I’ve debated talking about this news item for a few days; it’s the kind of thing I don’t want to feature much (if at all) any more ... yet the story is so outrageous that I cannot get it out of my head. The seductive allure of power in the financial sector and the short–sighted hubris of local politics combine, to appalling effect.
Alleged hit-and-run driver may not face felony is the headline of the news article from Eagle County, CO, but it barely scratches the surface of the outrage. Some bits from the article:
A financial manager for wealthy clients will not face felony charges for a hit-and-run because it could jeopardize his job, prosecutors said Thursday.
Martin Joel Erzinger, 52, faces two misdemeanor traffic charges stemming from a July 3 incident when he allegedly hit bicyclist Dr. Steven Milo from behind then sped away, according to court documents. ....
Milo suffered spinal cord injuries, bleeding from his brain and damage to his knee and scapula, according to court documents. Over the past six weeks he has suffered “disabling” spinal headaches and faces multiple surgeries for a herniated disc and plastic surgery to fix the scars he suffered in the accident. ....
Erzinger, an Arrowhead homeowner, is a director in private wealth management at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Denver. His biography on Worth.com states that Erzinger is “dedicated to ultra high net worth individuals, their families and foundations.”
The article is well worth reading in its entirety, if only for the brazen efforts of the district attorney to protect this bankster dude from the consequences of his actions. You see, if Erzinger is charged with a felony, that would have to be publicly disclosed—and that probably wouldn’t be very good for his business.
Yet whose work is truly more valuable? You may have noticed that the man Erzinger hit with his car was identified in the excerpt above as being a physician. Dr. Milo is a liver transplant surgeon in New York City. Stereotypes of NYC denizens abound, and aren’t generally positive, and I’ve certainly been quite vocal about my suspicion of allopathic medicine lately; but even so, which of these two men is offering true value to his community—and beyond? I don’t think there’s much of a contest there. It’s revolting that the Eagle County justice system is showing its “just us” bias so brazenly. Via the comment thread on the article, I discovered another article focusing mostly on the outrage and expanding attention the story is receiving.
To me, the situation is emblematic of how sick much of American culture has become—especially in creating a cult of celebrity around financial advisors/bankers, whose so–called expertise is being revealed to be a sham, largely based on fraud and regulators’ willingness to turn a blind eye to the shenanigans. Much as I enjoy our current situation, it’s stories like this that keep me seriously considering expat options.