FinancialNews.com is jumping into the Enron fray with a post updating readers about the “Enron cast.” It isn’t the first time I’ve heard that strange vernacular, but it always rankles. The executives – and workers for that matter – were not characters in a play or daytime soap drama, but actual people. It is wrong to frame them as “cast” or “characters” as the article frames them:
Incidentally are we trading billionaires now? That is a teensy market.
Sayeth the article:
Jeff Skilling, chief executive (February 2001- August 2001), previously chief operating officer and president
Skilling is currently serving a 24-year jail sentence for fraud and insider trading, but the former Enron chief executive is continuing to push his case for innocence through the US legal system. His lawyers have fought a series of battles at various levels of seniority in the US court system, and on various grounds of appeal.
His latest challenge came in September this year, when lawyers filed an appeal against an April 2011 ruling that upheld a potential error in the guidance that led to his 2006 conviction.
He had appealed the 19 out of 28 charges he was sentenced for in 2006 all the way up to the US Supreme Court last year. His lawyers challenged ruling based on the guidance given to the jury that asked them to consider whether he had deprived his company of intangible honest services. The US Supreme Court found on June 24, 2010, that he had not violated the honest services rule as he had not solicited or accepted bribes or kickbacks, but rather he conspired to defraud Enron’s shareholders by other means.
The US Supreme Court then passed its ruling down to the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to consider whether this should alter his conviction. The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled this April that it should not alter his conviction. It is this ruling that Skilling’s lawyers are currently appealing.
Skilling’s son, John Taylor Skilling, 20, died in February this year. Jeff Skilling was not allowed out of prison to attend the funeral.
His law firm was unavailable for comment at time of going to press.
I cringe when I read these things about his family. His son’s death was impossibly tragic. I feel like children of executives (or anyone in the public eye for that matter) are off-limits. They didn’t choose their parents and they don’t have anything to do with their parents’ actions. JT’s death is sacred, and journalists and others just toss it around like it is nothing. It deserves more reverence than it is ever given. It seems like it is used salaciously, to attract the idle curious, and not actually people who care to know what Jeff Skilling is really about. The only alternative I can think of is not to discuss it at all. It is none of our business. It is a deep and intensely private pain that Jeff Skilling and his family will have to heal from, without it being rehashed in the news.
Ken Lay, chief executive and chairman (January 1987- February 2001, August 2001- January 2002)
Lay was convicted of 10 counts of fraud and conspiracy in two cases against him on May 25 2006 and faced up to 165 years in prison. He was due to be sentenced on October 23 2006. However, he died of a heart attack while on holiday skiing in rural Colorado in July 2006.
Following his death, a federal judge vacated Lay’s conviction, wiping out the jury verdict. US District Judge Sim Lake agreed with Lay’s lawyers that his death required his conviction be erased. They cited a 2004 ruling that found that a defendant’s death pending appeal extinguished his entire case, as he hadn’t had a full opportunity to challenge the conviction.
So that’s where he is? That’s what he’s up to? This is inane. It just rehashing old facts. It bothers me, and I’m not sure why. I just know it does.
Andrew Fastow, chief financial officer (March 1988 – October 2001)
Fastow, who will celebrate his 50th birthday on December 22, faced a 10-year prison term but was given a six-year sentence, handed down on September 26, 2006, as a result of cooperation with prosecutors.
He is now serving the final weeks of his prison sentence and is due to be released on December 17, when he will begin two years of probation. He will have served just shy of five years and three months.
Earlier this year, he was moved from prison to a halfway house in Houston in preparation of his release. He is allowed to leave the home for work, medical and religious reasons.
He is currently working full-time as a “document review clerk” for the law firm that defended him in civil matters over the last decade, Smyser Kaplan & Veselka. The Houston-based firm confirmed he was a full-time employee. He was not available for comment.
Rehashed almost word for word from Tom Fowler’s Houston Chronicle article.
J Clifford Baxter, chief strategy officer (1992 – May 2001)
Cliff Baxter committed suicide on January 25, 2002, after being subpoenaed by a Congressional committee investigating Enron which he was expected to give evidence to.
He had been named in a letter from whistleblower Sherron Watkins as an executive who had complained about the ethics of some Enron transactions. He was also named in several law suits against Enron, but was not at the forefront of the scandal.
Again, is that where he is?
Lou Pai, chief executive of Enron Energy Services (March 1997 – May 2001)
Pai is the founder and chairman of Element Markets, a renewable energy company that is now home to several former Enron senior employees.
He had resigned from Enron six months before it filed for bankruptcy. Pai cashed out almost $300m in Enron stock in May 2001– just before the company’s collapse.
In July 2008 he agreed with the SEC to pay $31.5m in fines and disgorged profits, including $6m previously forfeited for the benefit of Enron shareholders. The SEC alleged that Pai sold Enron stock in May and June 2001 on the basis of material, non-public information concerning Enron. Pai simultaneously settled with the SEC without admitting or denying the allegations.
Lou Pai was never accused (criminally) of anything. Therefore, he’s a private citizen. I don’t know why people insist on updating us on him. He’s doing private citizen stuff. Leave him alone.
Rick Causey, chief accounting officer (1999 – April 2002)
The former top accountant at Enron pleaded guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy charges and agreed to testify against Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling. He was released in October this year, after going to prison in January 2007.
He now advertises himself on professional networking website LinkedIn as an independent accounting professional who has “experienced first-hand the accounting, finance, corporate governance and cultural issues that can impact a company”.
Again, almost a cut and paste from Tom Fowler’s article in the Houston Chronicle.
Rebecca Mark-Jusbasche, chief executive of Enron International (1996 – August 2000)
Mark-Jusbasche resigned her post at Enron in August 2000 and sold her stock in the company for $80m just before its collapse. She was never accused of wrongdoing in the ensuing series of prosecutions
But in early 2005 she agreed to pay $5.2m made from the sale of her shares in Enron to settle her share of a lawsuit brought by former Enron stockholders. She was one of 18 named defendants in a lawsuit brought by the University of California, the lead plaintiff for investors in Enron, in a $186m case.
She is currently the president of a company called Resource Development Partners, an oil and gas consultancy firm. She is also on the advisory board of Plebys International, an emerging market-focused venture capital firm.
Again, private citizen. Her life is her own business.
Sherron Watkins, vice president of corporate development (1993 – November 2002)
Watkins was the whistleblower in the Enron scandal when she warned Ken Lay in an anonymous letter that Enron would “implode in a wave of accounting scandals”. Her letter led to an investigation by Enron’s law firm Vinson & Elkins.
She has co-authored a book called Power Failure: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron, and is a public speaker on Enron and ethics in business.
She now makes a living through public speaking and consultancy through her advisory firm, Sherron Watkings & Company.
And she’s an insider trader. Please quit leaving out that part. And – show of hands – who else is sick to death of seeing her as the unofficial spokesperson for All Things Enron? She was a low level employee. She never led anyone, not a group or a person. She knew nothing. And apparently still knows nothing.
Vincent J Kaminski, managing director for research (1992 – 2002)
Kaminski was managing director for research at Enron and warned that Fastow’s SPVs were unethical and could bring down the company.
After Enron, he worked at hedge fund Citadel Investment Group, Reliant Energy and Sempra Energy. He has also worked at Citigroup.
He is currently a professor at Rice University in Houston and teaches MBA level classes on energy markets, risk management and valuation of energy derivatives. He is also a capital markets consultant.
And he is a private citizen who was never charged with anything so none of this is any of our beeswax.
Ben Glisan, corporate treasurer 2000 – November 2001
Glisan was the first Enron executive to go to prison after he pleaded guilty in 2003 to conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud.
He was released from home confinement in January 2007, making him the first Enron executive to be released.
He is the owner of Pinyon Advisors, a Texas-based financial services firm.
Rehashed from 2007.
John Arnold, trader 1995 – 2002
Arnold was one Enron employee who has gone on to stellar status. Having never been associated with any wrongdoing at his former firm, he left Enron in his early 20s after it collapsed in 2002.
But he had been paid an $8m bonus for his performance in 2001, and used the funds to set up Centaurus Advisors, a hedge fund specialising in energy products. Since its launch, Centaurus has returned at least 80% every year.
He is now a hedge fund star, and ranked number five on Fortune’s 40 under 40 list for 2011 with an estimated fortune of $4bn.
Last year, Arnold joined a list of 40 billionaires to sign up to the “Giving Pledge”, a drive by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates to get billionaires to donate the majority of their wealth to charity.
Private citizen. None of our business.
Greg Whalley, president and chief operating officer of Enron Wholesale Services August 2001 – January 2002
Whalley joined John Arnold at Centaurus. Last year, Whalley attended a Commodity Futures Trading Commission meeting on the Dodd Frank act on position limits rules for Centaurus, CFTC records show.
Nobody in this article was quoted. It says at the top that they “contacted those involved” so I wonder if ANYONE would talk to Financial News. It doesn’t appear to be the case; I could be wrong, but there was absolutely nothing here that isn’t already on the internet.
I am starved for a new perspective on Enron — and happy to contribute to it. But rehashing the same old junk over and over again is doing nothing to further the study of Enron, or help the people involved, or even educate the public.
I want more from my media.