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Mayor Bloomberg went on a spitting-mad rant against a city cab-fleet boss who won a court victory over Hizzoner’s planned “Taxi of Tomorrow” — vowing to “destroy your f--king industry” when he leaves office, The Post has learned.
A fuming Bloomberg made the threat against Taxi Club Management CEO Gene Freidman at Madison Square Garden’s private 1879 Club during last Thursday’s Knick playoff game, a witness said yesterday.
“It was like Gene had kidnapped his child. He used the f-word twice,” the witness said.
Freidman confirmed the blow-up to The Post, and said Bloomberg’s tirade included the warning that, “After January, I am going to destroy all you f--king guys.”
That’s bad news for Bloomberg’s political enemies, who could all become targets once the revenge-minded billionaire has nothing but time on his hands.
Freidman approached Bloomberg at the exclusive club a day after a judge ruled that the mayor’s plan to replace the city’s taxi fleet with the Taxi of Tomorrow violated a city code requiring a hybrid-cab option for garage owners.
“I saw Bloomberg and his security there in the club, so I went over and said, ‘Tell me what is going on with the Taxi of Tomorrow?’ ” Freidman, 42, said yesterday.
“He turns to me, and said, ‘Come January 1st, when I am out of office, I am going to destroy your f--king industry.’
“I said, ‘Whoa, Mr. Mayor, calm down! Why can’t I sit down with you and figure out something that works?’ He got back in my face and said, ‘After January, I am going to destroy all you f--king guys,’ ” said Freidman, whose company operates a fleet of 925 yellow cabs.
Freidman said a red-faced Bloomberg’s jaw was clenched.
“He was very angry, very scary, very violent in a non-physical way. He was grinding his teeth, he was spitting, he was red and he was in my face,” the self-styled “King of the Road” claimed.
“The mayor was extremely disrespectful, and not ‘mayorly’ at all. He cursed at me, and when we walked away, I asked a friend who was with me, ‘Did the mayor just threaten me?’
“My friend responded, ‘No, he threatened you twice.’ ”
Bloomberg this morning said he doesn’t recall unleashing that profanity-laced tirade -- or virtually any other details from that night.
“The only thing I remember from that night was the [basketball] court. It was the court in the middle of Madison Square Garden and the Knicks won,” the suddenly memory-challenged mayor said.
“It was a great game … that’s all I remember from that night.”
The witness said Bloomberg was just being a sore loser over state Supreme Court Justice Peter H. Moulton’s ruling.
The Taxi of Tomorrow is a Bloomberg pet project that would have replaced nearly the entire of fleet of yellow cabs with a more spacious model that Nissan won the right to design in an open competition.
The taxi industry, led by Freidman, challenged the overhaul — and Bloomberg seeing his foe at MSG set him off, the witness said.
“Bloomberg thinks that everyone should just follow his decisions,” he said.
Freidman said he tried to placate the mayor by reminding him of a meeting in 2006 when Bloomberg praised him for introducing hybrid fuel and wheelchair-accessible taxis.
But nothing would calm Bloomberg — who at one point looked about for security to toss Freidman from the club.
“This was my club that Bloomberg was a guest in, that I had paid to get in, and he wasn’t getting me kicked out of my own place,” said Freidman.
His lawyers have asked MSG to preserve any surveillance video that may have captured the exchange.
Freidman wondered how the mayor planned to “destroy” his industry.
“I don’t know how he’ll destroy me, whether he’ll start a black-car service that will take people for free,” he said. “Perhaps he’ll put $10 million of his own money to lobby against the taxi industry — that is pretty powerful.”