[UPDATE BELOW] A "highly placed" executive with Morgan Stanley was charged with assault, theft of services and second-degree intimidation based on race or bigotry after allegedly stabbing a cab driver in a dispute of a fare, the Stamford Advocate reports. On Wednesday night a reportedly intoxicated William Bryan Jennings, 47, hailed a cab in Manhattan and instructed the driver to take him to Darien, Connecticut, some 45 miles away. The unidentified driver insists he told Jennings how much it would cost, but when they arrived at his $3.6 million home, Jennings felt the $294 fare was "extortion." He's an investment banker, so we can only assume he knows what he's talking about.
Then things got cra-zay. Jennings offered the hack a "reasonable’’ offer of $160, according to his attorney, Eugene Riccio. But the driver would not listen to reason! Prosecutors say the cabbie refused to let Jennings out of the cab and drove off in search of a policeman. But he didn't get far from Jennings's home before the banker allegedly stabbed him in the hand. "He puts up his hands and gets stabbed in the hand,” Darien Detective Ronald Bussell tells the Post. The driver had to get stitches and pay the full fare to the cab's owner because Jennings "bolted."
Jennings also allegedly shouted racial slurs at the driver, hence the hate crime charge. But remember, there are two sides to every dispute, even if one side sort of sounds like bullshit. "In our view, it was Mr. Jennings who was the subject of an abduction, and should be the victim in this case, not the defendant," Riccio tells the Advocate. "He was the subject of an abduction." According to the lawyer, the driver was running stop signs and red lights, and Jennings, fearing for his safety, took out the folding knife he uses for fishing trips.
Riccio says Jennings held the knife up to show the driver he meant business and ordered him to stop the car. But the driver tried to grab the knife away from Jennings, and that's why he got cut, according to Riccio. Jennings turned himself in to police on Wednesday and later posted a $9,500 bond, the Darien Times reports. Anyway, just another reminder to watch out for bloodthirsty bankers.
Update 1:45 p.m.: Morgan Stanley has placed Jennings on a leave of absence. The Post reports that Jennings, who works as co-head of North American fixed-income capital markets at the investment bank, has been relieved of his duties until this whole mess is resolved (with the inevitable slap on the wrist). Tiny violin manufacturing: America's #1 growth industry!