By Sophia Pearson
William Bryan Jennings, Morgan Stanley’s bond-underwriting chief in the U.S., was charged with a hate crime in the stabbing of a New York City cab driver of Middle Eastern descent over a fare. Mohamed Ammar said the banker attacked him Dec. 22 with a 2½-inch blade and used racial slurs after a 40-mile ride from New York to the banker’s $3.4 million Darien, Connecticut home.
Jennings, who had attended a bank holiday party at a boutique hotel in Manhattan before hailing the cab, refused to pay the $204 fare upon arriving in his driveway, the driver said. When Ammar threatened to call the local police, Jennings said they wouldn’t do anything to help because he pays $10,000 in taxes, according to a report by the Darien police department.
Ammar, a native of Egypt, said he then backed out of the driveway to seek a police officer. The banker called him an expletive and said “I’m going to kill you. You should go back to your country,” according to the report, filed in state court in Stamford. A fight ensued as they drove through Darien, and Jennings, 45, allegedly cut Ammar, 44, police said.
The banker, who eventually fled the cab and turned himself in two weeks later after a vacation in Florida, was charged with second-degree assault, theft of services and intimidation by bias or bigotry. He faces as long as 5 years in prison on the assault charge.
Pen Pendleton, a spokesman for New York-based Morgan Stanley (MS), said yesterday that Jennings, who is free on $9,500 bond and is set for a March 9 court appearance, has been put on leave. The banker has worked at Morgan Stanley during his entire career in the securities industry, starting in 1993, according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
Now co-head of North American fixed-income capital markets, he worked his way up from associate; vice president, and then principal, for debt capital markets; to executive director for investment banking and then managing director for fixed income capital markets. He is a graduate of Williams College and received a master’s in business from Northwestern University.
Ammar, an American citizen who immigrated to the U.S. in 1994, is a resident of the Astoria section of the New York City borough of Queens. He is married and has three children, he said yesterday in a phone interview. Ammar has been driving yellow cabs since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks cut business for a limousine service he had operated starting in 1997, he said.