Curry Gay Porn Scandal

Morgan Stanley > The Curry Scandal


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Christian Leigh Curry

Curry Gay Porn Pictures and Expense-Account Fraud Firing from Morgan

June 1998 issue of Playguy, a magazine dealing with gay porn, under the headline: SPECIAL DELIVERY: OUR MESSENGER BRINGS BOOTY RIGHT TO YOUR DOORSTEP! had the cover photo of a black 24-year Christian Leigh Curry. The inside pages had Curry in various states of undress and prominent arousal.Within days of its appearance, in April 98, Christian Curry was let go by Morgan Stanley where he was a real estate analyst, on grounds of extensive expense-account fraud. Later Morgan talked about Curry's "willful and brazenly premeditated" expense-account violation numbering over 150 during his stort stint of 10 months at Morgan Stanley. "Dining" expense bills were presented for purchases at places like F.A.O. Schwarz and Blockbuster Video, and expenses at Flashdancers, a Manhattan strip club. Curry's lawyer, Benedict Morelli, dismissed Morgan Stanley's claims and wondered why his client was being singled out when expense account abuses were common at Morgan Stanley. Morgan Stanley claimed that it had decided to fire Curry before the Playguy issue became known to it.

Morgan Stanley Sets Curry Up for Planting Racist Emails in its Computers

Two months later a Charles Joseph Luethke, who knew Curry during his Columbia University's Kappa Delta Rho fraternity days for a brief period, contacts him. According to Curry, Luethke told him about racist and homophobic emails in the Morgan Stanley's computer system. According to Charles Luethke, Christian Curry wanted him to break into the firm's computer system to plant some incriminating email evidence. Luethke asked for $1000 but Curry haggled this amount down to $200. Luethke got a handwritten note from Curry instructing him what messages to put in the computer system. He apparently taped the conversation too. Then he went and showed the evidence to NYPD and Morgan Stanley who then ran a sting operation against Curry and arrested him on charge of paying $200 to an underground cop to get the incriminating evidence planted in Morgan Stanley's computer system. There were at least five felony charges against him, including attempted computer trespass, tampering with physical evidence and fifth-degree conspiracy. Within a week, Morgan paid Luethkle $10,000 as a "legal" "reward" to a "whistle-blower informant" with its head legal counsel Christine Edwards' knowledge. The Manhattan district attorney was not informed.

Charges Against Curry Dropped; Morgan Investigated; Lawsuit Filed

As a result, assistant D.A. Leroy Frazer on behalf of DA Robert Morgenthau was forced to ask Manhattan Criminal Court drop all charges against Christin Curry about 10 months later but the criminal investigation of Morgan Stanley and its informant continued by Daniel Castleman, DA Office's chief of investigations.

The very next day, Curry's lawyer, Benedict Morelli, files a $1.3 billion lawsuit against Morgan accusing it of racial and sexual orientation discrimination. The 26-page document filed in State Supreme Court named 13 individuals from the firm as defendants, including John Mack, the firm's president and chief operating officer; Philip Purcell, chief executive, and Carol Bernheim, the in-house counsel. "Launched with press conferences and continuous attempts to attract media attention to plaintiff's sensationalist charges," Morgan Stanley responded in its court papers, "this action is nothing more than a well-orchestrated extortion scheme cloaked with a caption and a docket number." Within a few days, Morgan Stanley suspends two lawyers and Christine Edwards resigns. Morgan's chairman, Philip Purcell, admitted that the firm made serious mistakes.

The firm sent out an interoffice e-mail shortly after the lawsuit was filed by Curry: "Some of you may have seen the press coverage on the lawsuit filed by an ex-employee of the firm. The lawsuit alleges discrimination and harassment in connection with the termination of an investment banking analyst. We believe that this suit is completely without merit, and plan to defend ourselves vigorously. The case is about employee honesty and integrity. Mr. Curry was dismissed for falsifying his expense reports. We are committed to ensuring a workplace free of harassment and employment discrimination. As always, refer any press inquiries to [chief spokesman] Jeanmarie McFadden."

Soon Morgan employees started visiting sites like Vault.com to discuss discrimination issues at the bank. When Morgan Stanley officials found out about this, they blocked employee access to it. Vault.com countered by parking a movable billboard across the street from the Morgan Stanley office and broadcasting new, unblocked Web addresses for the employees to use to visit the discussion boards.

Race and Sexual Discrimination Lawsuit Settled

Case Number 99-cv-4035 Christian L. Curry v. Morgan Stanley, came to an end in September 2000 when the attorney for Curry, Benedict Morelli of New York and attorney for Morgan - Martin London of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, New York, New York, settled in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York with Judge Denny Chin presiding. There was no admission of fault by either party but a "donation" of $1 million by Morgan Stanley to the the National Urban League was part of the deal.

Morgan Stanley sent out a memo to all 63 thousand employees, reiterating that they didn't pay Curry "a penny." "This is Morgan's statement: 'We paid Curry nothing! Nothing!' " Curry was reported as saying and snorting. "And who am I to argue?" "I'd never go through that again, whether they paid me zero dollars" -- and media reported him adding very, very slowly -- "or $52 million."