“W. Bryan Jennings is a jerk.”
A mild-mannered, hardworking New York City cabby lamented to The Post yesterday that he was insulted, demeaned and threatened by a boozy bigwig who refused to pay him, screaming: “Go back to your own country . . . I’m going to kill you.”
Mohamed Ammar said investment banker W. Bryan Jennings — a $2-million-a-year fat cat for Morgan Stanley — went from being a sweet gentleman he picked up in Midtown to a surly, knife-wielding “drunk” who stiffed him on the $204 fare when they got to Jennings’ Darien, Conn., home.
William Bryan Jennings, 47, of Darien, Conn., is charged with intimidation by race or bigotry, as well as assault and larceny for allegedly not paying the cab fare, police told YellowCabNYC.
“I said, ‘You have to pay me. It’s the law,’ ” Ammar recalled at his Queens home yesterday, where he lives with his wife and three children. “He says, ‘What law? You should go back to your own f–king country.’
“I say, ‘This is my f–king country, excuse my language. I’m an American citizen!’ ” said the driver, who is originally from Egypt.
“That’s when he pulled out the penknife . . . He leaned forward and yelled, ‘I’m gonna kill you, motherf–ker!” Ammar said.
“I saw his hand balled up into a fist and I thought he was going to punch me,” the cabby said.
“I put my hand out to protect, and that is when I saw the penknife. He went for my neck first but ended up slashing my hand many times as I was fighting him off . . . My hand was bleeding pretty bad” as Jennings fled on foot, Ammar said.
“He was drunk and out of control, and he could have killed me. That was one of the scariest moments of my life.”
Ammar needed six stitches to close his wounds.
Jennings was charged Wednesday with assault, larceny and committing a hate crime for the Dec. 22 attack. He was released on bail.
“I just don’t feel safe anymore,” Ammar said. “This has been a problem for all cabdrivers. You have no control over who you pick up. I regret letting him into my cab.”
Ammar’s frightening account came as Morgan Stanley placed Jennings on indefinite leave from a managing-director job that paid an estimated $2 million last year.
“This is just terrible. This makes [Morgan Stanley] look bad,” a top executive said.
Ammar says the incident started out innocently. He picked Jennings up outside of the Ink48 hotel at West 48th Street and 10th Avenue.
They exchanged pleasantries. “When he got into the cab, I took out the book that shows fares for out-of-state trips,” he said, explaining that a fare of $204 is suggested.
“I showed this to him and I said, ‘Before we leave, we have to agree on the price of the trip.’ He says, ‘Oh, I’ve got plenty of cash. I’ll pay you a lot.’
“He says this while waving around some bills. He was waving around a lot of money. I tell him I don’t need a lot of money, just the fare and that would be fine.
“I tell him that I should collect the money before we go on our way. But he says, ‘Don’t worry about it. You will get plenty of money’ ” after the men agreed to a $204 flat fare, Ammar said. “I go along with this because $204 really is a lot of money to me.”
Ammar said Jennings slept during the 43-mile trip to Darien, where they arrived after midnight.
When Ammar woke Jennings, “He was groggy and angry and he was talking very loudly,” the cabby said.
“We drove up his driveway . . . He slides open the door and asks, ‘How much do I owe you?’ I tell him $204. He starts yelling at me.”
“Are you crazy?” Jennings screamed, recalled the driver. “That’s too much. I’m already home. I don’t feel like paying!”
Jennings then said, “I’ll give you $50,” Ammar recalled.
“I tell him, ‘Sir, we are going to drive back into town so we can find the closest police station . . . Would you close the door?’ He refused. He sat in the seat as I drove with the door open.” Then the alleged attack took place.
Jennings allegedly told Ammar “the cops wouldn’t do anything to him because he pays $10,000 in taxes,” court records state.
“He got out of the car and he walked into the park. I didn’t follow him . . . I didn’t want to imagine what he would do in an empty park at night,” said Ammar.
Police couldn’t find Jennings — but the banker contacted them and turned himself in when local media reported the attack.
“He looked like every other normal person on the street. I can’t believe people are capable of such things,” Ammar said.
Jennings admitted to cops he knocked back “two or three Coors Lights” at a Morgan Stanley charity auction he ran on the afternoon of Dec. 21, and later drank “several more beers” at the bank’s holiday party at the hotel. But he claimed he wasn’t “highly intoxicated,” court records state.
When a limo failed to come, he hailed Ammar’s cab.
Jennings said they never discussed a specific fare.
Jennings’ lawyer, Eugene Riccio, said Ammar actually “abducted” the exec from the driveway of his pricey home after refusing his offer to pay a “reasonable” $160 instead.
Additional reporting by Mark DeCambre, Laurel Babcock and Dan Mangan