Mimesis Law
27 February 2021

Chipotle’s Mark Crumpacker: It’s Not About the Money

March 2, 2017 (Fault Lines) — Ol’ Blue Eyes once crooned that he “wanted to wake up in the city that never sleeps.” Chipotle executive Mark Crumpacker apparently never wanted to go to sleep in the first place, as evidenced by his arrest last June.

Prosecutors said authorities caught Crumpacker on a wiretap 13 times having drugs delivered to his Union Square apartment, most recently on June 18, [2016]. He bought roughly $3,000 in cocaine during those transactions, prosecutors said.

Fortunately for Crumpacker, he was able to put his life back together again:

The burrito chain says Mark Crumpacker’s return was announced internally last week, on September 8.


Chris Arnold, a Chipotle spokesman, says the company conducted a review and is comfortable that ‘none of the things Mark is alleged to have done occurred on business time.’ He said Crumpacker also went through drug rehabilitation.

‘We are a better company with him than without him,’ Arnold said.

After entering into a deferred prosecution agreement in January, he was back in court this week and apparently doing pretty well.

[Crumpack’s attorney Gerald] Lefcourt later told the Daily Mail in a brief phone interview that his client did not speak in court, but an assistant district attorney informed Biben that Crumpacker was doing ‘beyond great.’

The criminal defense lawyer said the judge was ‘very happy’ with his client’s conduct, and that he was hoping to speed up the case and have the charges against Crumpacker thrown out by June.

Lefcourt also revealed that the 53-year-old Chipotle executive has been receiving treatment at an outpatient program and was doing ‘great.’

One of the common criticisms of the criminal justice system is that it’s a game rigged in favor of the rich. As with most Menckian explanations of complex phenomena, that notion is clear, simple, and wrong. It’s way more complicated than that.

To begin with, Crumpacker appears to be a recreational user. ($3000 worth of drugs over 13 buys works out to about $230 per buy, which suggests personal, though pretty regular, use.) The deal he got was a pretty good one, involving treatment and regular drug testing; and if he manages to keep his nose clean for one year, his charges will be dismissed.

This isn’t necessarily because he’s a wealthy corporate executive—this is a pretty typical resolution one would expect for a recreational user coming up on charges for the first time, whether he was rich or poor.

Let’s do a little thought experiment. Suppose the defendant wasn’t the Chief Marketing Officer of the Chipotle Corporation, but the assistant manager of the local Chipotle, who was charged with having $3000 worth of cocaine delivered to his house over several months.  Even if he got the same deal that Crumpacker got, he’s going to have a much harder time being “beyond great” on his probation.

First of all, he’d have to come up with the $4500 for bail… and for someone on an assistant manager’s pay, even coming up with the usual 10 percent of that could be tough. Then, he’ll probably have to miss work every time he has to randomly test or meet with his probation officer, which could make it hard for whomever has to replace him on guac duty. Miss enough days and he could lose his job.

Then, of course, the required treatment and testing usually aren’t free, and he still has to balance rent, the power bill, groceries, and the like. If he has to forego treatment because the rent was due, that’s a violation of his probation.

So there is a way in which socioeconomics is a factor, but that has less to do with Crumpacker’s money than it has to do with his social capital. Consider: the guy earns a salary of $500,000 a year, and received total compensation of $4.3 million in 2015. This means that getting the appropriate treatment isn’t going to be a problem for him… he’s not going to have to worry about paying the treatment bill versus paying his rent or the light bill.

Also consider that he probably enjoys a fair amount of flexibility when it comes to his daily schedule. If he needs to come in an hour late because he had a meeting with his probation officer, or because he has court, he’s not going to lose his job. Likewise, a guy pulling in a few million a year doesn’t have to worry about gas money needed to get to the courthouse or the probation office.

True enough, Mark Crumpacker is doing “great” on probation. Good on him. It wouldn’t do him, his family, the State of New York, or anyone else any good if he was in jail, or saddled with a felony conviction. It isn’t that he “bought justice.” It’s just that justice was offered to him, as it is to many others, and he was in a better position than most to take advantage of it.

4 Comments on this post.

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  • 0dder
    2 March 2017 at 10:55 am - Reply

    “It isn’t that he ‘bought justice.’ It’s just that justice was offered to him, as it is to many others, and he was in a better position than most to take advantage of it.”

    Effectively the same thing.

  • Joseph
    2 March 2017 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”

  • Agammamon
    2 March 2017 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    There was no justice offered to him.

    He was arrested for doing something that shouldn’t, in a free country, have been a crime in the first place.

    All that’s been offered to him is the opportunity to kneel before his masters and submit or be destroyed.

    You’re correct in that he’s in a better position to show his submission than the average person, but that’s all this is.

  • bacchys
    2 March 2017 at 9:43 pm - Reply

    That quote was the first thing to pop into my mind reading this.