Merrill fires Connecticut adviser after uproar at smoothie shop

Merrill Lynch fired a financial adviser over the weekend after he was arrested over a disorderly incident at a Connecticut smoothie shop.

James Iannazzo, 48, had been registered with Merrill Lynch in Stamford, Connecticut, since 1996, according to his BrokerCheck profile, and regularly made Barron’s ranking of top advisers for Connecticut.

He was arrested Saturday afternoon by the Fairfield, Connecticut, police after erupting at a Robeks smoothie store, throwing a drink at an employee, hitting them and demanding to know who made a smoothie that contained peanuts and caused his child’s severe allergic reaction, according to the Fairfield police department’s website.

Iannazzo also made comments to an employee referencing their immigration status, according to the police. A video of the incident, in which Iannazzo repeatedly uses profanity and calls one employee an “immigrant loser,” caused a firestorm over the weekend on social media platforms including Twitter.

“Our company does not tolerate behavior of this kind,” a Merrill Lynch spokesperson wrote in an email. “We immediately investigated and have taken action. This individual is no longer employed at our firm.”

Iannazzo is the latest wealth management professional to have lost his or her job after ugly behavior was made public on social media platforms. In 2020, Franklin Templeton fired an executive who had accused a Black bird-watcher in Central Park of threatening her.

Also in 2020, Raymond James Financial Inc. fired a senior bond manager after he and a woman were caught on video confronting a San Francisco man who was stenciling the Black Lives Matter slogan on the property where he lives.

At around 1:30 Saturday afternoon, Iannazzo called 911 requesting an emergency medical services response to his home for a juvenile who was suffering from an allergic reaction and was later transported to an area hospital, according to the police report.

Iannazzo told officers that he was upset about his son having a severe allergic reaction and he went back to the store as a result, according to the police.

He was charged with intimidation based on bigotry or bias, breach of peace and criminal trespass. He has a court appearance for Feb. 7 in Bridgeport Superior Court.

Over the weekend, Iannazzo’s attorney, Frank J. Riccio, issued a statement on social media stating the financial adviser “wholeheartedly regrets the incident” and that he is “not a racist individual.” According to the statement, Iannazzo was acting out of “anger and fear” over what had happened to his son, who has a life-threatening peanut allergy.

The post Merrill fires Connecticut adviser after uproar at smoothie shop appeared first on InvestmentNews.

Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He’s also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.

Andrew Vincent
Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He's also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.
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