From 10 billion to 64 billion in assets in 10 years – a growth spurt
fueled by arrogance, intolerance, greed, and deliberate criminal behavior –
that’s the Enron story.
It is presented in this responsible documentary with clips of the company
officers speaking first for public consumption and later under oath.
Be warned that about half way through this genuinely frightening journey,
you may feel your throat tightening with rage.
It took only ten days for the whole corrupt pyramid to collapse in the
largest corporate bankruptcy in history.
This is a story about people and greed, not primarily about the numbers
that were manipulated with cunning until executive pockets were lined with gold.
The real scandal lies in the behavior of the ravenous officers as their
company began to implode - every man for himself, no voice for the employees or
The smartest guys in this room are Andrew Fastow, CFO, who devised the
partnership schemes that won approval from the company’s prestigious law and
accounting firms, Jeffrey Skilling, president and willing accomplice, and CEO,
and Kenneth B. Lay who founded Enron in 1985 to capitalize on the deregulation
of the natural gas industry.
Skilling set the tone for Enron’s macho culture – “Rank and
Yank,” a ratings system that regularly caused the firing of 15% of the
and Dump,” pump the stock and dump it to take your own profits.
When Skilling had lasix surgery; the lemmings followed.
When Skilling encouraged a culture of extreme adventure, the boys
followed him on motorcycle trips.
Stitches, crutches and broken bones became merit badges.
quickly grew to be the country’s biggest wholesaler of natural gas, creating a
contained market. To deal in that market, you had to deal with Enron.
When the rotten core began to ooze, the captains of the company ships
sold out fast.
While Enron plunged into $30 billion of debt, they still reported
partnerships were buried in debt and losses, and the lawyers, bankers, and
accountants never called a halt.
They just took the money.
When the smartest guys in the room learned how to create artificial
shortages of power in the California energy crisis, they “yanked California on
its leash.” And
while California forest fires raged, the men in the Enron control room watched
it on TV and gloated, “Burn, baby, burn.”
The criminal quagmire was finally discovered by Sharon Watkins who blew
the whistle that started the quick collapse of the company.
The company froze stock sales to employees, giving the executives time to
take their own profits, reopening the market to the employees at $9.00 per
than 20,000 people lost jobs and benefits.
Executives got 55 million in bonuses and the high value of their stock.
The venerable Arthur Andersen and Co. went down; Fastow and Skilling were convicted; Lay will be tried this fall, and 29,000 employees are jobless, 20,000 of them without health insurance.
Copyright (c) Illusion
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