Class Warfare, Darien Style: The Cabbie v. the Morgan Stanley Executive

Those of you who have any degree of contact with the financial blogosphere no doubt caught the news today that one William Bryan Jennings, the co-head of fixed income for the Americas for Morgan Stanley, was arrested and charged with second-degree assault, theft of services and intimidation by bias or bigotry and released on bail of $9,500. He has been put on leave.

What does not appear to be in dispute is that Jennings took a cab home from a charity event in Manhattan to his home in Darien, CT on December 22. He refused to pay the driver the fare he requested. The driver received a cut in the hand that required stitches from Jenning’s knife in the resulting altercation. The hate crime charges come from the fact that the driver, who is Middle Eastern, also said that Jennings also made racial slurs.

The amusing part of this otherwise sorry tale is reading which news accounts have been influenced by the lawyer for Jennings, Eugene Riccio, versus the police, and there are Rashomon-level differences in key details. Predictably, the New York Times’ DealBook gives the Jennings version 7 1/2 paragraphs versus 1 1/2 for the police (and most of that comes in the form of the summary of the charges). Riccio also gets juicy quotes. Clusterstock also interviewed the attorney, and ran an entire post on it, with the headline: “ATTORNEY: Here’s The Real Story Of That Morgan Stanley Banker Charged With Stabbing A Cabbie–He’s The Victim!

Riccio calls the incident a “criminal abduction” of his client. When the driver brought Jennings home, he says he demanded $294, which Jennings regarded as an extortionate price, well beyond what he was used to paying. He offered $160. The driver, incensed, proceeded to take him back to Manhattan. In the Clusterstock version, Riccio says Jennings was unable to escape because the cab was going too fast and the driver was running stop signs and lights (the Times account has that the driver locked the doors) The Clusterstock account is not at all clear as far as how the knife came into play in Jenning’s version; this is from the Times:

At that point, the driver sped away, with Mr. Jennings still inside, Mr. Riccio said. Mr. Jennings demanded to be let out of the car, then removed the knife from his bag as the driver neared a Connecticut Turnpike on-ramp. Mr. Riccio characterized the knife as a “pen knife” Mr. Jennings “uses for fishing,” and said that after the driver grabbed the knife, Mr. Jennings was able to exit the car and run roughly a mile back to his house.

Now I have to tell you, anyone who rides in New York city cabs will wonder about this scenario. Quite a few cabs have a plastic barrier between the passenger seats for the driver’s safety (they have a small tray for passing money back and forth, and many allow the barrier to be partly opened). So if the cab had a barrier, it is hard to see how the driver got hurt unless he chose to reach his hand in the back seat. And barrier or not, it is also hard to understand how the driver got his hand cut by Jenning’s knife (a point that does not seem to be in dispute) if he is driving pedal to the metal to get on the Connecticut Turnpike to prevent Jenning’s escape.

The Riccio account contains what appears to be some whoppers. Per the Times:

Mr. Jennings did not come forward to police immediately because, Mr. Riccio said, he had “fear for his safety and that of his family.”

Why does this matter? It speaks to the credibility of Jennings. The driver apparently called the Darien police immediately after the fight. It would seem pretty unlikely that a cab driver would even try lodging a complaint in a wealthy suburb, let alone have it taken seriously, unless it had some meat. And it’s implausible that a person in Darien would think that going to the police would put his family in danger.

The other credulity-straining part comes at the very end of the Clusterstock story:

Riccio said Jennings voluntarily came forward, identified himself as the man in the incident, and then cooperated with authorities…

We asked Lt. Ronald Bussell in Darien’s Police Department’s detective division about the incident. Lt. Bussell said Jennings did not come forward until two weeks after it happened.

Now we get to the other side of the account, from the police. They say the fare the cabbie wanted was $204, not $294, and that he said Jennings tried stiffing him. This is from the Wall Street Journal (which also clearly interviewed Riccio and quoted him much more sparingly than the Times or Clusterstock):

Mr. Jennings allegedly refused to pay the fare and cut the driver in the hand with a pen knife, the detective said. The injuries to the driver’s hand required stitches.

The driver called police following the incident, according to [Darien] Detective [Mark] Cappelli, and a warrant was issued for Mr. Jennings’s arrest.

At no point during the dispute did Mr. Jennings attempt to contact the Darien Police, though he contacted them approximately two weeks later, according to a Darien Police Department news release.

It isn’t clear whether Jennings got in touch with the police on his own or as a result of getting a heads up about the warrant.

Now the New York Post is not held in the highest esteem, but it has had some very good leaks on the hedge fund front and has also done some good original reporting in the mortgage space. But the Post says this section is based on 35 pages of records filed with the (note the contrast with the 10:58 AM version):

An allegedly “drunk” high-powered Morgan Stanley investment banker screamed ” I’m going to kill you, you should go back to your own country” before stabbing a terrified New York cab driver after refusing to pay the agreed fare to his Connecticut home, shocking court records obtained by The Post today charge.

“I felt like a I was going to die that night,” the 44-year-old Queens cabbie of Middle Eastern descent told Darien police about the alleged attack by W. Bryan Jennings, a Morgan Stanley bigwig who earns $2 million annually.

“He tried to stab me in the neck,” the cabbie said about the Dec. 22 assault in Darien, which left him with a cut to the hand from Jennings’ penknife after he warded off the blade, according to records.

The cabbie also told cops that Jennings, 45, initially refused to pay anything once they arrived at his Darien home after midnight, then offered him just $50 when the driver told him the fare was $204, as they had agreed on even before leaving Manhattan’s West Side.

When the cabbie drove away from the house to find a cop, Jennings allegedly told him “the cops wouldn’t do anything to him because he pays $10,000 in taxes,” police wrote in an arrest warrant application.

Court records also reveal that Jennings later admitted to cops that “he’d been drinking throughout the day” at a Morgan Stanley charity auction and holiday party at a West Side hotel before getting into the cab “but didn’t feel he was highly intoxicated.”

Only $10,000 a year in taxes in Darien? Reader sanity check please. I know people in Larchmont (admittedly with four acres) who pay more than triple that.

Hah, since I started this post and now, the NY Post account has yet another story on the fracas. It is still cab driver friendly. Instead we have:

But Darien Detective Cmdr. Ronald Bussell said Jennings became enraged and shouted the slurs when the cabby insisted he pay the $203 fare they had agreed on. When Jennings refused, the hack drove to nearby Post Road to find a cop, Bussell said.

“As he’s driving down there, the victim says, the passenger tries to stab him with a knife. He puts up his hands and gets stabbed in the hand,” said Bussell, adding the driver got six stitches.

Jennings then fled from the cab.

“Poor guy,” Bussell said of the driver. “He had to pay the cab fare” to the car’s owner because Jennings bolted.”

Now, even though this is piss poor if the driver’s charges are correct (and the local cops clearly think so), it pales in comparison to the 2010 case in which Morgan Stanley’s Joel Erzinger hit and run of a cycling New York doctor, Steve Milo, and paid his way out of a felony charge. Despite the severity of the injuries Milo received, and Erzinger’s horrific conduct, the DA seemed almost eager to let him off. The contrast in reactions is striking. Jennings may be on the receiving end of long overdue pushback against the rich being given slack when they don’t deserve it.

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  1. psychohistorian

    Is anyone from MF Global in jail yet?

    Rule of law is becoming more clearly aligned with the class structure that people deny controls our society. It was suppose to be blind. Now it is just deaf to the cries of corruption.

    1. YankeeFrank

      In this case, at least, it seems that the police are siding with the peasant. From what I’ve seen, while these psycho douchebags tend to get off free for white collar crimes, when they commit violent acts they tend to get treated just like anybody else. Of course not always, as with the case Yves mentions where the guy paid his way out of a felony; but often enough they do get treated as they deserve. The police are generally able to smell bullshit and this guy’s story reeks, whereas the cabbie’s story sounds much more plausible. What I’m wondering is why there was a warrant for his arrest and two weeks later he still hadn’t been arrested. Perhaps I am wrong here…

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I don’t know where the attorney came from either. My God, he is digging a hole with his mouth. He is clearly just playing back his clients’ story but doesn’t he have the sense to realize it’s lame and say less? If Jennings wants to do damage control, he should hire a pro.

        1. LucyLulu

          It’s his neighbor, that he uses for his estate planning work. He’s reputed to be the best estate lawyer within 50 miles.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Are you kidding me?

            Jennings is more of an idiot than I imagined.

            You’d never use an estate guy for a criminal matter. It would be hard to imagine a worse choice. He doesn’t even know how to hire the right kind of lawyer? How can you get to be senior in a large organization and not have learned the basics in hiring professionals? He is going to be fried if he does not get better representation. Riccio should know that as well.

          2. Yves Smith Post author


            That makes a ton more sense, but his conduct thus far is falling way short of his magazine cover status. I knew an ex-DA from Bridgeport, boy did he have the stories on what went down there. I had the strong impression that a lot of the criminal defense was Mafia related. Wonder if that is still true.

          3. Teri Buhl

            Yves – the Jennings pay about $28k a year in property tax for their 4bd 5bath house at 39 Knollwood Lane according to ctblockshopper. I have wonder if the cabbie is making up that sentence.

            This is a great write up and fun read but any local Fairfield County court or cop reporter knows the DPD also uses ‘creative writing’ when they pull together their police reports to get a judge to sign a warrent. Just interview a local criminal defense lawyer who will tell you the same thing.

            I’m stuck on how the DA plans to prove the racial slurs when this reads like a he-said he-said claim. I bet that charge gets dropped and they go after the assult charge.

            Also if Jennings came to the DPD 2 weeks after the Dec 22nd event and the warrent was issued on Feb 28th that means Jennings went to the DPD on his own without a threat of arrest.

            I hope this case goes to trial also and I’d bet Jennings gets a criminal lawyer to rep him as I’ve never seen a defense lawyer with real criminal trial experience give away so much in press interviews.

      2. CaitlinO

        The Bloomberg version said that Jennings didn’t report to the police for two weeks because he was in Florida on vacation. Upon return he heard from a friend that police were seeking him so turned himself in. Per Yves observation that rider and driver are separated, this version of the story also reports that Jennings was stabbing at Ammar through the small opening in the partition and that Ammar’s hand was cut when he tried to block the knife. He needed more than 60 stitches in his hand:

        1. Dave of Maryland

          The hand is a tightly structured mass of interconnected muscles. Any injury requiring stitches can result in a partial crippling, or worse.

      3. frank c

        The easy solution to the dispute would have been to whip out your cellphone and start the video or snapping pictures. Or in the alternative dial 911.

        It is painfully obvious the head of fixed income made a very poor trade. Potential $2 million loss for a $294.00 short sale.

    2. rd

      Actually, I am very impressed by Mr. Jennings. He did the dirty work of stabbing the cabbie himself. Usually, investment bankers keep their hands clean and let their lawyers do the stabbing (preferably in the back).

      1. Damian

        Morgan Stanley should turn this whole escapade into a net positive to attract new clients and feature the guy in a TV ad:

        “Bank with us or we stab you!”

      2. Mark P.

        Surprised nobody’s linked to this study in the latest CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Institute mag —

        ‘The Financial Psychopath Next Door’
        CFA Magazine
        Sherree DeCovny
        March/April 2012, Vol. 23, No. 2: 34–35

        HUFFINGTON POST’s pop gloss of the study is called ‘One Out Of Every Ten Wall Street Employees Is A Psychopath, Say Researchers’ —

    3. Caliban

      Let this be a lesson not to take hail a cab for ride to Connecticut. Arrange a ride in advance with a reputable limo company. NYC is famous for cabbies trying to gouge an unsuspecting passenger. And it seems the standards for cabbies couldn’t get any lower. I avoid taxis in NYC. The cabbies are pretty much a sorry lot there and everywhere.

      This is not a story of class warfare but a story of another failure of government, of course. There are no standards for cabbies, no way to get rid of the rotten apples. So the rotten apples have taken over.

      1. Chaeronea

        Several of the various accounts related how Jennings was supposed to be picked up by a car service that night, and that this somehow did not happen. I don’t think a cab was his first choice, I’m sure trying to find out why he wasn’t able to use the car service might be an interesting angle.

      2. ????

        maybe you’re not familiar with NYC cabs but $200+ sounds about right for a 40+ mile cab ride.

        Taxis ain’t cheap and black car service can be hard to get on a busy night.

        And even if Jennings works 3000 hours a year, he’s grossing $666 per hour. So this $200 cab right would be equivalent of only 20 minutes of work for him.

        1. another

          “And even if Jennings works 3000 hours a year, he’s grossing $666 per hour.”

          Ah, the wages of the Beast. Sounds about right…

        2. Nathanael

          Indeed, $200 sounds about right; I’ve had to take 40 mile cab rides from urban areas a few times.

          I guess this guy Jennings was so out of touch he didn’t know the going rate.

      3. Bob of Newton

        I drove a cab in NYC many years ago. When did you last do that type of work? The cabbie is trying to make a living and all you can do is bad-mouth him? Please offer more substantive evidence to support your allegation.

      4. Dave of Maryland

        A hired limo would likely have been more. On the other hand, a limo’s dispatch will probably insist on plastic in advance. Was the reason for a taxi, and then the fight, because the rider was too drunk to find his wallet?

      5. Former NYC Cabdriver

        Hey Caliban,

        I am white, college educated and owned several medallions in NYC. The reason the drivers are bad is becuase of the city agency (TLC) that regulates drivers and taxis. They harass, cheat and voilate the civil rights of drivers and owners in their effort to raise revenues and justify their salaries and pensions. I sold my medallions after being fined, harassed and shaken down for bribes from officials of this very agency. A driver has NO rights and the TLC abuses people with the least means of defending themselves. You have no one else to thank except the people YOU elected to office. I left NYC and never felt better. My current home has no sales tax, income tax, sealbelt laws, helmet laws, gun control, is a right to work state (no unions), and a government that is somewhat responsive to the voters. Ride the bus or the subway and enjoy the aroma of your lovely town. I do miss Chinese food but Boston is only an hour away.

      6. ebear

        >>There are no standards for cabbies, no way to get rid of the rotten apples. So the rotten apples have taken over.<<

        BWAHAHAHA!! Poetic justice of the first order!

      7. Jack M.Hoff

        HA Caliban, what are you all about? A little prick that was born with a silver spoon in your mouth? I notice how quick you are to portray the poor banker as being gouged. LMFAO. How damn dumb can you be? Do tell me, how much gouging has that banker been doing? And I don’t mean with a pen knife either. You really do think the POS is worth 2 million a year, but the cabbie isn’t worth $10 an hour, right?

      8. Zach Pruckowski

        Don’t forget that when you’re paying for someone to drive you 40+ miles across state lines late at night, you’re paying not just for the drive out there, but also for the drive back, since there’s no way they’re picking up a fare going from suburbia to NYC at that hour.

      9. jerrydenim

        You obviously know very little about New York City and cabs. It costs $75 to take a twenty-odd minute cab ride from Penn Station (right beside the Lincoln tunnel) to Newark Airport and you think a $204 is way out of line for a ride from downtown to Connecticut?

        Every New Yorker has to deal with the occasional surly, rude or dishonest cab driver once in a while but the rest of us non-criminal types refrain from STABBING THEM for Christ’s sake.

        I think the lesson here is not to be a homicidal knife wielding dickhead and maybe negotiate out of state cab fares up front.

  2. williambanzai7

    There is no shortage of psychopaths and assholes on the Street. If you’ve been there, you know it.

    1. Praedor

      You would find that a high percentage of Wall Streeters are clinically sociopaths. That environment and “ethic” (COUGH!) self-selects for sociopaths and, even worse, narcissists. To cut down on the harm they can do, the size of the financial sector needs to be very VERY tightly reigned into what it was in the 60s. Mitigate by minimizing, it is the only way to save society, the economy, and REAL people.

        1. Suck It Up

          Oh come on, the previous comment didn’t mean everyone in Manhattan is a greedy sociopath, even disregarding their dangerous delusional sense of their own importance.
          If the previous poster suggested that the cabby should have stabbed the greedy banker in the side of the head, and then, “mob style”,driven his sedan back and forth over the lifeless body, I could see accusations of poor taste, advocacy of violence, criminal malice, and so on. Crushing people with debt, supporting violence here and abroad – these are the types of things Morgan Stanley is best known for. Their gleeming corporate towers, viciously undermining Democracy, and a worthless degenerative press that dutifully sensationalizes the trivial adventures of a wayward asshole.

    2. Damian

      NYU psychology department has an ongoing study on whether psychopaths are fundamentally genetically or environmentally created in the financial industry – that is does excessive compensation create the condition / problem or attracts this class of people?

      american psycho sequel

      1. LucyLulu

        It has long been asserted in psychiatric circles that sociopaths/psychopaths are significantly over-represented at high levels in corporate structures and politics. The theory is that their lack of conscience/guilt allows them to freely climb all over other people and resort to underhanded methods, thus conferring an advantage over competition in the rise to the top. I’m firmly convinced that Obama is a narcissist which is a kissing cousin.

        1. tech98

          Most successful politicians have narcissism to one degree or another.
          Bush was a narcissist and a sociopath, Cheney a sociopath bordering on psychopath.

  3. Jim Haygood

    With the typical charge inflation that goes on, being locked in a car and taken somewhere against one’s will could be characterized as the federal crime of kidnapping. It’s understandable that a cabbie might resort to such a measure to prevent being beat out of a fare. But it’s a legal vulnerability on his part.

    Even if the claim that a drunken Jennings insulted the cabbie based on his national origin is true, insulting someone is now a ‘hate crime,’ unless one’s barbs are carefully framed in PC terms? Evidently Jennings could have snarled, ‘I banged your mother in a flea-ridden whorehouse’ without consequence, but saying ‘you should go back to the country you came from’ is a Connecticut misdemeanor and charge enhancement. How utterly alien American culture has become …

    Didn’t William Bryan Jennings run for president in 1896? He’s obviously too elderly by now to hurt anybody.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      That’s Jennings’ claim. The cabbie says they fought at Jennings’ house and he was driving to the police station to get them to settle it. I think that muddies the picture. I believe a storekeeper can try to detain someone for non-payment, but I have no idea how far the law allows you to go in trying to stop their departure. Not sure how that applied to cabbies (and you have a jurisdictional issue too: do NYC rules apply or CT? The hate crime charge is apparently a NY charge). I sincerely doubt the bad name calling alone is a hate crime, it is that he was stupid enough to engage in hate speech while apparently assaulting the driver.

      And as I noted, it is just about impossible to square a HAND injury with a story of cabbie driving at breakneck speed for the turnpike and Jennings somehow escaping, which is his version. Maybe a neck or shoulder or upper back injury if there was no barrier or Jennings managed to force it open. But the hands are one of the least accessible places in this scenario.

      I hope this goes to trial. Testimony would shed a lot of light on what happened.

      The original dude was William Jennings Bryan.

      1. vlade

        Indeed, hand/forearm injuries are typical for a person defending themselves from a FRONTAL knife attack. Hard to imagine that in a moving taxi.

        1. PL

          Jennings’ story is less credible than the Cabbie’s when you consider who called the police first. The Cabbie called the police twice during the altercation. Jennings went on the lam (impromptu Florida vacation)and contacted the police only after a warrant was issued for his arrest. I don’t believe the Cabbie would have called the police, in Darien no less, unless he was the victim. On the other hand, Jennings would have no hesitation calling the police in his hometown if he were the victim. Jennings’ version strikes me as a complete fabrication. A jury will see right through Jennings’ self-defense claim.

        2. Praedor

          Weeeeellll, the cabbie IS of “Middle East” extraction and we already know that they are just not quite human. Being not quite human, they can do things that a normal human cannot, like sit in the front seat of a cab with both feet on the pedals and butt on the seat while they twist their upper torso around almost 180, and manhandle whatever is behind the seat. They don’t like to advertise these abilities as they don’t want to scare the humans they have to live with.

          1. vlade

            Yes, all that, while “[impossible]… a HAND injury with a story of cabbie driving at breakneck speed for the turnpike”.

            In other words, please engage the grey and white stuff at the upper part of your body.

            Injuries indicate frontal knife attack. That means cabbie facing the passenger. That very likely means stopped cab, unless the cab is so easy to drive (admitedly, Clarkson managed to drive while sewing buttons and May while being in a sleeping bag, so who knows…).

            Thus about the only physical evidence support cabbie’s story, not the passengers. What’s your problem?

      2. Former NYC Cabdriver

        Since the passenger was white and going to Darien the cabbie probably opened the partition. Most of the black drivers I worked with had a saying: “I don’t haul no charcoal.”
        The hand injuries are typical of defending yourself with the guy reaching through the partition. After 5 years’ behind the wheel, I can say without hesitation the cab driver’s story jives.

        1. PL

          Whar does that mean, Anonymous? That someone who worked as a cab driver isn’t classy? Someone who sneers at others, no matter what their occupation, is coarse by definition.

  4. Conscience of a Conservative

    Connecticut is home to a great many millionaires precisely because of the low taxes. It’s no secret that this is why it gets the hedge funds. Without that many more would be in NYC.

    I prefer to wait for the case to be adjudicated before passing final judgment as Business Insider and The Post, etc are not of the best standards, but one thing strikes me, that the passenger was apparently inebriated after attending a dinner. Wall Street guys are famous for getting sloshed on over-priced California Cabernets every chance they get(not all , but far too many to be a few). And if the charges are true, perhaps he was ticked off by his capped $100,000 cash bonus.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I assume he was referring to property taxes, not state income taxes (which is why people live in CT), which would not cut any ice locally. But you could be right.

    2. LucyLulu

      He probably has no clue how much he pays in property taxes, which I think is what he was referring to. Either he has an assistant make out checks for his signature or his wife takes care of paying bills. Fixed expenses of those magnitude, that are mandatory, don’t appear on his radar. Paying one’s cab fare, on the other hand, isn’t considered mandatory.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        LL, It’s a time-honored tradition: Royalty carries no cash. We must be honored to serve them for nothing, thrilled to bask in their glory.

  5. Conscience of a Conservative

    Just because the guy is charged, doesn’t mean he’s guilty. It just means there’s more than enough evidence to bring him to trial. He wasn’t charged, because of the alleged slurs, but because of the wound the driver suffered, the ethnic slurs, just change the nature of the charges and provide for more leverage. If the only charge was racial slur and not knife attack, no charges would have been brought.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      But he could be guilty and get off if the attorney can coach Jennings into being plausible enough and if he didn’t make a hopelessly compromising admission when the police first interviewed him.

      This case is almost entirely he said, she said. So a lot will depend on those initial conversations with the police and the nature of the hand injury.

      1. Conscience of a Conservative

        Susan, I was a juror on a caseh with “some” similarities. If he’s found innocent he’s innocent and vice versa. That’s the presumption under the law. I’m reminded of the Dominique Strauss Kahn charges, in which he was basically charged and convicted by the media even though as we see now he was innocent of the accusation.

        1. Ted Stein

          > I’m reminded of the Dominique Strauss Kahn charges, in which he was basically charged and convicted by the media even though as we see now he was innocent of the accusation.

          Errr …. No.

          We do not know that DSK is innocent. We know that his accuser wasn’t the most trustworthy of witnesses, but it still seems probable — more likely than not — that he raped her.

          1. Doug Terpstra

            I immediately thought about DSK when I read this, and I’d be shocked if it actually goes to trial. If they can’t buy the cabbie off, Jennings’ shysters will undoubtedly dig up enough dirt to have the poor guy declared a terrorist and deported or Gitmo’d.

            I’d like to see Jennings get some real Taxi Driver justice. These one-percent sociopaths are entirely above the laws that apply to only to commoners … at least for the time being.

          2. CaitlinO

            This names the hotel:

            “In a telephone interview, Ammar said that, when he first quoted a price for the ride outside the Ink48 hotel, located on 11th Avenue in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, Jennings said it was “no problem.” ”

            Can anyone explain to a simple Texan what a “boutique” hotel is?

          3. Nathanael

            A “boutique” hotel is one which doesn’t try to be like a chain, and instead advertises the ways in which it is NOT like a standard hotel. Sort of trying to give the B&B atmosphere to a hotel.

            Most hotels, chain or not, try to be absolutely identical to every other chain hotel, because their biggest markets, busy businessmen and distracted tourists, find it comfortable to have practically identical rooms whereever they go. A “boutique” hotel tries to do the opposite.

    2. Praedor

      Erm no. If he is a 1%er then s/he IS guilty of whatever crime they are accused of (and MANY WORSE crimes that are constantly swept under the rug). To be a 1%er is to be the worst, most callous, inhumane, inhuman, useless, abject criminal it is possible to be.

  6. craazyman

    this sounds like an Occupy Wall Street plot.

    Weren’t Jennings and the taxi driver seen together at Zucotti Park last month exchanging high fives? I heard that somewhere. I think.

    Is David Graeber behind this somehow?

    This was on the NY Post front page this morning when I went to get my coffee and 2 pancakes with 1 egg for $3.99 (with coffee included).

    No more dirty hippies. Now it’s a dirty bankster in the New York Post of all places!!!

    Cui bono?

  7. Jim3981

    It’s a big help to have a biased newspaper on one’s side. That’s enough to make him guilty right there(in my book).

    I’m disgusted with the way the media runs the country, manipulates elections, fools the public in to supporting wars, and …..etc etc etc

    1. PL

      It’s William Byran Jennings, slightly different but the allusion is clear. I was thinking the same thing.

        1. aletheia33

          this jennings could well be a descendant or distant relative of the original american hero.

          1. LeonovaBalletRusse

            a, true, they always keep the “family names” going in whatever way they can, as a message to their fellow insiders. Tom Wolfe has made a mockery of this.

  8. Martskers

    This is eerily similar to the scenario in “Bonfire
    of the Vanities” (one of the best novels ever).

    I’m surprised more cabs aren’t equipped with dash
    cams, facing in instead of out. I know they’re
    expensive, but they’d go a long way towards
    protecting cabbies from crime, and from lowlifes
    like this bond daddy.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        scraping_by, it’s an issue if the guy with his honey boozed up in the back seat are not exhibitionists.

    1. CaitlinO

      According to the Bloomberg version, Jennings’ identification was aided by camera evidence. He had the cabbie stop at a deli on the way out of New York and the deli had a security camera.

    1. PL

      The cabbie may file a civil suit for battery against Jennings seeking money damages in addition to the DA filing a criminal case seeking imprisonment. If the cabbie’s version is found credible, Jennings deserves jail time and a monetary judgment against him.

      1. scraping_by

        Though, if it’s like Michael Jackson’s pedophile victim, if he files before the criminal case and settles big, we can all say “ah-HA.”

        I’m sure he’s getting money waved under his nose right now. Just, I hope he holds out for seven to eight figures.

  9. Conscience of a Conservative

    There’s another element to this story. That the head trader of a major investment bank showed such rotten judgment by not paying the fare and then contacting the appropriate people to dispute the fare. If this is any glimpse into his judgment it’s no reason Morgan Stanley allows such geniuses as Howie Hubler to create such havoc with shareholder and tax payer money.

    1. CaitlinO

      At least MS seems to have put Jennings on leave. Maybe they recognize how bad this looks.

      1. Conscience of a Conservative

        They had to,therwise it looks like they don’t take hate crimes seriously. Keeping him on until this is settled might suggest that Morgan Stanley doesn’t take these issues seriously or condones them.

    2. Damian

      “not paying the fare” is considered Good Judgment at MS – misreprenting the bonds is standard practice and grounds for a promotion – all makes sense and is consistent behavior

      1. Conscience of a Conservative

        umm yea… they did the same thing back in 2007

        Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) — Morgan Stanley, the securities firm that spent more than $8 billion on commercial property in 2007, plans to relinquish five San Francisco office buildings to its lender two years after purchasing them from Blackstone Group LP near the top of the market.

        “This isn’t a default or foreclosure situation,” Barnes said. “We are going to give them the properties to get out of the loan obligation.”

        1. CaitlinO

          Another jingle mail, strategic default, whatever by a corporation that will be portrayed as just good business sense.

          As opposed to a strategic default by a family which is portrayed as an attempt by a parasitic deadbeat to game the system and dump their obligations on thee and me.

    3. BondsOfSteel

      Can you pay a fare with a credit card in NYC? (You can in Seattle.) That would have been the correct thing to do.

      Resorting to violence… stabbing someone.. especially someone unarmed… not good judgement.

  10. Tom

    $9,500 bail for stabbing someone and hate crimes! I wonder what the bail would have been if the cabbie had stabbed the banker?

    Lots of numbers seem off in these accounts. Does the co-head of fixed income of a major investment bank really make only $2million a year?

    If the incident happened in December and the banker waited “two weeks” to respond to the Darien police, why are we only hearing about this in March, roughly 11 weeks after the cab ride? He was arrested on Wednesday of this week.

    If $204 is the standard flat fare for New York City cab rides to places like Darien, then that eviscerates much of the banker’s explanation of events, as provided by the bumbling lawyer.

    1. diptherio

      “$9,500 bail for stabbing someone and hate crimes! I wonder what the bail would have been if the cabbie had stabbed the banker?”

      Move the decimal point one place to the right for peasant-bail conversion.

      “Lots of numbers seem off in these accounts. Does the co-head of fixed income of a major investment bank really make only $2million a year?”

      That’s just his base salary, not including bonuses, benefits and perks (like free cab rides) which probably value at least a couple million more.

  11. andrew hartman

    i was never an investment banker, but i spent enough time as a commercial
    banker to observe a lot of big swinging dick business types up close. what
    i learned: they honestly believe they are better and tougher than most, and
    they never admit they are in the wrong. from handshake to good-bye, it’s
    all about getting– as wrestlers say– takedowns, riding time, and pins. and
    what’s more, they simply don’t care what people not like themselves think.

    1. Francois T

      I don’t have a copy of the DSM-IV (“Bible” of psychiatry) on hand but your description smells “sociopath” all over.

      1. Smellslikechapter11

        It is anti social personality disorder in the DSM
        But diagnosis based on a disputed news is a bit presumptuous

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      ah, What’s the title for, if not to show what a Big Tough Takedown Man R Us?

  12. Javagold

    these scumbags are going to push the pendulem too far and its going to snap back and whack them real hard shortly

  13. Francois T

    The Joel Erzinger case was so outrageous that Glenn Greenwald gave it first chapter view in his latest (and highly recommended, albeit depressing, book “With Liberty And Justice For Some

  14. David Fiderer

    Thanks so much for pulling this information together. It’s a real public service.

    Also, it may not have been apparent to someone who never used NYC cabs, but they take credit cards, so at any moment, Jennings could have whipped out his card and said, “OK, I’ll pay you $300,” which is pocket change to him and a big deal to a cabbie.

  15. brian

    from jesse
    a broader subject with application here??

    I had always felt that there was something not right with one of the higher up bosses I had in a major division of a Fortune 100 company. Now there is little doubt in my mind that he was a psychopath.

    He had the verbal acuity to talk his way in and out of almost anything, and was quite proud of it, and of being hard to pin down. And he gathered a subculture around himself, both above and below, of similar personality types and sycophants, with a few captive enablers who were technically very competent. His powerful personal style fatally marked everything.

    I left, not because I could not deal with it, but rather because I saw where this all was heading. The only reason he lasted as long as he did was because the CEO was hands off and weak, and the board was servile and largely clueless. His reputation caught up with him and I heard he did not fare well, and ended up being indicted and went to prison. He ruined the lives of thousands of people. To this day he admits no guilt and no regrets, except in getting caught.

    It should be said here that just because you don’t like or understand your boss does not mean that he or she is a psychopath, or even a bad person. There are places where people who don’t like their bosses meet to discuss it. They are called bars, and they meet there every Friday night.

    I was interested in what the researcher called The Dark Triad of Personality: Machiavellianism, Psychopathy & Narcissism.

    Why is this study of corporate psychopathy more than a morbid concern? Because it drives a spike in the heart of the assumption that on the whole people in business (and politics for that matter) are rational and naturally good, and that this therefore permits us to forge an economic structure based on self-restraint and self-regulation (or little to no regulation at all for that matter), the so called efficient markets hypothesis.

    Anyone who has acted in the real business world knows this is utter nonsense. The unscrupulous can not only act for many years without hindrance, they can often prosper and thrive, and distort whole sections of an economy through preying on the weaknesses of even the most ordinary of men.

    And yet an economic theory based on this assumption of perfect rationality shaped American culture for the past thirty years, from the days of Reagan at least.

  16. Former NYC Cabdriver

    As a former NYC cab driver who is also white and college educated, I can personally attest and confirm that this behavior from passenegers is absolutely true, especially the rich, Wall Street types.
    In response to Caliban’s comments, the TLC goes to great lengths to harass and fine drivers without merit and violate their civil rights. I sold my medallions because of this and laugh every time I hear people complain about the poor quality of driver; NYC passengers get what they deserve because of a publicly commissioned agency run amok.
    Shakedowns, bribes, exhorbitant “transfer” fees, and an absolute lack of respect for pople who work in excess of 14 hours a day, under dangerous and horrible conditions trying pay down their taxi mortgages.
    Two egregious stories will appear in my book with names included. Their behaviou would warrant a normal person being jailed.
    Also, thank you to the invesment banker that sent me back to his office at Goldman to retrieve his briefcase and then deliver it to his house in the Hamptons. He didn’t care, the client was stuck with a $300 fare (this was in the 1980’s). You dropped your bag of marijuana and cocaine in the back seat and my nightman was happy for the “tip.”

    1. Lambert Strether

      These guys beat fares all the time:

      Bhairavi Desai is executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, which calls itself the largest taxi driver union in the country. She said the group gets one or two reports of assaults on drivers every week.

      “We know that most of them go unreported both to the police and to us,” she said. “People are silent because it’s almost become a norm as part of this work.”

      Desai said that while group doesn’t see a special pattern of assaults for trips out of town to places like Connecticut, it does see a pattern of fare beating.

      “We do have incidents of people jumping out and running into their homes,” she said in an interview. “The driver is not as familiar with the area. They tend to be very residential areas, they’re not as well lit. There’s not as many people on the streets, not as many police.”

      “Very residential” == wealthy burbs like Darien, CT.

    2. Gil Gamesh

      Right, dude. I hacked in Manhattan in the mid 70s. The worst tippers were the ones living on Park and 5th Aves. Oft times the SOBs would hit up the doorman so the fare (no tip) could be paid.

      The rich hate our guts, people.

  17. Lambert Strether

    From the arrest warrant:

    In the arrest warrant application dated Feb. 26, Perkowski wrote his investigation “discredits Jennings’ statement that Ammar reached into the back of the cab while he was driving.”

    Ammar reaching into the backseat while driving, as Jennings claimed, would have been “virtually impossible,” he wrote, adding that Jennings never attempted to call police in the aftermath of the incident. Jennings was charged Feb. 29.


    The case is State of Connecticut v. Jennings 12-0176761, Superior Court for the State of Connecticut (Stamford).

  18. aletheia33

    here are links to 2 interesting nyc cabbies’ blogs. i’d love to hear these guys’ take on the jennings incident. their blogs give a sense of the territory and what they are up against. it sure ain’t for sissies. i imagine that whether you feel the pay is adequate compensation for the fear and loathing depends on your temperament. and what you’re comparing it to.

  19. DoroFan

    Sometimes a story typifies what’s in the zeitgeist, and this is one. The facts as we know them favor the driver, but even if they didn’t, it’s irresistible. Drunk loutish greedy Wall St type tries to cheat poor immigrant driver, then becomes violent when he doesn’t get his way. Perfect.
    And $200 is pretty reasonable for a fare to Darien, people. Be real.

    1. Gil Gamesh

      Yes, you would think the sophisticates here would get the opportunity costs that factor the charge for a 2-3 hour drive, round trip.

    2. Rotter

      200 is probably cheap.Its at least no more than the common rate. I live about 10 minutes from BWI airport these days. A cab from the Airport to DC, about a 45 minute trip one way, is a flat 250 with the any of the airport taxis. anyone who dosent want to pay that, or who cant (like me) can take a bus or the MARC commuter train, or an Amtrak. The Russian Mob owns the taxi concession at BWI so i would not suggest stiffing one of the drivers, let alone attacking him.

  20. propertius

    It’s interesting to see that the old custom of kirisute gomen is alive and well, albeit far from its native land.

    It’s too bad the driver wasn’t working in a place where he could get a carry permit. Out here in flyover country, attacking a cab driver with a penknife could be a fatal mistake.

  21. Hugh

    In a kleptocracy, you are either one of the looting lords or you are a peasant. Jennings, clearly a lord, was just treating the cabbie like the peasant he was. It is attitudes like these that led to the French Revolution. If this had been done with carriages and canes, the similarity would be perfect.

  22. Gil Gamesh

    What? Stabbing a cab driver is against the law in Connecticut? How…..quaint. Surely, pleading “Muslim” is a complete affirmative defense.

    This country will not regain its greatness until and unless our landed gentry, rich Americans, who after all create all the jobs, pay all the taxes, and keep socialists at bay, lest they take away our freedoms,are privileged to kill their slaves, indentured servants, employees and hires, at their whim.

  23. Charles Lemos

    Pretty silly. You generally get vouchers or you simply expense it. Poor judgment and hopefully Mr Bryan will get his comeuppance.

  24. Rotter

    “It isn’t clear whether Jennings got in touch with the police on his own or as a result of getting a heads up about the warrant”

    After 2 weeks? There was an arrest warrant? He contacted the police only to make arrangements to be arested, and booked with his lawyer present,and to find out how much the pre-set bail was, so he could leave within a couple of hours. Thats the only reason he contacted police.

  25. Me

    This reminds me of a joke:

    The traffic cop arrives to the scene of a car crash. There is a car stopped just before the traffic lights; its driver a non-white guy.

    The other car, driven by a Caucasian man, was mounted on the back of the first car, long skid marks drawn on the floor.

    After observing the situation the Caucasian cop asks the non-white driver: “How fast were you when reversing?”

  26. TommieT

    Why did the cabbie kidnap the banker? Why couldn’t the cabbie just let the banker out of the cab. The only reason the banker even cut the cabbie was because the cabbie would not set him free.

  27. Klassy!

    Surely with a name like that his parents did not wish him to become a banker (or they just really enjoy irony)?.

  28. Ed Rinona

    It turns out that Eugene Riccio, the Morgan Stanley guy’s criminal defense attorney who is being mocked for having come up with such a lame narrative for justifying his client’s stabbing the cabbie on the I-95 on-ramp in Darien, was the attorney for Bob Tate, cheerful father figure and multi-decades serial child molester at Christ Church Greenwich in Greenwich CT.

    I think the mockery of Riccio is likely misplaced.

    Because even though the MS guy’s story sounds ludicrous to those of us unfamiliar with the inner workings of the criminal justice system, Riccio clearly had the mojo to secure the rapacious and unrepentant pedophile Bob Tate a conviction on only one felony count of possession of child pornography in spite of his having finally admitted to 10+ counts of statutory rape on the high-WASP enclave of the CCG campus in Greenwich and 50+ more counts in NYC, Amsterdam, and Thailand.

    I think we could all agree that that was pretty impressive work by Riccio in sparing a hardened predator of the innocent from simple justice. I think Riccio is probably exactly the right guy for an arrogant and abusive plutocrat to go to deprive some cabbie for redress against a 60-stitch assault by an over-stuffed bully.

    [Disclosure: I was a fixed-income guy for years at a firm with a lot bigger balls and balance sheet than Morgan Stanley had a the time . Usually you can smell the bond bullies a mile away. I don’t know this MS guy from Adam, but there seems to be a real stench in the air coming from this one.]

  29. Taxi Rider? - no way

    I don’t ride in taxis that often. Almost never – except sometimes from the airport. Yet out of the few times that I have taken these longer rides, one time I had a taxi driver try to gouge me, and then threaten me when I started writing down his id number.

    Rich, drunk guy in your cab, going long distance, off the meter? What are the odds the cab driver tried to rip him off? Unless the passenger has some history of violence, anyone believe he pulled out a pen knife for no reason, or because of an extra $100? Isn’t being kidnapped a good reason?

    A progressive would find the idiotic pontification on this webpage disheartening. Stick to financial fraud – not bogus character assasination based on class. Ms. Smith increasingly sounds ignorant everywhere outside a narrow area of expertise. It takes forensic expertise and legal judgment to draw conclusions concerning this sort of situation. There are more scam artists than are dreamt of in your philosophy. If you engage in two bit analysis here, how many other biased shortcuts have been used to support arguments?

  30. business

    Hi I totally enjoyed reading your post. I’m thinking about writing my own blog very soon Cheers.

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