Master Of The Universe Allegedly Breaks Waiter's Finger
In recent months, people have accused the "1 percent" of breaking the backs and bank accounts of the rest of the population -- but never their fingers. But now one giant of the investment banking world has allegedly broken a waiter's left ring finger, because he was angry that the server brought the check.
John Castle, the 76-year-old chairman and CEO of the private merchant bank, Castle Harlan, a former CEO of a leading investment bank, and director of Morton's Restaurant Group, the world's largest owner of upscale restaurants, was having dinner with his wife, Marianne, last Saturday at Club Colette, an exclusive Palm Beach private club that's not far from his home, a former Kennedy family compound.
Marianne Castle told their waiter, Paul Kucik, 57, to bring the check, reports the Palm Beach Daily News. But when Kucik did, her husband allegedly hollered: "You schmuck, why did you bring the bill to the table?," according to a police report.
John Castle purportedly kept ranting, grabbed Kucik's hand, and squeezed it tightly until Kucik yanked it free. Kucik says that he did not report the incident to his employer, but did bring his aching hand to an M.D. Walk-In Clinic the next day. An X-ray revealed that one of his fingers was broken. The waiter reported the episode to the police.
As a man in the restaurant business, perhaps Castle was particularly upset about what he saw as a faux pas -- bringing the check, as opposed to adding the tab to his private account. But if true, it's certainly strange behavior, especially since in many other walks of life Castle appears to be quite a charitable man.
Castle has given so much to his alma mater, MIT, that he was elected a Life Member of the college. He's also spent over 20 years as a trustee of New York Medical College (11 years as chairman), has served on the boards of five hospitals, and was an executive committee member of The Joint Commission. The publisher of America's Top Doctors and other Top Doctor publications has given a large gift to the University of Pennsylvania Law School and endowed a lecture series at Yale, although he never went to either school.
The man also appears to know how to handle stress. Not only is he the head of a bank with over 42,000 employees, but he's landed on the North and South poles, trekked to the base of Mount Everest, sailed around the world in a 42-foot boat, retraced the 3,100-mile route of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and traversed 5,000 miles of rivers in the U.S. by 15-foot dingy. He's also a champion of big-dollar business, and in 2010 was awarded an M&A Lifetime Achievement Award.
So why would Castle snap his waiter's finger? Castle could not be reached, and Club Colette had no comment. But heck, even masters of the universe have really bad days.
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Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.
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