Cowboy hat By Jim Hightower and Phillip Frazer - Sun., 12/5/10
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Here's a crime drama, which turns into a tragedy, and then a farce.

The perpetrator is Martin Erzinger, a well-heeled wealth manager in Morgan Stanley Smith Barney's Denver office, handling more than a billion dollars in private assets. Erzinger describes himself as "dedicated to ultra-high net worth individuals."

The tragic victim is Dr. Steven Milo, a surgeon and father of two who was bicycling in Colorado last July when--WHAM!--he was struck from behind by Erzinger's Mercedes Benz. Instead of stopping to render aid, the money man sped away, until his car proved to be so damaged by the crash that he had to call the Mercedes service center to have it towed. He didn't call for an ambulance to check on the poor guy he'd just run over.

As Dr. Milo later noted, "Erzinger struck me, fled, and left me for dead." The doctor suffered spinal cord injuries, bleeding from his brain, knee damage, and disabling spinal headaches. He faces multiple surgeries, plastic surgery, and "lifetime pain."

This drama became a farce when District Attorney Mark Hurlbert entered, from stage right. The DA dropped felony charges against Erzinger, citing him instead for two misdemeanor traffic violations.

Why? Because Erzinger is rich. The Republican DA didn't want the Morgan Stanley wealth manager to lose his job. "Felony convictions have some pretty serious job implications for someone in Mr. Erzinger's profession," said the DA. Yes, as they would for a working stiff who nearly killed someone--but in that case, I doubt the DA would give a damn.

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