What of those high-rolling CEOs who are fond of saying, “You journalists have no idea what it’s like to run a Fortune 500 company.” Those hefty salaries are to compensate them for managing all the risks they take, they say. No big bucks, no big dividends.
But, Ken buddy, you can rationalize greed any way you want, but what you did at Enron is still a crime. If you claim ignorance or if you knew every detail, what you did was a crime. So suck up, pal. You’re going to the slammer. And if you write a book, may it be about your grief over the misery and anguish you allowed to happen.
Kenneth Lee “Ken” Lay, an American businessman, best known for his role in the widely reported corruption scandal that led to the downfall of Enron Corporation. Lay and Enron became synonymous with corporate abuse and accounting fraud when the scandal broke in 2001. Lay was the CEO and chairman of Enron from 1985 until his resignation on January 23, 2002, except for a few months in 2000 when he was chairman and Jeffrey Skilling was chief executive officer (CEO). He took a regional natural gas pipeline business and turned it into a energy conglomerate with a market capitalization of $70 billion, betting the future on unregulated energy markets.
On July 7, 2004, Lay was indicted by a grand jury on 11 counts of securities fraud and related charges. On January 31, 2006, following four and a half years of preparation by government prosecutors, Lay’s and Skilling’s trial began in Houston. Lay was found guilty on May 25, 2006, of 10 counts against him; the judge dismissed the 11th. Because each count carried a maximum 5- to 10-year sentence, legal experts said Lay could have faced 20 to 30 years in prison. However, he died while vacationing in Snowmass, Colorado, on July 5, 2006, about three and a half months before his scheduled October 23 sentencing. Preliminary autopsy reports state that he died of a heart attack caused by coronary artery disease. As a result of his death, on October 17, 2006, the federal district court judge who presided over the case vacated Lay’s conviction. There have been conspiracy theories surrounding his death.