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Airport Cabs Stay in Line

Taxis: The company with an exclusive contract at John Wayne will continue to operate during Thanksgiving week while it searches for a new owner.


Despite a bankruptcy hanging over its head, the cab company that serves John Wayne Airport will continue to operate through the Thanksgiving holiday without interruption.

American Livery Inc., which operates a fleet of 140 cabs powered by natural gas, filed for bankruptcy this year because it cannot pay its debts, including $3.3 million to Ford Motor Credit Co.

Last week, Ford was ready to take possession of all of American's cabs but decided to give the firm's owners another week to find a buyer for the company.

American Livery, run by principal officers Rick Shorling and Lyle Overby, was a startup firm begun barely four months before it was handed the exclusive airport contract last year. The officers argued last week that they had found a potential buyer and needed more time to close the deal.

Although that deal fell through, Ford is reviewing other options, including proposals from other buyers. If American Livery can't find a buyer, Ford has agreed to give the county 72 hours' notice so it can switch the airport's cab service to a consortium of three companies.

"We continue to look at third-party offers presented by the owners and we will honor our agreement to give the county 72-hour notice of any action," said Ford spokesman Daniel Jarvis in Dearborn, Mich.

Ford gave no guarantee, but it was the county's understanding that no disruption of taxicab services would occur during the holiday, a county spokesman said.

Last week, county officials scrambled to line up enough cabs to take over for American Livery after Ford warned it would reclaim its cars.

The companies on call to step in if needed are Yellow Cab of North Orange County, based in Anaheim; California Yellow Cab, based in Santa Ana; and Taxi Systems, also known as Fiesta Taxi, in Cerritos.

The county contract called for American Livery to pay about $1.4 million to the airport over three years. The company was not required to tell the county how much profit it made on the contract, but estimates range from $5 million to $7 million.

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