Why Martin Erzinger’s victim doesn’t need his money

By Felix Salmon
December 22, 2010
Martin Erzinger, the Morgan Stanley broker who bought his way out of a felony charge?

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Remember Martin Erzinger, the Morgan Stanley broker who bought his way out of a felony charge? He’s been sentenced now—a year’s probation, and 45 days of charity work. (Some people do that kind of thing voluntarily, and don’t consider it a punishment at all.) And Al Lewis has a magnificent column on the case, which uncovers an interesting twist: Erzinger’s victim, Steven Milo, is the son-in-law of Tom Marsico. Yes, that Tom Marsico, the one with $55 billion in assets under management.

Mutual fund magnate Tom Marsico was at the Vail Valley Medical Center on July 3, tending to his son-in-law, Dr. Steven Milo, who’d been hit by a black, 2010 Mercedes while bicycling…

Into the ER rolls Martin Erzinger, a wealth adviser who oversees more than $1 billion in accounts at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Denver.

Erzinger says hi to [Marsico's wife] Cydney.

“Marty and I have been acquaintances for some 20 years,” Marsico explained. “I said, ‘Geez, Marty, is there anything I can do for you? He said, ‘Oh, no, I’m just in for some preliminary tests.’”

Erzinger was in and out in 20 minutes, Marsico recounted: “He checked out just fine.” But Marsico’s mind raced. Black Mercedes? Erzinger? “I was putting two and two together and I thought, ‘Oh, God. No. This can’t be.”

The Marsico connection underlines why Milo was naturally more interested in justice than in money, and why it’s unconscionable that DA Mark Hurlbert would ever suggest—as he did, when he dropped the felony charges—that “justice in this case includes restitution and the ability to pay it.”

Milo is going to suffer greatly for the rest of his life as a result of Erzinger’s actions, but Erzinger’s future income isn’t going to help him. Instead, Milo will have to life with the knowledge that his assailant, who left him to die on the side of the road, not only avoided jail, but even blamed “new-car smell” in his attempt to duck responsibility for his actions.

Erzinger should be in jail right now, rather than managing hundreds of millions of dollars of other people’s money. I hope his clients drop him—and that other Morgan Stanley clients, too, move their money elsewhere. Perhaps to Marsico Capital. I can’t see how anybody would want to park their money with a firm which continues to pay Martin Erzinger millions of dollars.


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This whole story sounds as if it would have happened in a third world country. It is surprising that with Tom Marsico being such a powerful guy justice is not swinging in favor of his son-in-law.

Sadly people will continue doing business with Martin, as long as he keeps multiplying their returns, that’s the way Wall Street works.

I apologize if my comment sounds incoherent, the smell of my brand new Mercedez is affecting my thoughts.

Posted by Engels | Report as abusive

Meanwhile you had CNBC running this story on 11/8/10… “Did Cops Target Hit-And-Run Driver Because He Was A Rich Private Wealth Manager?”

“I suspect that if Erzinger hadn’t been a wealthy guy driving a brand new Mercedes Benz he would never have been arrested for the hit and run.”

http://www.cnbc.com/id/40071519/Did_Cops _Target_Hit_And_Run_Driver_Because_He_Wa s_A_Rich_Private_Wealth_Manager

Posted by david3 | Report as abusive

I’ve got to hand it to you Felix… this is one of the most courageous posts I’ve ever read by a mainstream blogger…

…keep it up!

Posted by y2kurtus | Report as abusive

david3, John Carney is a senior editor at CNBC.com, covering Wall Street, hedge funds, financial regulation and other business news. It reeks of pandering to his readers and friends and CNBC should never have run such an anecdotal and poorly written piece of sour grapes.

I added the actual state law involved in your last post for a hit and run so I won’t repeat it here. But I will mention that the judge’s decision, based on “he didn’t mean to hit him” wasn’t part of that law. With this as precedence, “I didn’t mean to” will be used as well as sleep apnea and the new car fumes…

Plus, to allow a sleep apnea defense, the court order should have at the very least included driving with special breathing apparatus designed to stop apnea or lose his licence.

To have allowed the ability to pay as the defense(as he would lose his job if charged with a felony) is ludicrous given the Doctor he hit waived that and requested prosecution over restitution.

PS: I read in several places that the judge instructed Erzinger to report a felony charge to the regulators even though he wasn’t convicted, and he didn’t follow through. Hmmmm

Posted by hsvkitty | Report as abusive

Oops, “your last poast” as in now changing to addressing Felix.

Posted by hsvkitty | Report as abusive

“I hope his clients drop him—and that other Morgan Stanley clients, too, move their money elsewhere.”

Wishful thinking! Will not happen. His clients will move out only if loses their money not if he maims or kills anyone.

What is the moral of the story; “For corporates, Morals don’t count! Can you add to the top line or bottom line .. then you are in .. kill as many as you want as long as you are NOT caught”

Posted by killben | Report as abusive

Diagones search for an “honest man” passed on Martin Erzinger

Diogenes was a Greek philosopher.

He became notorious for his provocative behavior such as carrying a lamp in the daytime looking for an
honest man.

Questions for the reasonable mind

1. Is it reasonable to believe that less than 10 minutes after completing a workout at your club you
would fall asleep in the middle of the afternoon while driving your car?

2. Is it reasonable to believe that you would be suffering from sleep deprivation caused by sleep
apnea to such an extent that this deprivation would cause this mid-afternoon narcolepsy?

3. Is it believable that this malady was not “diagnosed” until a week after the accident?

4. Is it believable that the “diagnosis” itself says “the patient “may have developed sleep apnea around the
time of the accident” ?

5. Is it believable that a qualified doctor would allow the patient to continue driving (thus risking his
own liability and medical license) after such a serious accident?

6. Is it believable that you would remain asleep after hitting a cyclist, leaving the road, driving over
two hundred and sixty feet thru terrain rough enough to tear the bumper off your brand new car?

7. Is it believable that you were (as you testified in court) aware that the car came to rest on a steep
angle and yet still be “dazed or asleep”?

8. Is it believable that upon coming to rest your body would not be hyperaware due to the
over whelming amount of adrenaline coursing thru your veins?

9. Is it believable that upon becoming aware that you had driven off the road over rough terrain in a
brand new $100,000 plus Mercedes Benz, you would not get out of the car to inspect it for damage
prior to driving out of the ditch and onto the road?

10. Is it believable that you would try to reenter the highway without looking behind you for
on coming traffic?

11. Is it believable that such a glance over your shoulder would not reveal the cars stopped across the
highway at the point of your departure from the road and the body of the cyclist you hit lying in
the road less than 90 yards behind you?

12. Is it believable that “an honest man” would not have any concern for damage he might have caused
while “asleep” while driving”?

13. Is it believable that if you were going to call for a tow for your disabled car, that you would not
call while the car was in the ditch, but would drive it out of the ditch,risking further damage and proceed to
drive over three miles to hide behind an abandoned Pizza Hut before calling for a tow?

14. Is it believable that an “honest man” would say he had called police when there is no record of
such a call in the police call log nor on his cell phone records ?

15. Is it believable that an “honest man” would tell Onstar not to use the email address they had on
file for him (which was correct) but to use his wife’s email address?

16. Is it believable that an “honest man” would have his company’s employment attorney contact the
District Attorney in order to attempt to influence the entering of a felony “due to the effect on his

17. Is it believable that knowing you had severely injured the son-in-law of a friend, never visiting?
the injured cyclist, never admitting hitting him? (In court you said “I’m sorry this happened to you”}

18. Is it believable that an “honest man” would not notify the Security and Exchange Commission, as required by law, that he was charged with a felony until ordered to do so by a judge over 180 days after
the accident.?

These are only a few of the questions that should have plagued the District Attorney prior to unfairly
reducing a felony charge against Marty Erzinger to a couple of misdemeanors.

If you find the answers to these questions as unbelievable as I do, you must conclude that neither the
District attorney nor Mr. Erzinger could meet the reasonable standard of an honest man.

The search for the truth should and must go on!

A sadly ashamed long time resident of Colorado

M. Schuler

Posted by mschuler | Report as abusive

There is a stunning lack of legal knowledge displayed in the posts above. Further, there is a whole lot of stupid comments about wealth. First, Tom Marsico was not intent on exacting justice. That’s not his makeup. He is vindictive and was searching for one more “get even” moment. People who know him, know that. Second, Erzinger is most likely guilty of panic. Any good defense attorney would have gotten him off since he’s a first time offender. He NEVER would have done jail time for this. Marsico wanted to ruin him. And most interestingly, he hired Hal Haddon to help him. Haddon is the lawyer who got Kobe Bryant off, and we know he wasn’t guilty of anything. Here’s my hope:

1. Steve Milo gets well and productive. He didn’t deserve this,
2. Marty Erzinger lives the rest of his life with the horror of his deeds and the daily desire to make amends,
3. Tom Marsico gets back to understanding Shakespeare:

“The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.”

4. Every word Hal Haddon used to extract a phony result ( 90 day jail sentence for Erzinger) will come back to haunt him with every client he defends for the rest of his life.


Posted by CTPRIEST | Report as abusive

Felix do you work for TMZ or Reuters? I can’t tell after this article. This is not a quality article about the public markets. I can’t believe Reuters let you publish this. This a joke! Why are you writing about some broker in Denver? This is a ‘hack’ article and you know it. You are looking for another Wall Streeters are bad guys article and this is what you found.

Posted by karpis | Report as abusive