Investment banker suspended from job after alleged drunken attack on MTA worker
The alleged drunken banker charged with slugging an MTA worker at a Brooklyn subway station has been suspended by his Manhattan investment firm, the company said Sunday.
Jean-Francois Coste, 53, was benched by Tocqueville Asset Management, the Midtown investment firm where he has worked for nearly 15 years, after Friday’s early-morning assault on MTA worker Tanya McCray at a Coney Island subway station, the company said.
“Mr. Coste has been suspended from the firm effective immediately,” the company said in a statement. “Tocqueville Asset Management is completely intolerant of violent behavior and, pending further investigation, will take whatever action is necessary.”
A spokesman for Tocqueville would not say if Coste was suspended with or without pay.
A reportedly inebriated Coste was at the Stillwell Avenue station around 12:15 a.m. when he allegedly punched McCray as she came on the job, according to police.
Cops said McCray had confronted Coste when the suspected drunken banker tried to get into an employees-only area at the station, with the finance worker slugging her twice in the face when she refused to let him in.
The MTA veteran also fought back against her attacker with her lunch bag, which had a thermos inside, leaving Coste with scratches and a black eye, police said.
Coste took off after the assault but was cornered by transit workers and busted by police, authorities said.
He was charged with assault, harassment and menacing and released without bail.
The Legal Aid Society, which represented Coste at his arraignment Friday, said he has since retained a private lawyer.
The suspect was holed up in his Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, brownstone Sunday.
A spokesman for Local 100 of the Transit Worker’s Union said McCray had just left the “crew room” at the station when she spotted Coste trying to get into a restricted area.
“It’s not a public area,” the spokesman said. “He was apparently drunk. She pushed the door so it clicks and locks, and he punched her in the face at least twice.”
According to his LinkedIn profile, Coste has been with Tocqueville since February 2008, and was currently working at the firm as a senior equity analyst.
He graduated from Northeastern University in Boston in 1993 and previously earned an MBA in finance at the NEOMA Business School in France.
Coste’s profile has been purged from the Tocqueville company website since the attack, and he has made his Instagram and Facebook accounts private.
He is due back in Brooklyn court March 1.
Friday’s attack occurred two days before a female MTA worker was randomly socked in the face by a nut in a Times Square subway station and her male colleague was viciously kicked in the leg as he took the guy down, cops said.
“We have zero tolerance for attacks on transit workers, and two senseless assaults days apart on employees just trying to do their jobs for the public is outrageous,” said NYC Transit Chief Operating Officer Craig Cipriano in a statement.
“We are grateful that the NYPD made immediate arrests in both cases, at Coney Island and Times Square, and hope the injured workers have a speedy recovery.”
Additional reporting by Kyle Schnitzer