Financier with Ties Here Dies Premier Black Investment Banker Worked with St. Louis Comptroller

By Compiled From News Services Tim O'Neil of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this story. | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), May 13, 1994 | Go to article overview

Financier with Ties Here Dies Premier Black Investment Banker Worked with St. Louis Comptroller


Compiled From News Services Tim O'Neil of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this story., St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Wardell Lazard, founder of the investment bank W.R. Lazard & Co., was found dead in a hotel room after an apparent accidental drug overdose, police said Thursday.

Lazard, 44, was one of the most prominent black figures on Wall Street, with special expertise in handling municipal bonds. His company also manages $2.7 billion for retirement funds, university endowments and foundations.

He was also a contributor to black urban politicians nationwide, including Comptroller Virvus Jones of St. Louis.

A security guard discovered Lazard's body Wednesday after a cleaning women at the hotel failed to get an answer after knocking and noticed that the door was chained shut, police said.

The guard broke in and found Lazard's body on the bed, police said.

"It looks like the result of an accidental overdose," said Pittsburgh police Sgt. Mark Ninehouser.

Police found a white powdery substance next to the body as well as a bottle of vodka in the room.

Lazard lived with his wife and children near Morristown, N.J.

Authorities are awaiting toxicology reports from an autopsy performed Thursday to determine the cause of death.

Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau confirmed Thursday that his office was "looking into transactions by the company" but said Lazard himself "was not a target."

Morgenthau said a key question was whether Lazard performed bona fide services in return for commissions. …

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