The whole sentence is "He drained the medallion company of all the cash he could and lit out for Israel, leaving his company as a shell in the rearview mirror." I've already searched and understood what a shell of a rearview mirror is. But I cannot find the connection of it to the "leaving" part.

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    It's called a mixed metaphor. – Robusto Sep 17 '20 at 22:46
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    It might be helpful to know that some shell animals (e.g. hermit crabs) leave their shells behind at some points in their life, which is what the quote alludes to. He was using the company as long as it was useful and then discarded it when it no longer suited him. – Morfildur Sep 18 '20 at 10:53

They are two separate thoughts, the company is left "as a shell", in other words it has been hollowed out by draining it of cash.

When you leave something behind you can, perhaps, see it in your rearview mirror of your car.

Of course the man in question didn't head to Israel from the USA in a car, so it's a metaphor. And, as Robusto points out, so is the "shell" so it's a mixed metaphor.

This particular one combines two reasonably compatible metaphors, but mixed metaphors can be absurd.

  • Great. That helped a lot. :) – minoosalesi Sep 18 '20 at 7:18
  • While an admirable and perfect answer, it's best to just migrate Learning questions to the Learning site – Fattie Sep 18 '20 at 13:21
  • @Fattie yes, probably. – Spehro Pefhany Sep 18 '20 at 13:28
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    @alephzero I'm aware of the jargon, in fact you can purchase existing shell joint-stock companies ("shelf companies") for various legitimate and illegitimate purposes. I don't think that changes the claim that it's a metaphor. A shell without contents. – Spehro Pefhany Sep 18 '20 at 15:25
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    @alephzero That doesn't seem to be the way the term is being used in the quote. One employee, or even high-level executive, leaving the company wouldn't make it a shell company. – Barmar Sep 18 '20 at 15:59

In accounting and finance, "shell" is a technical term, not a metaphor or jargon. It refers to a corporation that has no assets, not even stock in another corporation. This company seems to own a taxi medallion. This is a valuable asset, but it can't be seized by creditors, so the company is a "shell" from their point of view.

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