Investment Firm CEO Tries to Talk His Way Out of OWI Ticket

President and CEO of Emory and Co., a major investment banking firm in Milwaukee, makes allusions to his position and asks about leniency after drunken driving arrest.

The president and CEO of a major Milwaukee investment banking firm was arrested Thursday in Wauwatosa on suspicion of drunken driving, and during and after the stop he appeared to make a number of attempts to use his position to get out of the ticket, police reports show.

John Druse Emory Jr., 41, of Whitefish Bay, was arrested at 10:51 p.m. and cited for suspicion of operating while intoxicated after callers reported him driving dangerously, having hit curbs twice and sideswiped a “yield to pedestrians” sign on West North Avenue.

An officer rendezvoused with a witness, who pointed out a white SUV stopped at North 81st Street and West North Avenue. The officer followed to observe the driver’s behavior and watched as Emory weaved and drifted in traffic going east on North Avenue.

At Wauwatosa Avenue, when Emory hit a lane divider and then rolled through the right turn stop sign, the officer pulled him over.

The officer said he asked Emory if he'd had anything to drink that evening, and he answered "No." When the officer told him he was getting a very strong odor of intoxicants from him and the car, Emory said, "Wait, what was that again?"

Emory then said he'd had just one drink — a beer — at a bar in Brookfield, but when asked if he knew where he was, he replied that he was “close to Wilshire (Rd.)”

In what city? “Whitefish Bay,” he replied.

Emory had difficulty understanding and performing field sobriety tests, needing instructions repeated five times for one test. At one point he halted a test and asked if he were under arrest. Told that he was not at that time, Emory, the officer said, chuckled and said, "All right. Well, then I guess I'm leaving."

The officer informed Emory he was not free to go until the tests were complete, prompting Emory to again ask if were under arrest, and say, "So, can I leave if I'm not under arrest?"

The officer again explained that Emory was not free to go and asked whether he was willing to complete the tests.

"If you were me, what would you do?" Emory asked. Told by the officer he couldn't advise him, he said, "You can't give me any advice?" No, said the officer, and again asked if he were willing to perform the tests. "I... I... no. I don't know what to say," said Emory.

Based on that, the officer arrested Emory, handcuffing him and putting him in his squad car. On the way to the station, Emory said, "Do you care? Uh... maybe, I was wondering, uh, I'm the president and CEO of Emory and Co. LLC, which is a... pretty substantial company in southeastern Wisconsin."

The officer said he acknowledged the information, and Emory muttered under his breath, "You'll find out later." As the trip continued, the officer said, Emory repeated his status with Emory and Co., and said again, more loudly, “You’ll find out later!”

Asked what that meant, Emory said, "It doesn't mean anything."

Emory registered a 0.20 blood alcohol concentration on a breath test, 2½ times the proscribed limit to drive in Wisconsin. He told officers he understood his rights and was not willing to answer questions.

After his booking, Emory said that he was hosting a lunch in the coming week for his good friend, County Executive Chris Abele, and would “mention your good work.”

Then Emory laughed and said the whole incident was "funny" to him. Then he asked, "So, is there any, uh... leniency on these documents or anything?" – referring to his paperwork. Asked regarding what, he said, "Regarding anything about them."

The officer said he didn't know what exactly he was being asked.

"I'm just asking you, is this all pretty much final?"

Told his paperwork would not change at that point, Emory said, "That is what I'm asking you."

Emory was issued citations for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, operating with a prohibited blood alcohol concentration and operating left of center, and he was given a mandatory court date on Feb. 4.

Reached Wednesday afternoon, Emory said he did not wish to comment on his arrest.

Bucky December 20, 2012 at 03:46 AM
Emory said that he was hosting a lunch in the coming week for his good friend, County Executive Chris Abele, and would “mention your good work.” There is his ACE in the hole. Abele will take care of it at the BRAT luncheon.
Ray Ray Johnson December 20, 2012 at 12:12 PM
No he won't. This was a pathetic attempt at manipulation by a drunk punk, trying to be a player in the booking room.
Mike Raining December 20, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Everybody makes mistakes whether you're a CEO or a $10/hr laborer. If you think you have a way to get leniency, you'll use it. John Emory is a good guy, unfortunately he made a mistake and alcohol clouded his judgement. This wouldn't even make news if it wasn't him, or the fact he mentioned Abele. Everybody riding their high-horse talking about 1% can talk when they haven't made a mistake. He's 1% because he's worked harder than the 99%. Give the guy a break.
Bob McBride December 20, 2012 at 03:56 PM
He made the issue of his position and attempted to intimidate the cops with it. That was his decision. That's why this report saw the light of day. If you're a high profile hot-shot, particularly if you attempt to use your position as he did, this is what happens. Whether he's a good guy or not doesn't negate the fact that he got behind the wheel so drunk he didn't even know where he was. He could have killed someone attempting to get back to WFB. He deserves no break. He deserves what he gets. Hopefully this exposure will cause him to take a close look at his drinking and how its effecting his life. You don't blow a .20 on a single beer.
AWD December 20, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Why do poor people smell like sour milk?
New NRA Member December 20, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Looks like this guy was getting his drink on at Bluemound CC. Typical North Shore prick.
Bob McBride December 20, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Why do we get a sperm count instead of a BAC when we hook you up to a breathalyzer?
Taoist Crocodile December 20, 2012 at 04:25 PM
He's 1% because of his Daddy's company. I think he's had his share of breaks. Good guy or not, if he had any class at all, he'd recognize that he's a privileged scion and try to help his company by keeping a low profile after being pulled over. Instead, he tried to act like a big shot and threw his inherited position, and assumed importance, in the cop's face. I'm not saying that he should be treated any more harshly than anyone else who would try to intimidate a cop or subvert the criminal justice system, but he shouldn't be given any leniency either. This kid is an alcoholic, and needs to experience some consequences.
Landau December 20, 2012 at 04:46 PM
I think people need to remember that no matter how important you are, if your're blowing a 2.0 you are obviously drunk and prone to make stupid statements that you wouldn't dream of making if you were sober. My guess is that the embarrassment this incident will cause this man will far outlive whatever his legal punishment is. It will also be a lot more painful.
Landau December 20, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Typical North Shore pricks get drunk at Milwaukee Country Club
Mike Raining December 20, 2012 at 04:49 PM
I'm sure he will get a lesson that is deserved - I'm sure he'd agree with that. Alcohol clouds the judgement of all people, and that's what happened here. Why is it that if somebody has money they're a 'North Shore Prick.' If they don't have money, what are they, a typical 'trailer park prick?' Also, he runs the company, not his Daddy - they started it together. This discussion wouldn't be taking place if GE wasn't the CEO. WI leads the nation in DUI's. this is just another day in Milwaukee; no need to make it more than it is. ALL drunk drivers put innocent people at harm, not just him because he's got an article. Moot point. .
Satori December 20, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Wow, Bob, coming off the top rope with that one! :)
New NRA Member December 20, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Typical North Shore Pricks get drunk at Westmoor and Bluemound, then drive back to their 2000 square foot hovel in Whitefish Bay and Shorewood. North Shore Pricks can't afford Milwaukee CC, that is for the red hat ladies and other geezers.
Bob McBride December 20, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Bob McBride December 20, 2012 at 05:10 PM
If this exclusive exposure he's getting due to his social position forces him to come to grips with his drinking sooner than the average schlump who gets busted, he may, eventually, come to think of this as yet another benefit of privilege rather than as an unfair targeting of the same.
Jeff Rumage December 20, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Please try to keep the comments clean, everyone...Otherwise we will have to delete them. -Whitefish Bay Patch Editor Jeff Rumage
Josh Smyth December 21, 2012 at 09:36 PM
I know John, and he’s a good person who does a lot for the Milwaukee Community.
Ray Ray Johnson December 22, 2012 at 12:29 AM
Unfortunately, part of the package of the man includes being a drunk that drives on the public roadways, recklessly operating his 2000 lb. missile with 15 gal of explosives while out of control, and with a default disregard for anyone else who may be out. I wonder if operating with a reckless disregard for the safety of others is how he runs the investment company. That's what I'd wonder if I was a client. What other reckless and careless decisions does he make? How often is he hammered at the office or otherwise on the job?
Mike Ruane December 22, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Nobody deserves to have one mistake define them, their work, or who they are. Every person posting negative comments needs to look at themselves and the mistakes they've made. Do those define you? John does great work for the community and runs a world-class firm; he is not a drunk or any of the 'claims' anybody has made: everybody loves to criticize those at the top. His good work and philanthropy is what should define him, and for those who know him, does - not this. Criticize when you feel you've made no mistakes - he will learn from this just as everybody has learned from their mistakes.
Mike Ruane December 22, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Ray Ray: Ever had a beer? Ever to intoxication? I'm sure you have. Does that mean you're drunk at work all of the time? Sounds like that's what you're suggesting. I don't think his firm would be as successful if that were the case. He's a family man and a man who helps his community - a lot more than many people can say, unfortunately.
Bob McBride December 22, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Mike, the guy was so drunk he had no idea where he was. He was, literally, hitting stuff with the car. Are you suggesting that you know for a fact he never drove drunk before? Would this have still been a "mistake" had he killed someone in the process of trying to wind his way home? Based on the description of the way he was driving, that could have been a very real possibility. This isn't someone who got pulled over for a blown taillight and ticketed in the process for blowing the legal limit on a breathalyzer. He was blind, stinking drunk. You aren't doing him any favors by minimizing the degree to which he endangered the lives of others - and himself.
Ray Ray Johnson December 22, 2012 at 10:57 PM
I am absolutely suggesting that drunks drink at work. I would bet that the man has some sort of alcohol and barware in his office. I am absolutely suggesting reckless behavior and judgment errors have now involved his consideration for other stakeholders in his life. This is the consequence of his actions, not mine. As for me, alcohol and I severed all ties many years ago; it is the fuel that powers extended adolescence in men. The consequence of his actions must involve questioning his judgment. People are not machines, and they do make mistakes, yet, with all the public information regarding drunk driving, to do so cannot be considered a mistake, but a willful act. Anyone who drinks to the point of .2 and change has a control problem. And a control problem in one area of his mind cannot be confined by assumption to only one area of his mind. His judgment was erroneous in his gamble, and he gambled the well-being of his reputation and standing in the community, and he gambled the welfare of his family. These are the bases for my questioning of his level of responsibilty as a manager of other people's money. It is unfortunate, and I'm sure he's a good guy, but he's got a drinking problem as noted by the nature of his actions and that does not foster confidence among stakeholders in the driving or investment community.
Mike Ruane December 23, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Ray Ray; I do understand that alcohol plays a role in many unfortunate events. That said, it sounds as if you are only basing your opinions upon your personal experiences. I know many people who drink, and at times, over indulge. I'm sure they have been at the .2 level. This does not mean they are alcoholics. Several of these individuals are highly successful business men & women. They DO NOT drink at work. John was not at work when this occurred and successful firms are not built upon carelessness as you suggest. It's unfortunate that so many people want to cut him down due to his status. Yes, it was a lapse in judgement to drive, but I can assure you he is remorseful - the most to his family and colleagues. I've seen people with over 8 OWI's not get this type of public outcry; and it's because he's a 'CEO'- but truth be told, he's still just a man, just like you or me. As I've said before, this man hasn't gotten where he is in life by drinking, and he should not be torn down like this due to 1 error.
Bob McBride December 23, 2012 at 07:54 PM
I know many people who drink, and at times, over indulge. I'm sure they have been at the .2 level. This does not mean they are alcoholics. ***************** Regardless of whether or not they're alcoholics by your definition, it doesn't make a bit of difference once they get behind the wheel. Nor does it matter whether they're someone you, personally, consider a "good person" or someone you'd consider pond scum. As far as the offense goes, they're equal and they should be treated equally under the law. As a counter to your concerns that he may be receiving undo attention due to his decision to make an issue of his social/economic position while attempting to lessen the impact of the arrest, you and others here have offered up an unusual amount of character defense on his behalf. Were this your average schmuck getting this kind of attention, most acquaintances would probably not have to audacity to suggest the drunk driver was receiving undo attention, nor would they most likely try to suggest that his success in other areas of life should be taken into consideration when considering the nature of the offense. It's not unreasonable to consider this as, literally, an extension of the same line of thinking he was pursuing himself at the time of the incident itself.
Ray Ray Johnson December 24, 2012 at 12:21 PM
Mike, to be busted once does not imply one mistake; most drunk drivers are regular offenders who simply have not been caught, much white collar criminals normally don't get caught engaging in one single act that flew straight into the FBI office consecutive to commission of the malfeasance. The testimony here among the character witnesses is noteworthy, however the potential for nepotism in this forum makes me dubious. I might think that the defenders are employees, agents, or merely drinking buddies who water down the offense more than they should have the drinks. The man must redeem himself by accepting his predicament humbly, He must reassess his relationship with alcohol to determine its true worth in his life; he didnt absorb it through accidental osmosis. He must then make corrections or absence thereof after such an assessment and that will be the new standard by which he is judged as a good guy or a frat boy with a high position of control over other people's money.
Mike Ruane December 24, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Ray Ray & Bob; yes, you make good points and I am not arguing those. I am stating that this man is remorseful to his family, community, and clients for his lapse in judgement. As we just saw, a US Senator received a DUI in the last day or two. I don't think this means he is alcoholic, and due to thier public status, this was also highlighted and 'news worthy'. Both men understand they will deal with the legal ramifications of their acts. And yes, if it means these men reevaluate their relationship with alcohol, maybe it will be a blessing in disguise. I've just been saying that the character assassination stemming from one incident is not just, as they cannot take back what they did, only learn from it, and I'm sure they will be better men in the long-run for doing so.
Kelly December 25, 2012 at 08:54 PM
I just think it's funny. He commits a common-man crime and thinks his status makes him somehow more influential or important. Granted he made the statements while drunk, but I don't think people utter things while drunk that they've never even subconsciously thought while sober. This is what makes people angry and why they come down so hard on him. How dare he think his money elevates him above any of the rest of us?! This is why the 1% are vilified. Humanity is the great equalizer, and slips of green paper don't make any of us more worthy than anyone else.
Innocent bystander December 30, 2012 at 05:38 AM
I know for a fact the guy was not trying to be cocky about his position, but rather coming to terms with what was actually happening to him in the back of the squad car. He knew he was screwed and there began the cowardly pleading of a frightened fool who never thought he would be in this position. He was a coward narc in high school who got a lot of people in trouble one night in 1987 to save his own ass. What comes around goes around.
Larrytown December 30, 2012 at 06:13 PM
It takes a special type of hypocrite to blast someone as a coward under the cloak of internet anonymity. One thing I know "for a fact"? You need to move on from whatever illegal thing you got busted for in '87, it was 25 years ago for christ sakes.
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