Prosecutor: Is Uber Operating Illegally In Jefferson Parish?

GRETNA, LA (AP) — Jefferson Parish Attorney Deborah Foshee says she's looking into whether the ride-hailing service Uber is operating illegally in the New Orleans suburb.

         The San Francisco-based company said it is now operating in Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes.

         Foshee emailed council members Saturday, saying Uber Technologies Inc. lacks licensing, certificates and authority to operate in Jefferson Parish, The New Orleans Advocate’s Ramon Antonio Vargas reported.

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         Council members and Parish President John Young's administration "have gone to great length to facilitate Uber's legal entry into the market," Foshee wrote. "Any attempt to enter the market in violation of current law would subject Uber to a cease and desist order.

         "Continued violation would subject Uber to potential civil and criminal prosecution, daily fines and banning of future operations in unincorporated Jefferson Parish."

         Uber said Jefferson Parish does not have any regulations that specifically deal with its business, ' The Times-Picayune’s Drew Broach reported.

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         "However, we are encouraged by constructive conversations we've had previously with parish officials about developing a sensible, modern regulatory framework. … St. Tammany Parish officials have already indicated they welcome our expansion, and the increased economic opportunity and access to safe, reliable transportation it brings to their constituents," the company said in a statement.

         Company spokesman Bill Gibbons said Uber wants to ensure people have safe, affordable transportation over the Fourth of July weekend. He says it began service Friday in Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes.

         New Orleans' City Council opened the doors in April to Uber, Lyft and similar companies linking riders with drivers in private vehicles through mobile technology. But in the same month, the Jefferson Parish Council killed a proposal to authorize and regulate the operations of such companies.

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