Morgan Stanley Banker Who Pulled Pen Knife on Cab Driver in Dispute Over Pay

PHOTO: William Jennings enters the courtroom with his attorney at State Superior Court in Stamford, Conn., March 9, 2012.Lindsay Niegelberg/Stamford Advocate/AP Photo
William Jennings enters the courtroom with his attorney at State Superior Court in Stamford, Conn., March 9, 2012.

William Bryan Jennings, the banker whose assault and hate-crime charges over a dispute with a New York cab driver were dropped, was fired by Morgan Stanley and is now reportedly trying to get millions in deferred compensation denied him by his former employer.

The charges that were filed against Jennings after he allegedly pulled a pen knife out of his briefcase over a disagreement with driver Mohamed Ammar about cab fare were dropped in October. However, he was fired about two weeks prior to the ruling for breaching Morgan Stanley's code of conduct, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Jennings and his attorney did not immediately return a request for comment. An unnamed spokesman for Jennings told the Journal: "The issue is not Mr. Jennings' conduct. The issue is Morgan Stanley's conduct. Morgan Stanley knew Mr. Jennings was victimized and still fired him and still kept his money."

A spokeswoman for Morgan Stanley provided a statement:

"While we cannot comment on specific instances or individuals, the claw back provisions in our compensation model allow us to take action where appropriate when an employee engages in conduct that is detrimental to the firm, including conduct that causes damage to the firm's franchise and reputation, or creates a situation in which the Firm suffers losses or is exposed to excessive financial or regulatory risks."

The Wall Street Journal notes that Jennings earned $3 million or more, citing people familiar with the matter, and that Morgan Stanley has refused to give him some of his compensation of as much as $5 million. The payments are the subject of discussions between the firm and Jennings' attorney, the Journal reported.

Meanwhile, Hassan Ahmad, attorney for Ammar, said the taxi driver has retained his law firm to pursue civil charges against Jennings.

The incident began after a Morgan Stanley holiday party in New York City on Dec. 21. Jennings' town-car service didn't show up so he got into a cab for a 40-mile ride home to Darien, Conn., according to court documents.

On arrival, Jennings wanted to negotiate a lower price for the fare and he said Ammar asked for $294. Ammar said he asked for $204.

Ammar locked the doors and said he wanted the police to settle the dispute whereas Jennings thought he was being abducted because Ammar ran stop signs and said they were returning to New York, according to police reports.

Jennings pulled out his pen knife and the men brawled in the cab about a mile from Jennings' home. Jennings ran home but later came forward after news reports were published about the incident. He was arrested on Feb. 29 and charged with second-degree assault.

Ammar's right hand was cut and required six stitches.

The charges were dropped after the driver reportedly held onto the pen knife police had sought as evidence for several months, the newspaper reported.