Friday, May 26, 2006

The Enron Verdict

As everybody knows by now, a federal court here in Houston has found former Enron CEOs Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling guilty of a variety of counts, including conspiracy, securities fraud and wire fraud. The jurors decided that the two repeatedly lied in order to conceal accounting gimmicks and business failures that led to the 2001 collapse of the energy company, which at one time was the seventh-larget corporation in the nation. Over 5,500 people lost their jobs and billions of dollars in retirement savings also disappeared as the company crumbled. Enron's fall, which occurred at about the same time as the terrorist attacks of 9/11, sent Houston's economy into a tailspin that has only recently ended. Lay was also found guilty of several counts of bank fraud in a separate trial.

I don't have anything to say about the results of this trial that haven't been already said elsewhere. Lay and Skilling are now convicted criminals and, barring a successful appeal, both are looking at a long time - perhaps the rest of their lives - in federal prison.

But I do have a humorous footnote to add to the whole Enron debacle. It comes in the form of a rejection letter Lori received in the summer of 2001, while she was sending out resumes in advance of her final semester of business school at UNT. We like to think of it as the "best rejection letter anyone ever received." Note that it's dated August 16, 2001: one day after whistleblower Sherron Waktins's famous memo to Ken Lay regarding the company's twisted and devious accounting schemes that marked the beginning of the end of Enron.

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