Chicago Lyft Driver Deactivated After Terrorism Ties Discovered
"This is so concerning and it is utterly and completely unacceptable," said the city's business affairs office.
Raja L. Khan, 64, reportedly spent seven and a half years in prison for attempting to send money to an Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist and being caught discussing "planting bombs at a US stadium." He was federally convicted of terrorism aide and is now on lifetime supervised parole.
Khan, a 30-year Chicago taxicab veteran, unsurprisingly faced trouble finding work after being released, being rejected from various taxicab companies, in addition to Uber. Lyft, however, somehow missed the federal conviction in Khan's third-party-conducted, criminal background check. Khan was able to drive for Lyft on Chicago streets for five months before being deactivated.
"This is so concerning and it is utterly and completely unacceptable. The city will not stand for this," said Rosa Escareno from Chicago's Business Affairs Office.
The ride-sharing company responded to WGN9 in a statement, "The safety of the Lyft community is our top priority. We immediately deactivated the driver in question when we became aware of this situation. Our independent background check provider should not have approved the driver, and this is unacceptable. We believe this is an isolated incident, and are re-running background checks for Chicago drivers. We will also voluntarily allow the City of Chicago to audit our background checks on an ongoing basis at Lyft’s expense. We are working closely with City officials."
When the news outlet reached out to Khan, he said, "They should check my background before they give me the job. That's their problem, not my problem. I don't want to go on welfare. I'm a hard worker. I want to earn my money and feed my family."
The City of Chicago has now fined the ride-sharing company up to $2 million, issuing a total of 238 citations—two for each and every day Khan drove for Lyft. Khan says he will now take a crack at getting his chauffeur's license.