How far are you willing to go to get everything you want for a divorce? If you're Christina Kelly, you're ready to take down a multi-billion dollar investment banking firm if need be. She is the soon-to-be ex-wife of Sage Kelly, the healthcare banking head of Jefferies Group LLC, a global investment bank and institutional securities firm headquartered in New York.
In their divorce proceedings, Christina K. has accused Sage K. and many of his co-workers at the Jeffries Group of being heavily into narcotics. That forced the hand of Richard Handler, chief executive officer of the company, to show the world that he and the rest of his staff are drug-free.
"Suggestions of rampant drug use are pure fabrication," Handler, 53, and Chairman Brian Friedman, 58, said in a memo posted on the firm's website. "The two of us can of course attest that all tests came back drug-free."
In this arena, where perception of reputation is almost as crucial as the work done to gain it, this was a necessary move. It was so scandalous that the New York Post, Gawker and financial publications ran with the story. Sage K., for his part, has taken a prolonged leave of absence to deal with his divorce.
"We are embarrassed that we even have to discuss these matters, but this should put to rest the heart of the allegations about our firm," Handler and Friedman said. "Sometimes truth does come in a jar."
Bankers Take Drug Tests at Jefferies Amid Divorce Scandal (Bloomberg News)