And says what you figured he’d say: ‘It’s somebody else’s fault.’
Kenny-Boy Lay, ex-CEO of Enron and the chief architect of its rise and fall, has been invisible in the two years since his company imploded but his trial is finally approaching and now he wants to talk–to ‘tell his side’.
Mr. Lay said that he had remained silent on the advice of lawyers, but is coming forward now to explain his views of a story that he says has become infused with myths. While not saying so explicitly, he suggested that he was motivated by a desire to tell his side both to the prosecutors on the Justice Department’s Enron Task Force who have been investigating him and the citizens of Houston who may well sit in judgment on him.
In other words, he wants a crack at some pre-trial spin, hoping to influence jurors before they’re chosen since it’s illegal to try to influence them afterward. That’s the corporate mind for you.
Beginning with the standard corporate line of defense (you’ll recognize it–Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush have all used it, and more than once), “I take full responsibility for what happened at Enron. But saying that, I know in my mind that I did nothing criminal,” Lay went on to shoulder that responsibility in the standard, time-honored corporate way–by shoving it off on somebody else.
“At our core, regrettably, we had a chief financial officer and a few other people who, in fact, mismanaged the company’s balance sheet and finances and enriched themselves in a way that once we got into a stressful environment in the marketplace, the company collapsed.”
So it’s really all Andy Fastow’s fault and poor Kenny-Boy, the CEO, was totally out of the loop and knew nothing about all the skullduggery that was going on right under his nose. All he did was sign the papers and give the orders that set up the dummy partnerships and the ghost accounts and the bogus sales and…and…and…
Mr. Lay labels criticisms of that set-up as 20-20 hindsight, created only because the world now knows that Mr. Fastow used the vehicles to manipulate Enron’s earnings and loot the company, all without his knowledge, Mr. Lay said.”At the time it seemed the appropriate thing to do,” he said. “And I had no reason to doubt or distrust Fastow.”
But legal experts dismiss the entire venture as foolhardy from inception. “It’s just not common sense thinking,” said John J. Fahy, a former federal prosecutor now with Fahy Choi in Rutherford, N. J. “Your C.F.O. cannot be put in a position where he is in conflict with the company. He is simply too important. The idea is just crazy.”
But Poor Kenny, he really didn’t understand any of that. They told him to sign and he signed. He was just the CEO, what could he do?
Kenny? For $100 I’ll pretend I believe that’s possible. For $500 I’ll pretend it’s plausible. For an even $1K I’ll pretend that I don’t think you’re a lying sack of corporate scum ready to lynch your employees to save your own greedy ass or a hypocritical tapeworm trying to don the mantle of the underdog after lording it over the peasants for years as the Boss Hog with the Heart of Blue Steel, cunning, ruthless, an endless bag of tricks up your sleeve.
On second thought, you better make that $5K. I don’t think I’d be believable for just one.
This is the guy who thought walking into the Oval Office to tell the putative Pres of the US who to pick as energy czar was the way things were supposed to be, as if corporate control of govt decisions and over policy-makers was his god-given right and democratic elections an inconvenient annoyance that could safely be dismissed as a ‘legal technicality that needn’t concern us’. Now, right before his trial begins, he wants to make like he’s an innocent dupe. As Phaedrus would say, ‘Yeah, yeah. When the Pope shits in the woods and pigs fly.’