Signature Bank’s Profits Plummet On Steep Writedown Of Taxi Loans

Signature Bank’s Profits Plummet On Steep Writedown Of Taxi Loans
American Banker
April 19, 2018
By Alan Kline
Alan Kline is a senior editor at American Banker overseeing its consumer finance and national/regional banking coverage.

Signature Bank in New York reported a steep drop in its first-quarter profit after taking what it said were “significant measures” to address continued weakness in its portfolio of taxi medallion loans.

The $44 billion-asset company said Thursday that its net income in the quarter that ended March 31 fell 74% from the same period last year, to $34.5 million. Its earnings per share of 63 cents came in $2.04 below the mean estimates of analysts polled by FactSet Research Systems.

Signature said that excluding writedowns on the taxi portfolio, it would have earned a record $146.8 million in the quarter, or $2.69 per share.

With the value of taxi medallions continuing to plummet as the taxi industry faces increased competition from the likes of Uber and Lyft, Signature opted to charge off roughly $129 million of its medallion loans and boosted its provision for loan losses to $140.8 million, up from $19.6 million in last year’s first quarter.

CEO Joseph DePoalo said that Signature is accelerating growth in anticipation that Congress will raise the asset threshold for determining if a bank is systemically important.

It also said that that it wrote down each of its medallion loans to a value of roughly $160,000. At their peak in 2014, taxi medallions in New York City were valued at well over $1 million.

The moves reduced its portfolio of medallion loans to $136.5 million, or 35 basis points of total assets. Two years ago, it had roughly $763 million of taxi medallion loans on its books.

The taxi-related writedowns overshadowed what was otherwise a strong quarter for the fast-growing bank. Net interest income increased 5.4% to $318.5 million thanks primarily to strong growth in commercial real estate and multifamily loans. Deposits increased 5.7% year over year, to $34.8 billion…



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The RICO Case For The Taxi Medallion Industry In New York, Chicago And Boston

To Whom It May Concern:

I apologize for the format of this document. I would have preferred to provide a more coherent narrative. I wish I had the time to complete all of the articles appropriate to publish in my blog, Sharing Opinions.

My most recent entries are below:

Gene Friedman Rolls Over On Trump, Cohen and the Rest of Russian Big Taxi RICO Conspirators

New Call For Incriminating Information On Russian Big Taxi

The RICO Case For The Taxi Medallion Industry In New York, Chicago And Boston

After the news on May 22, 2018 that Gene Friedman is cooperating against Michael Cohen, I need to publicly surface all of the information below after events including the threatened legal action against me by Randy Mastro on December 24, 2016. Mastro was hired by Andrew Murstein, president of Medallion Financial (NASDAQ: MFIN, formerly TAXI), the leading provider of tax medallion loans. Mastro has been the lead attorney for many years in the long-running multi-billion-dollar legal battle involving ConocoPhillips, who deliberately dumped and refused to clean up 18 billion gallons of toxic waste in the Ecuadorian Amazon. I received a second legal threat from Mastro and Murstein earlier this year.

The taxi medallion industry in New York, Chicago and Boston is a coordinated criminal enterprise at many levels fueled by exploitation of drivers, predatory lending, market manipulation, physical threats, securities fraud, violation of banking regulations and past collusion by city governments.

The value of taxi medallions for decades has been driven by the profits inherent in a system that through city government supported oligopolies has extracted the cash generated by the gap between market distorted passenger revenue and a shift driver workforce making indentured servant wages.

The second profit driver over the years before Uber’s entry was the taxi medallion bubble.  The bubble was engineered by non-arm’s length transfers and cooperation among the largest industry players in New York, Chicago and Boston. There was absolutely no economic reason for the simultaneous run up in medallion prices in New York, Chicago and Boston.

This kind of money attracts criminals at a very, very high level.

  1. At the peak of the taxi medallion bubble in Spring 2014, the total value of the 22,450 medallions in the three cities was $20 billion.
  2. In Spring 2014 the total medallion loans outstanding from the Top 12 taxi medallion lenders was $6 billion. Through March 31, 2018, medallion values are trapped in an illiquid market with a handful of transfers priced at a fraction of the 2014 value.
  3. I have medallion transfer information from the Boston regulator’s Medallion Files for the 59 transfers between January 1, 2015 through August 31, 2016. Only a small percentage of these transfers appear to be arm’s length. Over many months I analyzed this information, however I have only published a subset of my analysis. Details of my Boston analysis are available online. Analysis of the fragile state of New York medallion loans was extensively documented in two recent articles in Seeking Alpha by DeepResearch707.
  4. Analysis and conclusions from my investigation of the taxi industry in New York, Chicago and Boston appear online in Seeking Alpha, Yahoo Finance and my own blog, Sharing Opinions. Medallion Financial (MFIN) is close to a pure play in the medallion taxi industry. Being publicly traded since 1996, MFIN has been forced to reveal information in detail for all three cities not available from other industry players. Content from me and several other authors appears on online investment sites covering MFIN.
  5. Although only briefly mentioned in web content provided by me, the four wealthiest individuals in the taxi industry appear to be Vladimir Sloutsker, Symon “Simon” Garber, Yevgeny “Gene” Friedman and Andrew Murstein, president of MFIN. At the top of the bubble Friedman owned 860 New York medallions with a total value of $1 billion. Garber owned 830 Chicago medallions and 400 New York medallions with a total value of $730 million at the peak of the bubble. Andrew Murstein’s net worth is $650 million.
  6. Eddie Tutunjian dominates Boston with 372 medallions with a total value at the peak of $260 million. As documented by me online, I met an elderly Russian-born owner at a medallion auction who stated he was Tutunjian’s original financier. Although the eleven people in the room knew him, he refused to give me his name. However, I could identify him in a photograph.
  7. Vladimir Sloutsker has known Simon Garber since 1992, when they met in Monaco. They founded Moscow Taxi together in 1995 and grew it to a fleet of 2,500 vehicles by their peak in 1998 just prior to the collapse of the Russian economy under Yeltsin. The strong-arm tactics necessary to build a business of this size in the Yeltsin era are well-documented and were absolutely necessary in that all-cash business.
  8. While in Russia in 2001, Garber became friends with Patrick Daley, the son of long-time Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley. Patrick Daley has a history of under the table deals. He profited from a concealed investment in Municipal Sewer Services, later awarded a $3 million, no-bid city contract. He also had a concealed investment in Concourse Communications, awarded a contract for Wi-Fi service at city-owned O’Hare Airport. Garber is widely reported to have used his relationship with Patrick Daley to enter the Chicago medallion market.
  9. In 2002, Medallion Financial repossessed 400 medallions from Yellow Cab, a leader in the Chicago taxi industry. Garber founded Chicago Carriage Cab in 2003 with these medallions after transfer from MFIN.
  10. Despite a market price of $42,000 in March 2003, Garber was involved in deals at $60,000. In November 2006 prices began to escalate from a median price of $60,000. In a city auction of 50 medallions, winning bids ranged between $77,250 to $81,002. Of the 15 highest bids, Garber had 11 of them.
  11. In an NPR interview, Gene Friedman proudly stated he paid above market prices for New York medallions.
  12. Fresh out of law school, Gene Friedman moved to Russia to work for Sam Zell, the legendary real estate investor who entered and then withdrew from the Moscow real estate market, citing its unsurmountable corruption. With no money of his own and Russian financing, Friedman returned to New York in 1996 to launch his taxi business. The names of the Russian oligarchs funding him in 1996 have not been revealed. However, Freidman will reveal them as part of his plea deal in May 2018.
  13. MFIN’s president, Andrew Murstein, is the grandson of the company founder, Leon Murstein, who purchased medallions when they were first issued by the City of New York in 1937 for $150 each inflation-adjusted to 2018. He entered the medallion lending business in the 1970’s.
  14. Garber’s partner, Roman Sapino, is the owner of the very active New York medallion brokerage firms Chelsea Taxi Brokers and Big Apple Brokerage. In my conversations with one of Sapino’s brokers, he revealed they brokered many of the transfers of corporate and individual medallions in 2015 and 2016 clearly at non-arm’s length prices.
  15. In my blog, I first recommended shorting MFIN in June 2014 as a way to bet on the success of Uber. The medallion bubble crested in spring 2014.
  16. Since my strong recommendation to short and sell MFIN I’ve posted millions of words of content. I have been the most prolific online MFIN critic for a long time. After a typical pump and dump scheme, MFIN hit a 52-week high of $10.00 in March 2016 and subsequently dropped by 78%. After the price of $3.33 on January 23, 2017, the stock again dropped precipitously after a complete capitulation. On January 31, 2017, alone MFIN opened at $2.59 and dropped 16% to $2.17. This is a typical high-volume roundtrip that has happened for over four years.
  17. A recent pump and dump scheme saw the crest of insider dumping on low information investors in January 2018. From the close of $3.87 on January 9, 2018 to the crest of the dump at $5.56 on January 16, 2018, during a 44% juice in price, the 4-day volume of 4,200,000 shares was 9 times the volume of the week before.
  18. The recent 51% runup over eight trading days from the low of $3.59 on May 11, 2018 to $5.40 on May 22, 2018 is too early in the pump and dump cycle to determine when and at what price it will end. Pump and dump trading patterns are repeatedly evidenced since the November 2013 peak of $17.74, just before MFIN issued $45,000,000 in secondary stock.
  19. Given extensive securities fraud and violation of state and federal banking regulations, there is ample opportunity for civil cases and class action suits. If MFIN files for bankruptcy, MFIN’s president, Andrew Murstein, has deep pockets with a reported net worth of $650 million. Obviously not being an attorney, I’m unfamiliar with piercing the corporate veil as part of a disgorgement order.
  20. Ronn Torossian has done extensive work for Gene Friedman and Virgin Islands based Cane Bay Partners, owners of and other off-shore pay day lenders. Cane Bay has been a substantial investor in MFIN and payday lenders. Torossian is a very successful, well known and controversial PR practitioner.
  21. Torossian has confessed to using Black Hat social media techniques online by paying for anonymous authors without disclosing their true identities and impersonating real people for his client Agriprocessors, a slaughterhouse and meat-packaging factory. They faced multiple accusations of mistreatment of animals, pollution, and extensive violations of labor law.
  22. Lawrence Meyers of PDL Capital (Pay Day Lending) led the Black Hat campaign on Seeking Alpha and Yahoo Finance against me and other critics of MFIN and the taxi medallion industry. Bullish statements given to Wall Street analysts by Torossian’s client and major MFIN investor, Cane Bay Partners, were virtually identical to bullish statements posted online by Meyers.
  23. On Seeking Alpha, Meyers promoted the stock of ForceField Energy, whose chairman Richard St. Julien was arrested by Federal authorities while boarding a plane to Costa Rica in April 2015. Twelve defendants were charged with manipulating ForceField’s stock from December 2009 to April 2015 by secretly trading it in undisclosed accounts, inflating trading volume to create a false sense of demand, and concealing kickbacks to stock promoters and brokers to tout it. U.S. prosecutors charged them with fraud causing $131 million of losses. Outlets for illegal promotion included Seeking Alpha. It is unclear why Meyers wasn’t charged.
  24. Jeffrey Goldberg, now Editor in Chief of The Atlantic magazine, called Torossian “the most disreputable flack in New York”, particularly criticizing his representation of what Goldberg called the “lunatic fringe” of right-wing Israeli politics. Torossian promotes the proposal to “transfer” all Arabs out of Israel. The leaders of these factions are dominated by Russian-born Israelis.
  25. Vladimir Sloutsker (sometimes Slutsker) is a multi-billionaire oligarch who created his wealth during the anarchic period immediately following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. He was a Senator and is very active in Israeli politics, including serving as president of the right-wing Israeli Jewish Congress. Sloutsker threatened his former business partner, Alexei Kozlov with death and had him jailed for four years. I suspect that’s the tip of the iceberg for Sloutsker’s criminality, however I’ve never had the ability to do research in Russia.
  26. Vladimir Sloutsker, Simon Garber and Yevgeny “Gene” Friedman were born in Russia or Ukraine. It is believed by many in the industry that the market for transferring Boston medallions is controlled by Eddie Tutunjian and “The Russians”.
  27. Russian Big Taxi has collapsed.

All readers: feel free to contact me for any reason.

Gordon Gossage
(617) 694-1624



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New Call For Incriminating Information On Russian Big Taxi

Now that Gene has rolled over, here’s the list again:

The four-year old process of ripping off the Russian Big Taxi Scab started by Uber’s Medallion Bubble Peak Pop in Spring 2014.
Russian Big Taxi Readers: I feel your pain, now that Traitor Trump’s Fixer Michael Cohen is in the spotlight.
You guys really don’t want the world to know about Cohen, Crony & Crony’s work with:
  • Andrew Murstein
  • Anthony “Tony” Ilacqua
  • David Johnson (of Cane Bay Partners)
  • Edward “Eddie” Tutunjian
  • Erminio “Eddie” Gargano
  • Evgeny “Gene” Freidman
  • Kirk Chewning
  • Lawrence “Larry” Meyers
  • Patrick Daley (son of former Mayor of Chicago Richard M. Daley)
  • Randy Mastro
  • Richard “Bo” Dietl
  • Ronn Torossian
  • Symon “Simon” Garber
  • Vladimir Sloutsker (sometimes transliterated as Slutsker)


Here’s a great subject for an SEC Whistleblower Award and having the feeling you’ve joined the Good Guys:

Provide verifiable information that Evgeny Naumovich Freidman (RussianЕвгений Наумович Фридман) contracted with Ronn Torossian through Gene’s front organization, the Greater New York Taxi Association, to create the Russian Trolling Campaign against online critics of Medallion Financial (NASDAQ: MFIN, formerly TAXI).

Richard “Bo” Dietl investigated the online stock and Russian Big Taxi critics and provided information to use as kompramat to silence them. Randy Mastro was hired by MFIN’s president, Andrew Murstein to send extremely threatening legal warnings to online critics. Randy’s and Bo’s products didn’t shut me up, however unfortunately they worked on several others.

Not being very intelligent, Lawrence “Larry” Meyers was outed as one of the trolls early on. There are reports he rolled over on other RICO conspirators after disappearing from Seeking Alpha and Yahoo Finance investor sites.

Extremely funny RICO Quotes from Bloomber Business Week in 2015:

All this helps explain why Freidman’s PR guy, Ronn Torossian, didn’t want his client to talk to Bloomberg Businessweek. “Gene did this against my advice as I am convinced ur gonna f— him,” Torossian wrote in an e-mail from Freidman’s second home, in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, along the French Riviera. Freidman and Torossian later stopped working together, but they say they’re still friends…

“Maybe this is the wrong visual, this is where Ronn is kicking me under the table,” he says, before pressing on with his second firearm metaphor of the day. (Torossian, alas, is not around.) “Like, there’s a guy in Appalachia, no shirt, hasn’t had a shirt all winter, right? He’s got a mullet. A mullet. A mullet. Right? He’s married to two of his first cousins, right? But he’s got a gun in his hands. And he’s born with a gun in his hands. I’m that guy.”

After breakfast, Freidman walks two blocks east to his temporary digs at Trump Park Avenue on 59th Street….Sandra is occupying the $4.8 million master residence six blocks north…

Read the rest of this great three year old article here:

Uber is the “nastiest, most morally corrupt company ever”

Gene “Trump Funder” Freidman strikes a pose:


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Gene Friedman Rolls Over On Trump, Cohen and the Rest of Russian Big Taxi RICO Conspirators

Besides Gene “The Weasel” Friedman Which Insiders Rolled Over On Russian Big Taxi Before May 22, 2018?

Congratulations to all readers who provided information to Federal prosecutors, the SEC and bank regulators!!!

Some other readers: if you haven’t contacted the Good Guys your value is increasingly perishable as the Big Bad Guys beat you to it. Don’t wait until your information is putrefying. Contact me if you need any Good Guy Contact Information.

Death Pool: When will Cohen roll over on Trump? Day won’t be known for a while, but winner will be obvious!!!

New entry for your Russian Big Taxi bibliography:

Michael Cohen’s Business Partner Agrees to Cooperate as Part of Plea Deal


Who provided background information to prosecutors and regulators?

Who applied for SEC Whistleblower Awards? 

Is Michael Cohen a stand-up guy or a weasel with a song to sing?

How about Andrew Murstein, Cronies and Company?

Previous entry:

How Michael Cohen, Trump’s Fixer, Built a Shadowy Business Empire

The New York Times
May 7, 2018

Shadowy…as in Russian Big Taxi…

Where DID Trump get his money after his bankruptcies and NO bank would lend him money?

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Russian Big Taxi Bibliography

Which Insiders Rolled Over On Russian Big Taxi in April 2018?

Who provided background information to prosecutors and regulators?

Who applied for SEC Whistleblower Awards? 

Is Michael Cohen a stand-up guy or a weasel with a song to sing?

How about Andrew Murstein, Cronies and Company?

First entry:

How Michael Cohen, Trump’s Fixer, Built a Shadowy Business Empire

The New York Times
May 7, 2018

Shadowy…as in Russian Big Taxi…

Where DID Trump get his money after his bankruptcies and NO bank would lend him money?

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Boston Medallion Transfer Price Plummets To 10% Of Bubble Price

There is no argument to estimate the market value of a Boston taxi medallion to be greater than $72,000 as of March 31, 2018.

With two sales at $50,000, the market value could credibly be set at $50,000.

Below are the average Boston medallion transfer prices that appear to be arm’s length at maximum. A significant number may not be arm’s length.

Q1 2017 $95,500
Q2 2017 $76,667
Q3 2017 $78,792
Q4 2017 $70,615
Calendar 2017 $75,483
Q1 2018 $71,667


See the complete list of the 64 Boston medallion transfers between January 1, 2017 through March 31, 2018 way down below.

Will Andrew Murstein continue to use fantasy exit prices in New York, Chicago and Boston for evaluating his loan portfolio as of March 31, 2018 in the upcoming 10Q?

The FASB Fair Value Measurement (Topic 820) method is very clear. Murstein must use the exit price as determined by the market, not some estimate dreamed up by a crony “valuation firm.”


“Fair value is the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction in the principal (or most advantageous) market at the measurement date under current market conditions (that is, an exit price)”

If Murstein continues to use falsely inflated exit prices to value the Q1 2018 balance sheet, is he guilty of securities fraud?



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The following are the new owners of each medallion transferred since January 1, 2017 as of March 31, 2018.
Medallion Number Corporation Name Last Name First name Transaction Date Transfer Price
1508 BU TAXI INC SALGAN ALBERT 2/17/17 $445,143
1044 BEN BEN CAB INC JEAN JULES REMY 2/17/17 $380,000
1162 A.M.P. CHERY, INC. CHERY PHILIPPE 2/17/17 $380,000
1454 D NICE TAXI INC SANON DONALD 2/28/17 $380,000
1035 ROUSSEL CAB INC ROUSSEL HUGUE 5/1/17 $380,000
1467 GEMINI CAB INC LABOSSIERE JEAN 5/16/17 $380,000
1347 ST VIL CAB INC STVIL HITLER 8/15/17 $380,000
897 WIDFREECA CAB INC ODNE JEAN 8/18/17 $380,000
402 LYRIQ CORP LERICK FRIDNEL 8/31/17 $380,000
1652 FRANCO BARESI INC JOSMA LUCIEN 1/12/17 $351,940
320 FUNG KYI TAXI INC KYI FUNG MUI LI 5/1/17 $320,000
1691 MLJ TAXI INC GAROFALO LINDA 6/22/17 $310,000
902 BAMKEL INC KHAN AMIR 1/4/17 $225,000
98 ST TALA INC DUMERANT PIERRE 12/13/17 $225,000
1806 KIMBERLY CAB INC MICHEL DANIEL 3/29/17 $200,000
147 FERRY CAB INC DAUPHIN MAURICE 12/1/17 $200,000
1661 TAINA INC HORATIUS ANTONIO 2/1/18 $200,000
1489 PERU ROSAS CAB INC ROSAS RENE 1/11/18 $180,000
1824 ZCJ CAB INC PAUL MARIO 8/31/17 $165,000
591 BEN AND ROSE INC VERNET BENITO 8/11/17 $95,000
1307 OHM CAB INC PABLA GURDEEP 7/20/17 $85,000
1516 AMREEN CAB INC GJUMAN KOMAL 7/20/17 $85,000
501 KAP CAB INC MANNAN MANOJ 9/25/17 $85,000
1096 VA ONE TRANS INC CHIBANE OMAR 9/28/17 $85,000
1408 JHL CAB INC JIANG YANLIN 9/22/17 $83,000
140 MOM & DAD INC JULCE KESHIA 9/22/17 $80,000
307 YALTA INC LAINER NATALIA 11/7/17 $80,000
1315 L AND Z SERVICE INC ZHU STEVEN 6/15/17 $75,000
482 HOLY NAME TAXI, INC. NASR ANDRE & KAMIL 9/25/17 $75,000
1073 LE ROSEAU INC THENOR MICHELET 10/2/17 $75,000
1580 DON AND ASH INC JAVINER ASHLEY 11/3/17 $75,000
760 I. C. TAXI INC JAVINER ASHLEY 1/16/18 $75,000
1439 SARAH JANE CAB INC. ZADAKI KARIM 9/25/17 $72,500
1034 OUMI AICHA CAB INC ZAKAKI KARIM 10/2/17 $72,500
1440 BOU AYAD CAB INC ZADAKI KARIM 10/2/17 $72,500
414 MOAID CAB INC SALLAT RABAA 9/22/17 $70,000
1376 BIFA TRANS INC ELHAJI MOHAMED 3/29/18 $70,000
155 MAJHA INC SINGH NAVJIT 12/20/17 $65,000
744 AKAAL CAB INC SINGH AMARPREET 12/20/17 $65,000
352 BEN NY TAXI INC ASGDOM BENYAM 2/13/18 $65,000
114 ALEX TAXI, INC VORONOV GARY 10/17/17 $60,000
291 ALEX TAXI, INC. VORONOV GARY 10/17/17 $60,000
1330 WOODSIDE TAXI INC VORONOV GARY 11/28/17 $60,000
711 JATT CAB INC SINGH NAVJIT 5/16/17 $50,000
1124 RVF CAB INC FORZIATI RICHARD 9/15/17 $50,000


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My Radical Disclosure To Law Enforcement On February 13, 2017

From: Gordon Gossage <>
Date: Mon, Feb 13, 2017 at 3:24 PM
Subject: Radical Disclosure to you
To: “Madden, Catherine (AGO)” <>

I’ve now begun a process I call Radical Disclosure. As part of this process I’m waiving my constitutional right to privacy to you and several other people including but not exclusively to XXXX, YYYY….

Waiving my right to privacy to you includes my permission with or without my knowledge and at your sole discretion, to examine all financial, police and medical records, all emails on any third party servers or any other information on my hard disk. I never use concealed screen names, however you can also request without subpoena any posts of mine from Seeking Alpha, Yahoo Finance, The Motley Fool or any other online site.

In my previous disclosures and a project description, before the market close on January 19, 2016 I benefited directly or indirectly from parties who have from time to time held short or long positions in, acted as principal in, and bought or sold the securities of companies holding taxi medallion related assets. As of the market close on January 19, 2016, I’ve no longer benefited directly or indirectly from these parties.

I will be happy to sign an affidavit for all of the statements above, to provide tax returns for 2015 and 2016 and provide the financial statement detailing my current income and expenses filed in association with my divorce to you.

I trust in your judgment 100%.

Thanks so much,

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