A year ago this Friday, a Morgan Stanley banker named William Bryan Jennings attended a couple holiday parties, drank a few Coors Lights, and around 10:30PM hailed a cab and asked the driver, Helmy Ammar, to take him home to Connecticut. On the way, a hungry WBJ requested they stop at G&G Deli off 10th Avenue, where he bought “a 20 oz. bottle of Aquafina water, a sandwich and some Burger King cheesy fries.” As the cab entered approached Jennings’ hometown of Darien, a dispute reportedly broke out as to what the fare for the ride would be. Ammar claims that they’d agreed on $204 before leaving Manhattan, but once in Connecticut, Jennings said he’d only pay $50. Jennings claims that Ammar jacked the price up to $300 and was unhappy when the banker offered $160. Another matter of he said/he said is whether or not Jennings started shouting racial slurs at Ammar and told him, “I’m going to kill you. You should go back to your country!” (Jennings denies this happened and says that Ammar locked the doors and wouldn’t let him out of the cab.)
The one aspect of the story that is not in dispute is that as tensions flared, WBJ whipped out a pen knife he had in his pocket. For those of you reading from Morgan Stanley, this is where the teachable moments occurs: if you ever find yourself in a situation wherein you’re winding up to stab a cab driver in the hand, stop and ask yourself, “Is this going to look bad in the Post tomorrow morning?” Jennings did not and now this is happening: Read more »
Last night Daily Intel Jessica and I met Lloyd Blankfein’s face. This is how it went down. Please read Act I here.
Scene: The Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Awards. The Pierre Hotel. Night.
Characters: Andrew Ross Sorkin, Lloyd Blankfein, Intel Jessica, Dealbreaker Bess, PR People, Assorted Nerds from the worlds of Media and Finance.
[People cutting into Jess and Bess's Time With Lloyd leave, finally]
Dealbreaker Bess: [Doesn't know what to say so just leads with the truth]: You’re my muse. Lloyd: [Lloyd Smile on]: Oh yeah? Dealbreaker Bess: [Knows she should pump the brakes on this but can't, it's left the station]: Yes– I love writing about you- you inspire me. Lloyd: [Lloyd Grin on full blast]: I bet I could probably do me better than you do me if I tried [Laughs, touches DB BL's arm] No, I’m kidding. Who are your other muses? Dealbreaker Bess: Well I really only have a few, distant to you. Steve Cohen, the hedge fund manager and [racks her brain] this guy…Lenny Dykstra.** Read more »
When big money mangers make decisions that result in clients getting screwed, most people assume said managers don’t really give a rat’s ass. They still have their vaults of hundos to console them, and while they often write letters and release statements saying they’re sorry, that they want to regain investors’ trust, and so on and so forth no on really buys it. No one feels their pain or sees their contrition on a visceral level and I can’t remember the last time I saw one of these guys actually cry. Such is not the case with Larry Fink. This shit keeps him up at night. It makes him shout things like “I never said we’re perfect!” It hurts his mother, and in doing so, it hurts him.
Today, the investors who bought equity in the [Stuyvesant Town] deal have also lost their money, including major BlackRock clients—most notably the $200 billion California Pension and Retirement System (calpers), the nation’s largest pension fund, which effectively lost $500 million. At press time, calpers was weighing whether or not to retain BlackRock as a real-estate adviser.At the mention of these blunders, Fink, who has been sprawled in his chair, suddenly stiffens. His voice takes on a harsh tone that is leavened only by his visible anxiety. “When you manage money, you are going to make mistakes. You are not going to be 100 percent perfect. Our job is to minimize those problems, to cauterize them,” Fink says, his voice rising. “We’re not perfect, and I’ve never said to anyone that we are going to be perfect. Our investors had all the information we did and they did their own due diligence.” He exhales deeply. “Our real-estate division is struggling because of bad performance, and we’re making changes. I don’t care if the whole industry blew up, our job is to do better than the industry, and we didn’t in real estate,” he says. “I am not making excuses. I lose sleep over these problems.” The Stuyvesant Town loss was “an embarrassment,” he says. Then his voice drops to a whisper. “I mean, my mother gets her pension from Calpers.”