Parmelee was also incurring substantial losses relative to the Depression as well as a lengthy strike in Pittsburgh where its National Transportation Co. subsidiary dominated the surface transportation business.
Markin personally owned substantially all the stock of the Motor Cab Transportation Corp. whose New York City subsidiaries operated a large fleet of taxicabs that were manufactured by Checker Cab Mfg. Co.
The Raskob-duPont group requested that Markin dispose of his Motor Cab stock so that he would not be, through this corporation, in competition with other New York City customers of Checker Cab Mfg. Co.
Parmelee suggested that its financial strain would be eased if the $1,442,000 of debentures and the $1,000,000 of preferred shares of Parmelee then owned by Checker Cab Mfg. Co., carrying a current burden of interest charges, sinking fund requirements and cumulative preferred dividends aggregating over $330,000 yearly were exchanged for Parmelee common shares.
As a result of ensuing negotiations Markin, on the insistence of the Raskob-duPont group, transferred his Motor Cab stock to Checker Cab Mfg. Co. in exchange for shares of Checker Cab Mfg. Co., and Checker Cab Mfg. Co. transferred this Motor Cab stock plus all Checker Cab Mfg. Co.’s holdings of Parmelee debentures and preferred stock plus some incidental securities, to Parmelee in exchange for 422,787 Parmelee common stock.
In consequence of this transaction, Checker Cab Mfg. Co. in the later part of 1930 became the owner of a majority of Parmelee’s common stock. Checker Cab Mfg. Co. owned 61.75 per cent of the stock of Parmelee, and Parmelee owned 29½ per cent of the stock of Chicago Yellow and all the stock of three subsidiaries which respectively operate cabs in New York City, Pittsburgh and Minneapolis.
Following Parmelee’s acquisition of Yellow Cab, they stopped buying cabs from Yellow Truck and Coach and began buying its cabs from Checker. With its cab business gone sour, General Motors tried to make a deal with Markin, and event that was discussed in an article in the October 29, 1930 issue of Business Week entitled ‘Once Lowly Taxi Now Wooed by Great Motor Companies’:
General Motors had earlier made a much larger mistake when they failed to act on the advice of John J. Raskob, a shareholder in both General Motors and Checker Cab Mfg. In the late 20s Raskob had tried to convince Alfred J. Sloan jr. and the GM board to purchase Checker outright, but was rebuked by the Fisher brothers, who believed GM’s taxi building business would improve.
As a direct result a group of GM directors headed by Fred J. Fisher spearheaded the formation of the Terminal Cab Corp. of New York. They hoped to take control of the New York City operating market from Parmelee, thereby creating a new captive market for GM’s taxicabs. Although Terminal controlled close to 4,000 New York City taxicabs for a short period, the ensuing collapse of the stock market resulted in Terminal’s November 1933 bankruptcy and the subsequent end of General Motors bespoke taxicab manufacturing business.
Additional problems arose because of the harsh economic conditions and the resumption of brutal taxi wars that swept many major cities during the 1920s. Simply put, more cabs were on the streets of most cities than could be operated profitably which meant fierce competition. As the industry was largely unregulated, many independent operators used their personal cars decked out with homemade signs and, in some instances, fought violently to protect their zones of operation.
Although Markin’s Checker Cab Manufacturing Co. had been supplying taxicabs to Chicago’s Checker Cab Company, he had not been involved in the firm’s operations since he had moved his taxicab building operations to Kalamazoo in 1923.
At that time his suburban Chicago home had been bombed by persons unknown, and since 1926 it had been common knowledge that Chicago Yellow Cab’s management had been controlled by persons closely affiliated with Chicago’s mobsters.
Shortly after Checker Cab Mfg Co. purchased a controlling interest in Parmelee, the Yellow and Checker cab companies held 77% of the taxicab licenses in the City of Chicago.
In 1929 there were 5,289 taxicab licenses outstanding in the City of Chicago. Yellow Cab Co. had 2,335 medallions and the Checker Cab association had 1,750. As the economy worsened, the City implemented a moratorium on new licenses and eventually requested that Yellow and Checker reduce their outstanding medallions to a combined total of 3,000, after which Yellow held 1,500 licenses and Checker 1,000.
At that time Markin was president, general manager, and controlling shareholder of Checker Cab Mfg Co. as well as the active manager and sole shareholder of Cab Sales and Parts Corp., an independent taxicab operator who was an associated member of the Checker Cab Co.
Checker Cab Mfg. Co. owned 62% of the capital stock of the Parmelee Transportation Co. which in turn held a controlling interest in the Chicago Yellow Cab Co. a holding company which owned all of the capital stock of Yellow Cab Co.
At the time Markin and his associates controlled 15% of the New York City market, 58% of the Minneapolis market, 86% of the Chicago market, and 100% of the Pittsburgh Market.
Checker originally was a cooperative company, the stockholders of which were the various owners of 'Checker' cabs. In February, 1930, as part of a settlement of litigation between it and Checker Cab Mfg. Co., Checker agreed that its drivers would purchase all of their taxicabs from Cab Sales for a period of five years at $2,350 per cab. At the same time, Checker Cab Mfg. Co. appointed Cab Sales as exclusive agent for these sales and agreed to sell its cabs to Cab Sales at $1,906 per cab. During the five-year life of this agreement, Checker drivers bought a large number of cabs from Cab Sales at prices about $400 above those at which Cab Sales bought them from Checker Cab Mfg. Co. As these drivers defaulted in their payments from time to time, Cab Sales would foreclose and take over the ownership and operation of the cabs. Since 1941, it has owned and operated all of these cabs.
By 1932, Cab Sales had acquired over 97% of the stock of Checker. Markin caused this stock to be sold to certain of his associates in 1942.
For many years Checker Cab Manufacturing and its sales division, Checker Cab Sales Co. had been financing taxicabs to the Chicago association, which in turn had been receiving time payments from their members for the taxicabs.
The association’s payments to Markin had always been on time, however the association started falling behind soon after the stock market crash. Some of their members were significantly behind on their cab payments, not to mention the monthly dues that were collected for insurance, dispatching and maintenance.
The violence that had taken a Checker cabbie, George Jackson, and the association’s treasurer, Barney Mitchell, earlier in the year, returned at the beginning of June when the body of Eugene (Red) McLaughlin, the brother of the association’s president, was found in a ditch.
For a number of years Checker’s membership had known who had been in charge, but when Red McLaughlin turned up dead, the cabbies panicked, and held an emergency meeting seeking a federal takeover of the firm:
Coincidentally, for the past year or so, Morris Markin, Ralph E. Oakland, and two associates, Paul L’Amoreaux and Ernest H. Miller had been surreptitiously operating their own fleet of taxis within the Association. The partners started with an initial group of thirty-five repossessed cabs and slowly started buying up the association’s larger owner-operators and within a number of years held a controlling interest in the association.
As the economy got worse, the partner’s fleet enlarged and it was ultimately absorbed by the Cab Sales and Parts Co., a Paul C. L’Amoreaux –owned firm that eventually held 500 Chicago operator licenses. Cab Sales was formed in 1930 as a method of compensating L’Amoreaux, Checker Cab Mfg. Co.’s attorney in the Checker Cab Mfg. Co.- Checker litigation. Michael Sokoll, the longtime secretary of the association was given the job or running it and the violence of years past soon faded from memory.
Markin also obtained a substantial interest in the DeLuxe Motor Cab Company, which was the third largest cab operating company in Chicago in 1929 with 400 licenses. He caused all of its stock to be sold to Parmelee. It was then consolidated into a new company; in 1932 Cab Sales bought a controlling interest in this consolidated concern and caused it to suspend operations. Thus, by the end of 1932, Markin had gained control of the the three largest taxicab companies operating in Chicago and, through Parmelee, had substantial footholds in the taxicab business in New York City, Pittsburgh and Minneapolis.
In 1931 Checker's president desired to withdraw from Checker and suggested the sale to Cab Sales of the majority of Checker’s stock. Cab Sales thought this a good purchase and obtained for this purpose a substantial sum from Markin personally and loans from subsidiaries of Yellow.
Parmelee president Ernest H. Miller passed away on December 24, 1932, and was succeeded L'Amoreaux. Following Paul C. L’Amoreaux’ untimely passing on September 2, 1933, Levin Rank, Parmelee Transportation’s secretary and treasurer, became its next president. Upon L’Amoreaux’ passing, Markin assumed control of Cab Sales and Parts, and with it control of Chicago Checker Cab.
Markin’s New York City taxi operations which were operated by a holding company, the Motor Cab Transportation Company, was not immune to labor disputes. On May 6, 1930 one of its subsidiaries, the Black Beauty Cab Corp., experienced a mass walkout after management at its Brooklyn garage fired two dispatchers, resulting in the walkout of 700-800 Black Beauty drivers. The affiliated cabbies of Brooklyn’s Checker Cab Service joined in the walkout and by May 10, 1,800 of Motor Cab Transportation’s drivers had walked out.
The drivers demanded the dispatchers’ reinstatement as well as the recognition of a cab drivers’ union. On May 11, 300 Black Beauty drivers working out of its East Thirteenth Street garage followed suit bring the totally number of Motor Cab Transportation Co. drivers on strike to 2,100. On May 17 Motor Cab’s Bronx cabbies had joined the strike, bringing the total number of strikers to 4,000.
The strike was ended on May 19 after the company agreed to the strikers demands, which included the organization of an independent association by the drivers: installation of a weekly wage system; installation of shop stewards; increase in the number of mechanics in the garages; and group insurance at the expense of the company.
Another group, the Empire Cab Association, was formed on February 9, 1931 by the Checker Sales Corp. with the goal of safeguarding struggling independent Checker cab operators by giving them access to affordable group insurance and other benefits.
On March 4, 1931 Checker released their 1930 earnings reports:
Earnings fell off during 1931 which Checker Cab Manufacturing reporting a net profit of only $70,000 for the second quarter. Earning were flat for the rest of the year, although 1932 started off on a high note with the following good news issued in a short press release dated February 5, 1932:
On May 13, 1932 New York’s Mayor, Jimmie Walker became involved in a scandal directly related to the formation of the Board of Taxicab Control, an industry sponsored regulatory body that sought to decrease the number of taxicab licenses in the metro New York City market:
General Motor’s Terminal Cab Company was implicated in a similar scheme involving John Hastings, a Walker ally, and the resulting scandal forced Walker’s resignation and the disbanding of the Board of Taxicab Control.
A three day strike that occurred earlier in the month resulted in a February 11, 1934 New York Times article called, ‘Taxi War a Result of Lower Profits’. The author, Margaret Hess, surveyed the reason for the walk-out and included a recent history of the city’s taxicab business.
At that time an estimated 22,000 taxicabs operated within the five boroughs of New York City, the three largest fleet operators being Parmelee (Motor Cab Transportation), General Motors (Terminal Cab Co.) and Keystone Transportation Co., Inc. who operated from 3,000 to 4,000 cabs a piece. Approximately 8,000 cabs were owned by independent owner-operators and the remaining 2,000 were operated by small fleets who owned from between 5 and 200 taxis a piece.
Founded in 1929, Keystone declared bankruptcy in 1933, Yellow Cab in 1935. Mayor LaGuardia finally acted on New York City’s overabundant taxicab population in 1937 with the introduction of the Haas act, which put into place a medallion system that severely limited the number of taxicabs operating within the five boroughs. 13,595 licenses or medallions were allowed under the law, which prohibited the issue of new medallions, and also required that existing medallions be turned in to the city when their owner withdrew from business and by the end of the decade, only 11,787 medallions were extant.
1931 Business Week:
At the beginning of the decade almost 95 per cent of all New York City cabs were owned by small fleets and individual owner-operators. Of the 27 fleets that owned 50 or more taxicabs, only 5 owned more than 250. The six largest operators were Yellow, Checker, Black Beauty (all controlled by Parmelee) Terminal (controlled by General Motors), Paramount/Five Boroughs (controlled by Allie S. Freed), and Keystone.
Although John J. Raskob and Pierre S. duPont had both been investing in Checker since the late 20s, newspaper reports hinted that the pair were seeking a substantially larger stake in the firm. Coincidentally the pair also sat on the board of General Motors and were two of its largest investors. On July 21, 1932 the Associated Press reported:
DuPont and Raskob spearheaded a recapitalization of Checker’s stock that was announced on August 11, 1932:
Ernest H. Miller, a friend of Markin’s as well as a large stockholder in and former president of both Parmelee and Yellow Taxi, passed away unexpectedly on December 24, 1932 of a massive stroke.
The Checker Cab boardroom must have been an uncomfortable place for Markin as Miller was now dead and the board of directors was controlled by Raskob and duPont. The firm’s Kalamazoo factory was idle for much of 1932 as none of the firm’s affiliated drivers or owners were in any position to purchased new taxicabs.
Checker employees returned to work in early 1933 after the factory received a number of new orders:
Checker Cab’s 1932 earnings, or lack thereof, were issued on April 13, 1933:
Markin made a bold move midway through 1933 by purchasing options to buy 60% (58,837 shares of 108,362 issued) of Checker Cab’s stock from the estate of R.W. Ellis and Pierre S. DuPont and John J. Raskob at a price significantly below its current market value.
The sale was made with the almost certain knowledge that Markin was unable to come up with the cash. Checker was trading at just under $17 per share at the time, and Markin was unable to raise the approximate $1 million needed for the transaction.
At Checker Cab’s June 1933 board meeting the directors voted to reduce their numbers from eleven to seven directors. Immediately after four of the remaining seven directors; Pierre S. du Pont, J.A. Sisto, Matthew Robinson and John J. Raskob, forced Markin out as president, replacing him with C.A. Weymouth, a Cornell-educated manager.
Unbeknownst to Checker’s directors was the fact that Markin and the newly wealthy E.L. Cord were friends, having met during the early twenties when Cord was a Chicago car salesman. It was no coincidence that Checker Cabs were equipped with Lycoming engines, and Markin hoped Cord would return the favor by backing him in his bid to return to power at Checker Cab Manufacturing.
At that time Cord was flush with cash, and he agreed to help out his old friend. Markin signed over duPont and Raskob’s options to Cord and within two weeks Cord had exercised the options, duPont and Raskob were gone, and Morris Markin was back in charge of Checker Cab. Cord was represented on the Checker board by trusted associates Lucius B. Manning and Raymond S. Pruitt.
The acquisition was announced to the press on August 15, 1933 by Manning:
Checker Cab Manufacturing’s next quarterly statement was released on August 17, 1933:
An article on the Cord takeover in the August 19, 1933 issue of Automobile Topics revealed that there were more than 200 Checker-built cabs operating in Minneapolis, Minnesota; 325 in Cleveland, Ohio; 500 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; 3,000 in Chicago, Illinois; and 8,000 in the five boroughs of New York City.
Cord’s Auburn Automobile Company had been building taxis for Cleveland’s Saf-T-Cab Corporation, since 1926. The firm’s founder, B.D. DeWeese, aggressively marketed the vehicles to metropolitan fleet operators, some of whom operated firms with Saf-T-Cab, or Safe-T-Cab in their titles. The firm’s products were popular in the Midwest, and could regularly be seen in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago, Minneapolis and St Paul.
As was the Checker, the Saf-T-Cab was purpose-built using heavy duty components and the firm advertised that many of their vehicles had exceeded the 100,000 mile mark. Soon after Cord took control of Checker, production of the Saf-T-Cab was transferred to Checker. Auburn was in the process of relocating all manufacturing operations to Connersville, Indiana and the move benefited all parties involved.
Paul C. L’Amoreaux, the architect of Markin’s acquisition of the Checker and Yellow Cab fleets passed away in September of 1933 after which his 97% share in Cab Sales reverted to Markin.
During 1934 most of the Parmelee System’s 2,200 New York City taxicabs were equipped with radios and in the following year automatic buzzers were installed that alerted pedestrians that the taxicab was put in reverse.
By 1935 fleets of 100 or more cabs accounted for approximately one third of the city’s 12,578 taxicabs. Parmelee-controlled firms, Checker and Yellow, now dominated the city’s landscape, even more so now that Terminal Cab and Keystone were bankrupt. The only firm that would make a noticeable dent in Checker and Yellow’s domination was the Sunshine Radio System, whose popular Desoto Skyliner Taxicabs were introduced in 1937.
In 1934 Parmelee Corporation’s board of directors shut down its 79-year-old Chicago subsidiary, the Parmelee Company, liquidated its assets, and assumed all of its contracts with the Chicago railways.
Between 1931 and 1935 Checker continued its previous form of individual owner-driver operation. During this period, however, large arrearages accumulated in the service charges owing by the drivers and the drivers also defaulted on purchase installments of their cabs with the result that cabs were abandoned or Cab Sales was required to repossess them.
By 1935 Cab Sales and Parts operated a fleet of 500 cabs within Chicago’s Checker Cab association. This was a minority of the total number of cabs operated within Checker but Cab Sales operated these 500 cabs as a fleet while the individual drivers of Checker operated their cabs individually.
Between 1935 and 1941 the individual drivers gradually dropped out as a result of their difficulties of operation and their inability or unwillingness to pay their service charges and purchase installments on their cabs, so that by 1941 all Checker cabs in Chicago were operated as a fleet by Cab Sales, which was owned almost exclusively by Markin.
In the late 30s Parmelee’s chief competitors in the New York City market were the Bell Transportation Co. (aka Bell System) and the GM-controlled Terminal Cab Corp. Founded by Nathan Levine, by 1937 the Bell System was New York City’s second largest operator, employing a reported 1,000 drivers and mechanics. It is estimated that the Bell and Parmelee systems operated 17 per cent of all the cabs in New York City before the Second World War. Although the Sunshine Radio system was much smaller, their distinctive sunroof-equipped Desoto Skyliner taxicabs are fondly remembered today.
July 30, 1937 - The Transport Workers Union, C. I. O. affiliate, announced yesterday that it had signed contracts with forty-nine operators of taxicab fleets employing a total of about 10,000 drivers and mechanics. The agreements include all of the large fleets except the Parmelee Transportation System, which has 3,200 employees.
Yellow and Checker subsequently made agreements to reduce the number of cabs in operation and to induce the city to lower the number of licenses outstanding to 3,000, of which Yellow would hold 1,500 and Checker 1,000. On December 22, 1937, the City of Chicago passed an ordinance providing for a method of voluntary surrender by licensees of a sufficient number of the licenses to reduce the number outstanding to 3,000.
It also provided that if the number of authorized licenses should later be increased above the 3,000 figure, such additional licenses should first be issued to the original licensees in proportion to and up to the number which they had surrendered. Yellow and Checker then made an agreement to implement this ordinance; Yellow agreed to surrender 571 licenses (leaving it with 1,595) and Checker agree to surrender 500 (leaving it with 1,000); both parties promised to attempt to secure for Yellow 60% and for Checker 40% of any licenses in excess of 3,000 which the city might later issue. As a result 3,000 licenses were left outstanding.
Markin responded to the insurance requirements by creating his own insurance company, the General Transportation Casualty and Surety Company.
On June 24, 1938, Edward S. Moran Jr., the former Democratic Assemblyman from the Park Slope section of Brooklyn was indicted on charges that between 1935 and 1937 he took $36,000 in bribes from officials of the Terminal and Parmelee Transportation Systems who suggested he introduce legislation in the State Senate favorable to the operations of the two New York City fleet operators. His trial took place the following June and on June 9, 1939 Moran was found guilty on two bribery counts and sentenced to two and a half to five years in prison.
Also implicated, but not charged were the presidents of the two taxicab companies, Burge M. Seymour, president of the Terminal System, Inc., and Levin Rank, president of Parmelee Transportation Co. At Moran’s sentencing Judge James Garrett Wallace issued a scathing denouncement of the two businessmen, and by the end of the year both men had been forced to resign their posts. Levin Rank was succeeded as Parmelee president by Lewis W. Landman, the former traffic manager of the New York Central Railroad.
Levin Rank’s new position was president of Markin’s insurance company, the General Transportation Casualty Company, organized on March 16, 1938 under the laws of New York State. Paid in capital $300,000; surplus $200,000. Original capitalization was increased to $550,000 on July 26, 1939. Its name was to General Transportation Casualty and Surety Company on Oct. 13, 1939. A further name change, to the General Fire and Casualty Company, took place on March 10, 1952. Its entry in the 1952 Cyclopedia of Insurance follows:
Levin Rank passed away on April 2, 1951 at the age of 60. After a reshuffling of the board, General Fire and Casualty’s officers became: President, Edward C. Lechner; vice-president, (underwriting, producing and advertising) Clarence A Cole; secretary, Joseph S. Catalano; treasurer, Milton H. Cassidy; assistant treasurer, Robert H. Wilson, assistant secretary, Donald Sheldon.
On January 1, 1939 New York City’s 26 largest taxicab fleet operators (with fleet of more than 25 drivers) were as follows: Ark (155); Atlantic (171); Bell (650); Better (47); Cornell (167); Crystal (114); Dynamic (174); Elmhurst ( 73); Embassy (94); Hub (17); Laurel (155); Level/Nera (67); Lowell (32); Lyric (126); Marlin (158); Mural (161); New Yorker (162); Pacific (94); Parmelee (2,990); Peerless (179); Phoenix (33); Ruart (88); Sunshine & Radio (171); Sun Ray (149); Terminal (836); Town (450); Tudor (71).
The four largest firms were Parmelee, Terminal, Bell, and Town.
On January 16, 1946 the city of Chicago authorized the issuance of 250 licenses to war veterans. Yellow was notified that 234 of its licenses, representing that number of cabs which had not been in operation, would be canceled. Checker was given a similar notice as to 87 licenses. Yellow and Checker then brought suit in an Illinois court to enjoin the city from issuing the new licenses and from canceling any of the ones issued to them; they claimed that economic conditions prevented them from procuring taxicabs to replace those which had become inoperable.
The Illinois courts held that the 1937 ordinance created a contract between the city and the licensees and that the city could not issue licenses to the war veterans without first replacing the licenses which Yellow and Checker had surrendered; it was further held that no monopoly existed, since the number of licenses and the rights of the licensees were subject to the control of the city. (See Yellow Cab Co. v. City of Chicago, 396 Ill. 388, 71 N.E.2d 652.)
A motion by the appellees to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief might be granted was sustained by the trial court. 69 F.Snpp. 170. The United States took a direct appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States.
The government’s attorneys claimed that the facts outlined within gave rise to an illegal combination and conspiracy on the part of the appellees (Yellow, Chicago Yellow, Parmelee, Cab Sales, Checker, Checker Cab Mfg. Co., and Markin) in violation of the Sherman Act.
The case was argued on May 7, 1947 and the courts decision, which ruled against the government’s assertion, was delivered on June 23, 1947 (United States v. Yellow Cab Co., 332 U.S. 218). The justices denied the appeal, ruling that because the transportation business of the defendants (Yellow, Checker, Markin etc.) did not involve interstate commerce, it was not covered under the Sherman Anti-trust Act.
Justice Frank W. Murphy delivered the majority opinion of the Court as follows:
The United States brought an action against Yellow, Chicago Yellow, Parmelee, Cabs Sales, Checker, and Checker Cab Mfg. Co. companies as well as Morris Markin. The Court stated that these types of combination and conspiracies fell within the ban of the Sherman Act. Further, the Court stated that in reference to this combination, the Sherman Act was never construed to sanction such a conspiracy to restrain interstate commerce. The Court also addressed the defendants’ argument that vertical integration removes the defendants from the purview of the Sherman Act. The Court stated that the fact that cab companies’ restraints occurred in a vertically integrated setting does not render the Sherman Act inapplicable. Rather, the focus is upon whether or not there exists an unreasonable restraint on interstate commerce and this restraint can come from corporations integrated under common ownership or from corporations that are independent. Also, the type of corporate interrelationship does not determine if the Sherman Act applies to actions. Based on the foregoing reasons, the Court held that the common ownership and control of the various corporate defendants in this case “are impotent to liberate the alleged combination and conspiracy from the impact” of the Sherman Act.
The suit was launched in response to a well-publicized march on the US capital by a group of 150 ex-servicemen who were denied taxicab licenses in Chicago due to Checker’s monopoly of the city’s cab stands.
Dec 6, 1949 – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – George Zielke
Despite the government’s lawsuits, Markin was ultimately successful in gaining control of 10% of the nation’s fleet operators, guaranteeing Checker Cab Manufacturing a steady market for their taxicabs, a plan that had proved equally successful a decade earlier for John D. Hertz.
Herbert B. Lazarus (b.1907-d.1988), a Yale-educated attorney, married Morris Markin’s daughter Josephine in 1951, launching his career as a director in a number of Markin-controlled enterprises. After graduation from law school Lazarus worked for Paramount Theatre chain as an attorney starting in 1934. He stayed with the firm through several reorganizations, emerging in 1956 as vice-president and secretary of American Broadcast-Paramount Theatre Inc. In December 1957 he resigned to open a private law practice and in 1958 was elected president of Parmelee Transportation. In 1955 he became a Parmelee Transportation Co. director, becoming its president in 1958. He was also a director of General Fire and Casualty Co. (1955), Chicago Yellow Cab (1956) and Checker Motors Corp. (1961). Lazarus is remembered today for his amazing collection of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century boxing prints, books and memorabilia, which was willed to Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Manuscript Library upon his death in 1988. His wife Josephine M. Lazarus, an interior designer and Checker Motors director, predeceased him in 1976.
On July 23, 1945, Markin created the Continental Air Transport Company for the purpose of taking Chicago airline passengers to and from Midway Field. At that time O’Hare was a small ex-military facility known as Orchard Field Airport. It was renamed O’Hare Field in 1949, and didn’t start regular passenger service until 1955.
In 1953 Continental had a fleet of 38 specially constructed airport buses/limousines, and by 1958, Continental‘s livery fleet made 194 daily round trips from the Chicago Loop to Midway and O’Hare airports at a cost of $1.95 per passenger.
A similar Markin-controlled operation, the Airline Transportation Co., offered the same service from downtown Pittsburgh to the Greater Pittsburgh Airport with a fleet of 7 buses and 21 airport limousines.
A 1953 article in Railway Age states that Parmelee’s Chicago operations utilized 90 limousines and 48 baggage transfer trucks. National Transportation Co. operated 1,660 taxicabs in New York City; the Yellow Cab Co. of Pittsburgh operated 425 taxicabs and service vehicles, the Yellow Taxi Company of Minneapolis used 138 taxicabs and also ran an airport shuttle service to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Airport with a fleet of 8 airport limousines.
At that time the majority of Markin’s trusted executives had been with the firm for close to 30 years. Their names follow:
Other Parmelee, Yellow and Checker executives that were instrumental to Markin's success included the following:
Parmelee Transportation Co. also owned approximately 40 per cent of the stock of the General Fire & Casualty Company, which underwrote public liability, workman’s compensation and other insurance for the Checker organization.
Parmelee’s long term service arrangement with Chicago's railroads ended in June 1955 when all 21 railroads serving Chicago abruptly ended their contracts with Parmelee and went with the Railroad Transfer Service, a new firm organized by trucking magnate John L. Keesbin, the owner of Keesbin Motor Express Co. and a long-time business associate of John D. Hertz. Despite a lengthy legal battle that revealed Keesbin had given bribes and payouts to numerous railroad and government officials, Parmelee was denied the contract, and its assets were merged into Continental Air Transport Co.
Prior to 1953 the National Transportation Co. Inc., a Checker subsidiary, controlled in excess of 1600 of the total of approximately 11,000 taxicab medallions in New York City. Markin kept the New York operation until 1954, when he began selling his fifteen hundred New York City medallions.
Checker Motors Corp. built 5,765 Superba cars and taxi-cabs in 1959, a 76.4 percent boost from the 3,267 cabs turned out during 1958.
Founded in 1959, International Controls Corporation is the holding company of Checker Motors Corp. and Great Dane Trailers Inc.
When Checker Motors was purchased by International Controls, the Chicago-based Checker Taxi operation was sold off.
In 1963, Chicago Yellow Cab was merged into Checker Motors Corporation, and Yellow Cab Company became a wholly owned subsidiary of Checker Motors.
1963 - Of the nation’s 135,000 taxicabs, 35,000 are Checkers.
By 1965, ICC was struggling to survive, when a buyer, Robert Vesco, promised to provide a much-needed infusion of cash.
What few assets remained of the Parmelee Transportation Co. were merged into Checker Motors Corp. in May 1969. It subsidiaries at the time included:
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