.

Darien Exec Charged with Assaulting Cabbie

Various accusations are flying around William B. Jennings' arrest on larceny, assault and racial bias charges after a dispute over a cab fare from New York City to Darien.

Editor's note: See the follow-up article: ""

Accusations of committing a "hate crime" and assault with a knife have been made against William Bryan Jennings, a Morgan Stanley executive, after a dispute with a taxi driver over a large cab fare from Manhattan to Jennings' home in Darien.

Jennings, 47, of Knollwood Drive, was arrested on a warrant this week and released on $9,500 bond. Morgan Stanley reportedly suspended him from his job as one of two heads of its North American fixed-income capital markets division.

The cab driver, identified as Mohamed Ammar of Astoria, Queens by the New York Post, received stitches on his hands after struggling with Jennings. His hands required more than 60 stitches, Bloomberg News reported. (Update, 4:29 p.m. Monday: Ammar told police he received six stitches.) Ammar, in an interview with the New York Post, and Jennings' lawyer, Eugene Riccio of Bridgeport, have provided widely differing accounts of the incident—at which only Jennings and Ammar were present.

Darien Police have issued their own description of what happened, relying largely on Ammar's statements and noting that Ammar called police immediately while Jennings didn't.

All agree that there was a dispute over the cab fare once the cab was stopped in Darien, that Ammar then continued driving with Jennings in the car, that Jennings got out a knife, that Ammar was cut with it, and that Jennings got out of the car.

Here are three areas where the accounts differ (for more details, see table, below):

  • "Hate crime"—Ammar told police that Jennings made statements to him (not described in the police department's news release) that later caused police to charge Jennings with "intimidation by bias or bigotry." Jennings' lawyer disputes that. Only Ammar and Jennings were in the car. The allegation has been translated into headlines describing the case as an accusation of a "hate crime."
  • "Abduction"—Riccio has said that after stopping in Darien and getting into a dispute over the fare, Ammar drove away with Jennings in the car. According to the New York Times, Riccio said the car doors were locked and Jennings couldn't get out. According to Bloomberg News, Riccio said the high rate of speed prevented Jennings from getting out of the car, even though a passenger door was open.
  • "Stabbing"—Police and Ammar say Ammar was stabbed. Riccio says Ammar grabbed the knife Jennings was holding.

After local news reports of the incident were published, Jennings contacted police, who applied for an arrest warrant resulting in his arrest earlier this week.

Charged with second-degree assault, theft of Services/sixth-degree larceny and intimidation by bias or bigotry, Jennings is due in state Superior Court in Stamford, according to Darien police.

Tabloid furor

The case has been widely reported in by New York City and financial news organizations, with a New York Post article publishing an exclusive interview with the cabbie and editorializing that Jennings is "in the top 1 percent—of jerks." and "a $2-million-a-year fat cat." The Post characterizes the taxi driver, Mohamed Ammar as "a mild-mannered, hardworking New York City cabby."

The New York Times, which had run an announcement on Jennings' 2001 marriage, published an account Friday that relied heavily on a description of the incident provided by Jennings lawyer, Eugene Riccio, in addition to the Darien Police news release. (The release is attached to this Patch article).

Other news organizations have also reported the story. A Bloomberg News article had further information from the police report, Riccio and Ammar.

Late Friday afternoon, a television truck from the ABC affiliate in New York City was parked on the Post Road near the Darien Sport Shop, where Jennings is said to have left the cab.

Three different accounts in Jennings' arrest

What

Darien

Police

say

What Cabbie

Mohamed

Ammar

says

What

Jenning's

lawyer,

Eugene Riccio

says

Fare

Dispute

"The taxi driver stated that he and the passenger, later identified as William Jennings, had agreed upon the New York City Taxi and Limousine Driver rate of $204.00 prior to leaving Manhattan.  The taxi driver stated that upon reaching Mr. Jennings’ residence he requested the agreed upon fare of $204.00 which Mr. Jennings refused to pay."
Ammar told the New York Post in an exclusive story that he showed Jennings the fare book for $204 when he picked him up in New York. Jennings slept during the trip. Arriving in Darien, Jennings said he wouldn't pay that high a fare, Riccio to New York Times: The cabbie demanded $294, about double what Jennings normally paid.

"Hate crime"

charge

"The Intimidation by Bias or Bigotry charge stems from statements made by Mr. Jennings toward the taxi driver." What Ammar is quoted telling the New York Post:

“I said, ‘You have to pay me. It’s the law,’ ” [...] “He says, ‘What law? You should go back to your own f--king country.’

“I say, ‘This is my f--king country, excuse my language. I’m an American citizen!’”

N.Y. Times: "Mr. Riccio denied that his client had stabbed the cab driver or used racial epithets [...]"

Dow Jones Newswires: "Riccio said [...] Jennings also 'denies that he said any racially offensive statements to the cab driver."

"Abuduction"

accusation

"The taxi driver stated that fearing for his safety he reversed out of the driveway with Mr. Jennings still in the taxi and attempted to call 911 but was unsuccessful due to poor cell service in the area.  The taxi driver stated that he drove in to the center of Darien in the hopes of finding a police officer."

Ammar to N.Y. Post: After pulling into Jennings' driveway, the dispute over the fare started. Ammar told Jennings he would drive into downtown Darien to find the police station. Jennings refused to leave the car and refused to close the car door, so Ammar drove it for some time with Jennings' door open.

In a Bloomberg News interview, Ammar denied trying to take Jennings back to New York: "Why should I take him back to New York, give him a round trip? I just want to get my money, and that's it."

According to N.Y. Times: The cabbie told Jennings he'd drive him back to New York City, and Jennings "couldn’t get the door open," Riccio said. After he pulled out a pen knife and struggled with the cabbie, he was able to get the door open as the taxi approached the entrance to I-95.

According to Bloomberg News: "'He pulled it [the knife] out in an effort to try to get the man to stop,” Riccio said. 'He was in a car that was racing down the road, disobeying traffic signals with the back door open.'”

"Stabbing"

charge

"At approximately midnight on 12/22/11 the Darien Police Department received a 911 call from a male taxi cab driver who reported that he had been stabbed in the hand by a customer he had driven from Manhattan, NY to Darien. [...] The taxi driver stated that as he was driving Mr. Jennings pulled a small pen knife from his coat pocket and began stabbing him through the open partition that divided the front and rear of the taxi’s interior.  The taxi driver attempted to defend himself by using his right hand to block the open partition." Ammar to N.Y. Post: "He leaned forward and yelled, ‘I’m gonna kill you, motherf--ker!”

“I saw his hand balled up into a fist and I thought he was going to punch me,” the cabby said.

“I put my hand out to protect, and that is when I saw the penknife. He went for my neck first but ended up slashing my hand many times as I was fighting him off . . . My hand was bleeding pretty bad”

Riccio to N.Y. Times: After arguing with the cabbie and being told he'd be taken back to New York City, Jennings pulled out a pen knife he uses for fishing. The cabbie grabbed the knife.

Riccio to Dow Jones Newswires: "My client categorically denies that he stabbed this individual."

What Jennings did afterward "At no point did Mr. Jennings attempt to contact the Darien Police Department during the incident.  Mr. Jennings did contact the Darien Police approximately two weeks later." Jennings got out of the car and walked toward a park. Ammar said he didn't try to follow Jennings. Jennings didn't call police immediately because of "fear for his safety and that of his family," Riccio told the N.Y. Times

Police have filed a report in state Superior Court in Stamford. Darien Patch will get the report on Monday.

Who William Bryan Jennings is

A Reuters article describes Jennings as "one of Morgan Stanley's most senior bond-trading executives."

According to a Dow Jones Newswires report in the Wall Street Journal, Jennings and Leo Civitillo together head up the North American fixed-income capital markets division at Morgan Stanley.

Jennings' immediate superior is Raj Dhanda, in charge of Morgan Stanley's global capital markets operation. Dhanda, in turn, reports to Paul Taubman, one of the heads of the company's institutional-securities group.

According to the Dow Jones Newswires, Jennings is a Williams College graduate with an M.B.A. from Northwestern who has worked for Morgan Stanley since 1993.

Clarification, 7:54 p.m., Saturday: In the table, the wording has been changed in the "Abduction" row to emphasize that statements attributed to Riccio that appear to contradict each other have been in reports published by different news organizations.

Editor's note: This article originally was published on Saturday, March 3. The time stamp has been changed for layout purposes on the Home page of Darien Patch.

sebastian dangerfield March 04, 2012 at 04:03 AM
I read "small pen knife". Cabs have plastic dividers? Anyway, where do you see 60 stitches? Small penknife doesn't seem like 60 stitches. I'm thinking both cabbie and Jennings are lying. But very weird statement on why he didn't call police. "out of fear for his family" ? What does that mean? If he called police his family would be in danger? Seriously?
Roosevelt March 04, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Typical Republican, sticking up for the wealthy fat cat over the hard working man of the people (Rush Limbaugh would be proud). Does this make Jennings the darling of the Darien Republican Society?
Teri March 04, 2012 at 07:27 PM
The Queens Cabbie also told the DPD his passenger had dark hair. http://www.darientimes.com/news/darien-features/local-news/5002020-man-stiffs-then-stabs-cab-driver-in-darien-after-ride-from-manhattan.html It is sloppy reporting the Patch reporter didn't get down to the Stamford court house Friday and get a copy of the police report like the Bloomberg reporters did so he could fact check the story before he went to print... given this story tries to highlight different accounts of what happen. The alledged racial slurs are a he said he said situation- I'd be interested in how the DPD came with enough evidence to get the 'Intimidation by Bias or Bigotry charge'. Are there previous bigotry charges or reports of Jennings speaking this way in the past?
Teri March 04, 2012 at 07:56 PM
This report says cabbie only got 6 stiches http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/03/class-warfare-darien-style-the-cabbie-v-the-morgan-stanley-executive.html
Glen K Dunbar March 04, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Why would a rich guy like that take a common cab home?? Why not the train like normal rich communters OR a real limo service.? Not sure who to believe. The fare should have been set beforehand. When we had that Hurricane end of August (ummm I HATE bad weaterh) I was in Boston w/my daughter. I did not want to wait w/the common people in the train station for days on end. I opted to take a cab home. I found a guy at the train station. He showed me a book w/the fare in it and that is what it was. It was nice to get home while the others were stuck there. I gave him a nice tip too. GLEN
Glen K Dunbar March 04, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Speaking of Rush Limbaugh. I am surprised that He said that mean thing to the Girl. I always thought He was for the little guy. I totally disagree w/him on that point. Though, I still respect him. He and Al Sharpton are 2 people I would LOVE to meet. As for what Rush said?? I think the Girl is right. Insurance Companies and the Govt SHOULD pay for ALL medical things. GLEN
sebastian dangerfield March 04, 2012 at 11:31 PM
roosevelt? Who is sticking up for Jennings? Is this a typical response where the rich guy is always wrong, without even reading? I dont see anyone sticking up for jennings.....but maybe you could enlighten us...or correct yourself, like honorable people do??
Shredder March 05, 2012 at 02:15 AM
No need to capitalize the first letter of pronouns or all of the letters in your name.
Shredder March 05, 2012 at 02:18 AM
That's a very interesting question and totally valid concern. I was also really glad to hear about how you didn't wait with the commoners in Boston and your disdain for bad weather. Also, I found it a nice addition to your story that you gave the cab driver (who is probably a commoner himself) a nice tip. What I don't understand is why it was nice to be home while the others were stuck there?
Shredder March 05, 2012 at 02:23 AM
I liked that you made the character (Jennings) hard of hearing in your story. That was a nice touch. What I'm confused about is why, after he talked directly to the judge and said something that was totally unrelated about being a restaurant patron, should he hire a new lawyer?
Concerned Citizen March 05, 2012 at 11:41 AM
More research and careful reading need to be done by all on this blog. First, the cabbie only received 6 stitches, not 60. Read the police report for that as it is a public document. Second, Jennings was asked to pay $294 dollars, which is at least twice the normal cost of that trip (read: driver pulled up to a nice house and got more creative ideas about cost...). Third, Jennings was held against his will as the cabbie left Jennings' own driveway (no expert on law here, but I'm pretty sure that's kidnapping or unlawful restraint or something). Finally, if Jennings wanted to stab the driver, how come all he has is a six stitch laceration on his right index finger and palm (and NO stab wounds)?
Shredder March 05, 2012 at 04:08 PM
99% of what? You can't just drop stats like that without qualifying them
sebastian dangerfield March 05, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Dick...if its so simple to become rich, then why dont you do it? Why doesnt everyone do it? Get average grades and just collect cash? Hmmm...i have a feeling that your inability to think intelligently, (like what you just demonstrated) may be what holds you back? Whatdayathink dicknibbler. (Haha funny name...more average or less than average stuff....)
dick nibbler March 05, 2012 at 05:33 PM
I've met dozens of traders and they fall into 2 categories, 1)they went to the right prep school thanks to Daddy's Rolodex and bank account or 2) they played lacrosse and got the gentleman's "C" at a rich kid college. In most businesses you don't get a bonus unless your company meets its goals and is profitable, so how did all these guys get big bonuses in 08 and 09 when the rest of the country was bailing out their banks? And they have the nerve to whine about bonuses that 99% of Americans would be ecstatic to get.
Nance March 05, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Hey Dick - instead of complaining about what other people are getting paid, why don't you go out and get a job? Don't sit there and complain about what other people do for a living, maybe if you worked a bit harder and focused on your job, you could get some of those so called "big bonuses"!
sebastian dangerfield March 06, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Dick You didnt answer the question-- If all you needed to do is get a C --then why dont you get a job at a bank and earn the cash? Answer must be you couldnt even get a C. And, you might want to brush up on Gentleman's C. Not sure it really exists. So, while you have "met' dozens --Im pretty sure they didnt tell you they graduated with a series of Gentleman's C's. But, listen dicknibbler, --if you need to lie about crap, and demonstrate that you know nothing --( hint--the banks owe nothing to the US government--but hey dont let facts get in the way--just listen to the rhetoric and urban myths about gentleman c's and the country bailing out bankers.) I dont like slackers like you. Guys who sit around smoking cigarettes doing squat --thats what i think is the reason why you are poor. Ok? Its the same obnoxious crap that you spew-----make sense?
Tall Tale March 06, 2012 at 08:35 AM
The DPD is working very dicey ground. They have changed their story several times. The fare changed from "over $100" to $203 based on a book amount. But did the cabbie say it? And when. Plus they have the location of both the house and stabbing off Leroy near the train station. And have not satisfactorily accounted for the wild ride kidnapping. Which has a hostage trying to escape. Better not let them burn up their original notes. And hope the defendent takes them all down.
Mr. Spazi March 06, 2012 at 04:05 PM
How much was agreed upon can be easily verified by looking into the meter records, According to law, a flat rate trip fee is suppose to be entered into the meter at the beginning of the trip.
nick March 07, 2012 at 04:47 AM
I used to work at night in Darien...it was common for a wealthy executive to get drunk-bombed in NYC, then take a cab home (if you were rich why walk to Grand Central and wait an hour for a train...and it takes an hour to call and get a private limo to come by your office) upon arrival at their home via taxi...the alcohol would take over and a fight would ensue with the hard-working cabbie over the fare...upon where the DPD would have to intervene. I'm not accusing ANYONE of guilt or innocence -- just telling you what I use to observe!
sebastian dangerfield March 07, 2012 at 06:22 AM
nick Can I ask you why is it --that the people always need to lie, in order to go after the rich? You worked at night? So then you knew what happened in a cab? And you also were aware of the income of passengers? The strange thing in your story is 'they are lucid enough to calculate that they are rich enough not to take a train and wait for an hour. But they are not rich enough to pay for the cab? Strange--why do these rich people ever take the train , nick? Nick , have you ever taken a 9:07 or 9:37 train? How empty is it? Strange, I lived in Darien for 20+ years and have worked in the area day and night since the 70's and never hear of rich people stffing cab drivers. what I do hear these days , is how people sign up anonymously, and then make up crap, in order to differentiate between 'hard working cabbies" and then some rich jerk. Im not saying you are lying nick--just telling you what I observe. But, I would suggest that if you are going to make up stories about how rich people think--then why not make sense. Most of the time, people think that rich people dont care about hiring lawyers at 500 an hour because they are so rich that type of money doesnt matter. But 200 dollars does? And it was common. Sure buddy-- What I would suggest nick, is to ask people who work in the shops in darien, and ask the workers at the bars, restaurants and cabs how often they find themselves arguing with a rich guy who wont pay the bill. Never seen it.
Guido Sanducci March 07, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Jennings told police that, while he had been drinking throughout the afternoon, he wasn’t “highly intoxicated,” according to the police report. The executive said he had hosted the charity auction for Morgan Stanley until 6 p.m. before heading to the bank’s holiday party at the hotel’s rooftop bar. He left the party sometime before 11 p.m. So, he admits that he was not HIGHLY intoxicated, that is indeed encouraging Luca, Takes a real man to drink throughout the afternoon, and then move on to the real event, and party until 11pm.
sebastian dangerfield March 07, 2012 at 07:43 PM
guido -- not entirely sure of your point. I can read the report. I have said 4 times that I am guessing that neither the cab driver, nor jennings is being completely honest. But, people like you--seem to feel that you can draw conclusions on the banker but not the cabbie. If someone makes a negative conclusion about the cabbie-then they are a bigot. If you know this guy jennings-then shed some light. does he often not pay his bills. If you know the cabblie-shed some light--is he as honest as the day is long? Or has a history of overcharging? Otherwise--Im thinking that the police arrested jennings. And your decision to put all 'rich people' into a category is as offensive as someone deciding all immigrants or minorities are dishonest . Limit the scope to this guy --these facts-- If he says he drank but wasnt drunk-- not sure your point. Maybe you, guido drink into oblivion when you start drinking... but that doesnt mean this guy does.
dick nibbler March 07, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Luca, sorry you couldn't hack it as a lawyer in Darien, in most cities lawyers are at the top, but not in the land of Wall Street. I'm curious as to why a lawyer would stick up for these dimbulbs, back when you lived in Darien they weren't as pervasive or overpaid.
sebastian dangerfield March 07, 2012 at 09:26 PM
thanks DICK. Ill take that under advisement. For that matter, I dont think I could be a civil engineer in Darien as well. Just to add to your insight. Or a guitar player either. Nice addition to this thread though. Dick giving out career counseling to the elderly.
sebastian dangerfield March 08, 2012 at 04:53 AM
eagle Whatever--its not spin. I dont think he said he wasnt highly intoxicated. Im sure the cop who wrote the report wrote that. either that or the cop interviewing asked "were you highly intoxicated' and the guy said no. Here is the thing--if he was so messed up--then how did he escape running? Super drunk people have a tough time walking..let alone running. Eagle use your brain and just think a bit. In the NY Post, jennings said he has 2 drinks before heading to the party. In this article, he was drinking throughout the afternoon. I guess both can be correct. In any event, not sure if you have been to a casino.....but they serve you drinks there in order to get you to more easily part with your money. Most people when they are super drunk, spend way too much (whoa I looked at my amex bill after last night--and wow!!! that was crazy!) they dont get in a fights over the bill--they just pay it.
Margot Sullivan March 09, 2012 at 02:20 AM
A reasonable person(cabby) would have called 911 in the Jennings driveway and waited for the police to resolve the situation...we have very good cell coverage on Knollwood Lane. Instead, he choose to fly down mansfield on his way to the hiighway hoping to scare the living daylights out of Bryan Jenning and force him to give up the $300. When Bryan got away, that's when the cabby went to the police.
Margot Sullivan March 09, 2012 at 02:43 AM
That's my theory
sebastian dangerfield March 09, 2012 at 07:02 AM
intersting--a neighbor who lives on the street maintains that there is good cell service. The police report says they doubt jennings version. Did they check a fundamental element of cabby version? that he needed to drive with passenger in tow-instead of calling? If there is good coverage--then that certainly would cast doubt on his claim of trying to contact / get to police. Would add to claim that he was headed back to ny.
dick nibbler March 12, 2012 at 06:24 AM
alleluia! By the way, all of the above are Democrats. Enough of this myth that Wall Street is still Republican.
Concerned Citizen June 05, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Mr. Spazi (several threads above) has said the smartest thing of all. This is all easily proven/verified with a simple request of the meter records. The driver is (by TLC regulations) obligated to code the trip into the meter AND the fare that has been agreed. Given the driver's (and police agreed) claim that he was very focused on this, the fare that they agreed will be in the meter if they agreed one. Curious if the DPD even checked this...

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