Merrill Lynch 1979-1986

During my stay at Merrill Lynch, there were many memorable events that caused me to leave. One of the most significant was our Christmas Dinner in 1984. The Merrill policy was such that if Merrill was having a good year, Merrill would pay for the Christmas Dinner party. In 1984, Merrill was not having a good year and the brokers were required to pay for a party if they wished to have one. The brokers decided to have a party knowing that they would pay for a party that included themselves and their office staff. The party was to be held at the Bellevue Athletic Club. I was a member so I did all of the coordination. Housed in the same building as the brokerage offices was the office of the complex director, CW. CW was a failed broker who subsequently went into operations. As a result of continued ass kissing, he became the complex director with three or more brokerage offices under his direction. The brokers in my office decided to invite CW and his staff to the party. We would absorb their cost into our budget. The bar was set up so that the bar would be open prior to the dinner then go no host after the dinner. We had some serious drinkers in my office. I did not desire to pay for a night of their drinking.

After dinner, CW decided to make some totally uninvited remarks concerning the firm. At the end of his remarks, CW said that he would now purchase an after-dinner drink for everyone. This caused me to have a mini-heart attack. Neither I nor the bar was prepared to account for 30 or 40 after dinner drinks. The bartender stated that he had no way of differentiating the after-dinner drinks from the open bar drinks we had before dinner. I made a decision to just charge CW for the number of attendees times the average cost of an after-dinner drink. This came to about 120 dollars. As I stood at the bar, I noticed that almost everyone accepted CW’s drink offer. Thirty or forty after-dinner drinks to be charged to CW.

The club was fastidious about billing. They wanted the bill paid the following Monday. I paid the bill and sent CW a bill for the after-dinner drinks, 120 dollars. I was immediately told that CW had paid for the drinks. This surprised me. I contacted the club and was told that no such payment had been made. I again queried CW about the bill. His assistant said that he had paid and she sent me an American Express receipt for twelve dollars. The tab was opened around midnight after most of us had left and closed a few minutes later. When I contacted CW and explained that he did not pay for the after-dinner drinks and that he owed 120 dollars, he became belligerent. He stated that I had a bad attitude. Sometime later I received a check for 120 dollars. Not written on CW’s checking account but on the account of Merrill Lynch. How fucking cheap can you get? He offered to buy the drinks then refused to pay for them until I hounded him.  Then he let Merrill pay for the drinks. Needless to say, this was the beginning of the end for me at Merrill.

CW was a poster child for the poor management at Merrill that ultimately destroyed the company. Resulting in Bank of America purchasing Merrill for about ten cents on the dollar.