Overby said Nabati has himself to blame for a "failure of compliance" with the county contract.

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