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Enron's Kenneth Lay Dies 868

Don420 writes "This morning the biggest corporate criminal in modern history, Kenneth Lay, died of a massive coronary before he could receive his sentence. Lay was found guilty of being in charge of the scheme that had many lose their live-savings through a scheme of complex offshore holdings and is to thank for our having to live with Sarbanes-Oxely." From the article: "Enron filed for bankruptcy in December 2001 after investigators found it had used partnerships to conceal more than $1 billion in debt and inflate profits. Enron's downfall cost 4,000 employees their jobs and many of them their life savings, and led to billions of dollars of losses for investors."
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Enron's Kenneth Lay Dies

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  • by MrSquirrel ( 976630 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:56PM (#15661808)
    He did not grow Enron from nothing, it was simply a merger of two large energy corporations:
    "Lay worked in the early '70s as a federal energy regulator. He then became undersecretary for the Department of the Interior before he returned to the business world as an executive at Florida Gas. By the Reagan administration, when energy was deregulated, Lay was already an energy company executive and he took advantage of the new climate by merging Houston Natural Gas Co. with Nebraska-based Inter-North to form Enron in 1985." []
  • by UbuntuDupe ( 970646 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:58PM (#15661828) Journal
    A lot of people lost their ... life savings because of him.

    Nobody was obligated to put their own money into Enron's 401k plan (and therefore into Enron stock). Anyone who invested more than 15% of their portfolio into it was probably warned several times of the risk in doing so. He may certainly have been responsible for them losing *their Enron stock's value*, but they had no excuse for making it such a big chunk of their investments. Ken Lay did not make them invest such a huge fraction in Enron.
  • by myth_of_sisyphus ( 818378 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @03:08PM (#15661926)
    At the end of the dotcom bubble I was working in downtown San Francisco. We used to have rolling blackouts and everybody would leave the building for a couple hours and enjoy themselves. Anyways, the servers weren't running and nobody was making money (except for the CEOs, they always make money.)

    I asked my brother, an electrician at a Bay Area biotech, what the hell was going on and he didn't know.

    It turns out that this fucking company Enron was turning off power-plants willy-nilly so they could profit off the spike in energy consumption somehow. So, while hospitals and grandma Millie are sitting in the dark these jackasses in Texas are laughing their asses off all the way to the bank.

    It also turns out that our pussy governor could have sent the National Guard to ONE fucking powerplant and took it over. When the assholes from Enron call to take it offline they would pick up the phone: "could you turn the power off so we can spike the grid and make a lot of money?" "Uhhhh, this is Col. Soandso of the California National Guard. Who's this?" "Nevermind..." hangup. (Enron stops shenanigans.)

    Oh well, Ken Lay, may you rot in the eighth circle of Dante's Hell: reserved for those guilty of deliberate fraudulent evil.
  • One Word: SARBOX (Score:3, Informative)

    by shrubya ( 570356 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @03:10PM (#15661939) Homepage Journal
    Enron is very relevant to the huge amount of auditing infrastructure that so many IT grunts were required to add to their corporate systems in the past few years.
  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @03:11PM (#15661943) Journal
    And even then, do not believe it. It is fairly easy to substitue another body with a little bit of makeup. If you really wish to know, then you only have one way to know; DNA.
  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @03:18PM (#15662007)
    > So were Carlon Ponzi and Reed Slatkin. It's a common trait among perps in the con game.

    So is everyone in elected office. It's a common trait among perps in the con game.

  • by plague3106 ( 71849 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @03:20PM (#15662032)
    Care to tell us all exactly what he did to deserve punishment? I ask only because I think you don't personally know.

    He was the CEO of a company that defrauded thousands of people?

    Nice trick with that book though; it was written in response to the SOX laws which came about AFTER the Enron fiasco. So implying that this guy couldn't act morally because of the law is bogus.
  • What crapola. From the CNN article...

    A spokeswoman for Aspen Valley Hospital confirmed that Lay arrived at the hospital at 1:41 a.m. MT and was pronounced dead at 3:11 a.m. MT.

    In a statement, the Pitkin County Sheriff's office said a coroner's autopsy is pending and autopsy results will be available later this week.

    There goes that theory, unless everyone at the hospital including the coroner is being brought in on the conspiracy.

  • by bluemeany271828 ( 984911 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @03:28PM (#15662108)
    After seeing "The Smartest Guys in the Room" and learning about how he screwed honest people out of their life-long savings, this SOB should be rotting in a jail cell. One worker in the movie had $300,000 in company stock (his entire life savings) in his 401k - and had to cash it in for $1200. The guy was in his late 50's. I'm just sad nobody choked him like a bitch before he died. A heart attack was just too easy for this scumbag.
  • AKA... (Score:3, Informative)

    by stimpleton ( 732392 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @03:41PM (#15662247)
    ...and that they[work collegues] felt devoted to him.

    These devottees are otherwise known as faithfull lieutenants.

    ...needed when ones business growth is to progress beyond stage three.
  • by zaphod_es ( 613312 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @03:48PM (#15662324)
    A guy eulogizes someone who he had a good deal of respect for and you piss on his grave.

    Ugh! Right where I was planning to dance ... the dirty b*****d!
  • by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @03:57PM (#15662405) Homepage
    Also see how the present administration was complicit in the California Energy Crisis.

    Explain please. Sounds like your spreading FUD. Wiki covers this issue fairly well here [].
  • by twasserman ( 878174 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @04:15PM (#15662568)
    It's the cost of compliance that is so bad. If you are a huge company, say Exxon, with its $10 Billion quarterly profit, then you can afford to pay for the accountants, lawyers, IT auditors, and others needed to assure compliance. I would guess that Exxon pays $10M/quarter for this, about $0.1% of their profits. But if you are a software company with $25M in annual revenue and maybe $2M in annual profit before taxes, with hopes of going public, then the cost of SarbOx compliance makes it nearly impossible to do so. It's hard to spend less than $500K annually and satisfy the SarbOx requirements. For a small company, this amounts to at least 25% of earnings, which reduces the likely value of their stock, since investors tend to focus on price/earnings ratios. I was told that SarbOx was an important reason why JBoss decided to be acquired rather than try to go public on their own.
  • by TheKnightWhoSaysNi ( 871455 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @04:23PM (#15662638)
    "The reason why these people ignored this bedrock of finance is because Enron's stock once did quite well."

    If I remember correctly, employees were "encouraged" to show their loyalty by investing a lot of their 401k's in Enron.
    "Enron limited employees' investment freedom from the start by matching their contributions only with company stock and by preventing employees from selling that stock until age 50." /401k/index.html?pn=2/ []
  • by Yekrats ( 116068 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @04:24PM (#15662646) Homepage
    Where did it all go, friend?

    Well, I know you will be shocked (SHOCKED!) to find out that a good chunk of dough (to the tune of several hundred-thousand dollars) went to Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. []
  • by Bastian ( 66383 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @04:28PM (#15662681)
    I doubt it was cholesterol either... as he would have been on any medication around to stop that.

    It seems to me that you're suggesting that people who are on cholesterol medication never die of coronary heart disease. Really, they only lower the mortality rate by about 10%, making them less effective than a good cholesterol reduction diet. [] Of course, neither is a magic bullet - he could have been on Lipitor and eating Ornish and he'd still be under a high risk of dying from heart disease if he already had off-the-wall cholesterol levels.
  • by jdray ( 645332 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @04:48PM (#15662843) Homepage Journal
    It's a lesson learned. The stock devaluation was hard to swallow, but, as you say, made by greed. What about the part where we were locked out of our 401K accounts when the stock was worth $22 a share and plummeting? We could have recovered some, or at least stopped the bleeding. By the time we were allowed back into our accounts to redistribute the money, there wasn't any left.
  • Re:Farewell Ken (Score:2, Informative)

    by Keichann ( 888574 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @04:51PM (#15662859)
    Don't mod up for creativity! It's Byron, the original is:

            Posterity will ne'er survey
            A nobler grave than this:
            Here lie the bones of Castlereagh:
            Stop, traveller, and piss.

    The meter and intention were too perfect to pass on though. Byron really is excellent though, and well worth a read.
  • by aztektum ( 170569 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @05:30PM (#15663108)
    It says right in the article "In a statement, the Pitkin County Sheriff's office said a coroner's autopsy is pending and autopsy results will be available later this week."

  • Re:they're right! (Score:3, Informative)

    by pVoid ( 607584 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @06:24PM (#15663415)
    Not only that, he probably still had his rolse royce and 3 mansions and airplane, and now that he's dead, his family's inherited it all, and there's nobody left to sue.

    I'm already jaded as it is, bu tthis is like a cherry on top of the whipped cream.

  • by calstraycat ( 320736 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @06:37PM (#15663488)
    Anyway, the main reason for those California blackouts was poor public policy: Holding residential rates constant while forcing companies to buy power on the spot market, often selling power at a loss. Meanwhile prohibiting building new power plants to satisfy the environmental lobby.

    How did this steaming pile of lies and deflection of true responsibility get moded to 5?

    The "it's the environmentalists fault" explanation has been completely discredited. The state has more than enough capacity. Enron and other energy-related concerns were deliberately shutting down generating plants to create a phony energy shortage.

    But, go ahead and continue to spread the lies. Given the moderation you received, many still want to believe that fault lies with it's those damned tree huggin' hippies rather than criminals like Lay.
  • by Khammurabi ( 962376 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @06:45PM (#15663523)
    Good Riddance.
    Um, does anyone know whether the gov't seized all his assets before he croaked? Because if they didn't, his heirs might just try to take what's left "while the body's still warm". I haven't heard of passing a sentence on a dead body before, but I'm sure there's a legal battle in there somewhere that lawyers are chomping at the bit to get in on.

    I'd hate for "Kenny-Boy" to get the last laugh on America, you know, by dying early.

"The pyramid is opening!" "Which one?" "The one with the ever-widening hole in it!" -- The Firesign Theatre