Former Morgan Stanley banker could seek millions from ex-employer

There could be millions of dollars in deferred compensation available for William Bryan Jennings, the Darien banker who was accused of stiffing and stabbing a Queens cab driver last year after a ride home from Manhattan went awry.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Jennings was fired from Morgan Stanley in early October, just weeks before his trial commenced in Stamford court. Morgan Stanley officials told WSJ that Jennings breached the firm’s code of conduct by hurting Morgan Stanley’s reputation.

In a phone interview, Jennings confirmed with The Darien Times that the Journal’s article was accurate.

“Morgan Stanley wrongfully withheld a significant amount of deferred compensation from me,” Jennings said.

“Officials at the firm believe it owes him nothing, citing ‘clawback’ provisions that allow the company to withhold or seize pay from employees who hurt Morgan Stanley,” the article stated.

“The issue is not Mr. Jennings’ conduct,” a spokesman for Jennings told WSJ. “The issue is Morgan Stanley’s conduct. Morgan Stanley knew Mr. Jennings was victimized and still fired him and still kept his money.”

People close to Jennings told the news website that Morgan Stanley froze as much as $5 million or more, and that Jennings was earning around $3 million annually as the co-head of fixed income capital markets in North America.

Jennings, however, has yet to file any court claims for his money, according to WSJ. Jennings’ lawyer, Eugene Riccio, told The Times that Jennings was considering issuing a statement on the matter. Jennings later concurred with most of the assertions in the WSJ article.

All charges were dropped against Jennings in October, as the prosecuting attorney said charges should have also been filed against the cab driver, Mohammad Ammar, for abduction. Jennings had cut Ammar’s hand with a pen knife as the two squabbled over the fare, and Ammar had the knife for months after the incident, according to court records.

Stephen Weiss, supervisory assistant state’s attorney who prosecuted the case, said Ammar “didn’t tell anybody he had the knife.”

“We didn’t learn until May he had held evidence for five months,” Weiss said at the hearing. “His explanation for why he did this was no better than Mr. Jennings’” reason for not coming to police soon after the incident happened. For that reason, all charges were dropped.

Originally published in The Darien Times.

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