A 61-year-old livery driver posted on Facebook early Monday that city and state politicians were to blame for his financial ruin — then pulled up to the gates of City Hall and shot himself dead with a shotgun, authorities said.
The driver, identified by sources as Douglas Schifter, blamed Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo as well as former Mayor Bloomberg for making it impossible for him to earn a living behind the wheel because of an increasing number of taxis and black cars in the city, and because of over-regulation of his industry.
“Now the politicians have flooded the streets with unlimited cars and some 3,000 new ones every month still coming. There is not enough work for everybody that pays a living,” Schifter posted around 4:30 a.m.
“This is SLAVERY NOW. … I don’t know how else to try to make a difference other than a public display of a most private affair.”
Schifter then drove a black Nissan Altima that he rented in Pennsylvania to the front, east gate of City Hall near Spruce Street and Park Row, stopped the car and shot himself with a shotgun around 7:10 a.m., police said.
He was pronounced dead at the scene, an FDNY spokesman said. Police sources said he was from Pennsylvania.
“I have no more health insurance and am not enjoying good health,” Schifter wrote in his online manifesto. “No more vehicle as my GM engine failed twice this year as well as the transmission. No more income to pay bills and maxed out credit cards I cannot pay. I will lose my house and everything else. I see no point to continue trying.”
Schifter – who wrote that he worked 100-120 consecutive hours almost every week for more than 14 years — said in his lengthy suicide note that de Blasio, Cuomo and Bloomberg “each had their part in destroying a once thriving industry.”
“There are over 100,000 of us suffering daily now. It is the new slavery. The politicians flooded the streets with Black Cars and Taxis,” he wrote.
“I warned of the impending collapse of the yellow medallions more than a year before it happened. No one stopped it. That old law was working and it was there to prevent exactly what Cuomo Allowed,” he continued. “The control of the numbers of taxi medallions was never supposed to return to the Mayor.”
Schifter blamed Bloomberg for “appealing to Albany to remove the law limiting taxis in NYC.”
“It was in place for over one hundred years and worked! It was there for a reason. It took away control from local politicians. It limited competition so in bad times everyone still made a good living,” he wrote.
“Now there are too many feeding off the same pie and there is not enough for every one,” he said, adding that Bloomberg “added 18,000 unneeded green cabs.”
“That took more business away from Black and Yellow Cabs. He mandated a freeze on processing replacement Black Cars just as I had to replace mine,” Schifter wrote, explaining that he had to buy and insure his car before he could register it.
“TLC would not process my application because they wanted their $75 inspection fee for a brand new car out of the showroom in addition to the state inspection already performed,” he said.
“That cost between $20,000 and $30,000 and was a serious loss,” he said.
The driver also said de Blasio and Cuomo have shown a “bias” toward Uber.
“De Blasio stopped a traffic study on the impact of Uber. That would have revealed the true traffic impact of so many cars and shown the need to freeze car levels,” Schifter said.
“Cuomo allowed the removal of controls and allowed unlimited cars on the road. Cuomo also placed State Troopers in NYC to patrol and issue moving violations. This never happened before in my lifetime. He has turned the city into a police state.”
The disconsolate driver also took aim at the “treasonous Republicans.”
“I hope with the public sacrifice I make now that some attention to the plight of the drivers and the people will be done to save them and it will have not have been in vain and also that we must stop what is happening to Government while we still have one we can vote out,” Schifter said.
“There is no choice. America is under attack by Russia. They do not need weapons. They bought their influence.”
A City Hall spokesman responded to Schifter’s comments by saying: “It’s incredibly sad. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones in what is undoubtedly the most painful of times.”
De Blasio, meanwhile, lamented the driver’s death in an interview on NY1 with host Errol Louis.
“It’s a horrible tragedy, first of all, Errol,” the mayor said. “This man was obviously going through a lot.”
De Blasio defended his record on the cab industry, saying he tried to put in “common-sense caps” on Uber and similar companies, but got opposition from the City Council.
“There’s more work to do for sure on that front but no, I mean, this is a tragic act that obviously reflects on one individual’s distress,” he said.