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Enron's Kenneth Lay Dies

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the so-long-and-thanks-for-all-the-sarbox dept.

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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Another perspective on Ken Lay... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15661695)

Ken Lay was a regular rags-to-riches story. He grew up in Missouri and he was a son of a preacher. He was one of five children, and he grew this whole company, Enron, from nothing. Former employees told us constantly throughout the Enron trial that it was a great place to work, and that they felt devoted to him. They liked his friendliness. They liked his kind of folksiness. They liked his charm. But of course throughout the trial, he proclaimed that he was innocent throughout the trial and seemed very surprised when the verdict came in. We would see him come in every day. He is a man of tradition. He always wore a blue suit and he had the white shirt and the red tie. And he would always be a man of tradition. He would mingle with the people that were outside. His former employees. One employee that was so devoted to him that every day he came into court he would escort him into the courthouse. That was what the employees thought of him. They always thought that he was truly not the man behind all the scandal that they were being accused of and it seemed like he was even surprised the day of the verdict. He came out and talked to us. He seemed very friendly. We saw him when the verdict was coming in. He rushed to court from his office. He was always trying to work, do other things. He was not thinking that this would be the roadblock in his life. Ken lay was very friendly to us as the media, always willing to talk to us either on the way into court or on the way leaving court, despite what had happened in court at the time that day. We are now understanding that the most recent development in the Enron case was the Enron task force had asked for $183 million from both Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling to be part of the financial penalty in the case when the sentencing would happen this september.

Re:Another perspective on Ken Lay... (5, Insightful)

calbanese (169547) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661735)

Ted Bundy was polite and charming too.

Re:Another perspective on Ken Lay... (4, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661794)

So were Carlon Ponzi and Reed Slatkin. It's a common trait among perps in the con game.

-jcr

"He Didn't Fall..." (4, Interesting)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661963)

"He was pushed... They "Cliff Baxter'd" Kenny. You know Cliff, he's the guy who committed suicide with the wildly innacurate and seldom lethal shot cartridges, that also make it forensically challenging to plot ballistic trajectory.

Kenny-boy suggested the VP role for Cheney to the Shrub. He was part of the "energy taskforce" that they are so desparate to keep under wraps. Like Dr. Kelly... Like... The list is big and convenient.

Or did his poor heart break, because it was too good for this world? I don't think so!

Another crony about to sing like a Canary to cop a plea...

Re:Another perspective on Ken Lay... (5, Funny)

vancondo (986849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661806)

Ted Bundy was polite and charming too.

Well that does it! No more hanging around polite charming people for me. From now on I'm only going to associate with people that have demonic beady eyes and fresh blood dripping from their chin.

..unless the polite charming people also have a lot of money

Re:Another perspective on Ken Lay... (2, Insightful)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661863)

I don't know about the fresh blood, but most demonic beady eyed people are just morons, from my personal experience, and not actually bad people.
Either way, someone who looks dangerous doesn't get away with many crimes, so if they look dangerous and act that way too, they are probably already behind bars.

Re:Another perspective on Ken Lay... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15661930)

And from experience, when you look "menacing" you also don't get away with the crimes you weren't responsible for, heh...

Re:Another perspective on Ken Lay... (4, Funny)

93,000 (150453) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661865)

Well that does it! No more hanging around polite charming people for me. From now on I'm only going to associate with people that have demonic beady eyes and fresh blood dripping from their chin.

Hello new friend! Wanna go throw rocks at my neighors cat?

Re:Another perspective on Ken Lay... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15661973)

Well that does it! No more hanging around polite charming people for me. From now on I'm only going to associate with people that have demonic beady eyes and fresh blood dripping from their chin.
Well, you're at the right place. Hm... maybe not blood-dripping chin, but, "what, we splitting hairs here?!"

Re:Another perspective on Ken Lay... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15661848)

Ted Bundy was polite and charming too.

You're a dick. A guy eulogizes someone who he had a good deal of respect for and you piss on his grave. I'm not going to bother coming up with an analogy, just fuck off!

Re:Another perspective on Ken Lay... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15661791)

he grew this whole company, Enron, from nothing So what did he grow it into? Sure, it wound up at #7 on the Forbes 500, but it wound up at nothing.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say that had Enron actually stayed a "nothing", we would have been better off. A lot of people lost their jobs, and life savings because of him.

Re:Another perspective on Ken Lay... (2, Informative)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661828)

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.

Re:Another perspective on Ken Lay... (3, Informative)

MrSquirrel (976630) | more than 8 years ago | (#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."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Lay [wikipedia.org]

And let's not forget another rags-to-riches story (1)

guzzirider (551141) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661812)

Al Capone

That's nice... now stamp those plates! (5, Insightful)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661860)

Sometimes, it's the rags-to-riches types who go to these extremes, because they're deluded by their own success into believing that they can pull off just about anything, and even in their darkest hour, they've got a plan for wriggling out and turning things around. I'm sure at some point in this whole saga, Lay and Skilling and the rest had a few moments of trepidation when they were crossing the legal line, but a few rationalizations later, they're off and running and all that is in the rearview mirror.

That hard-working, affable manner doesn't excuse their crimes in the least. Let 'em put those skills to work in federal, PMITA prison.

Re:Another perspective on Ken Lay... (2, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661881)

Ken Lay was a regular rags-to-riches story. Easy to do when you are ripping off and lieing to folks. It is much more difficult to do it honestly, such as Warren Buffett. Oh well, I always thought that the man would not serve a day in prison.

Re:Another perspective on Ken Lay... (4, Insightful)

Pope (17780) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661924)

In other words, total bullshit. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Lay [wikipedia.org]

"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. He became 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,

Lay was one of America's highest-paid CEOs, earning (for example) a $42.4 million compensation package in 1999.[1] Lay sold large amounts of his Enron stock in September and October of 2001 as its price fell, while encouraging employees to buy more stock, telling them the company would rebound. Lay liquidated more than $300 million in Enron stock from 1989 to 2001, mostly in stock options."

Yeah, that's a real "built the company from nothing" story. Where's my rolleyes smiley?

Re:Another perspective on Ken Lay... (4, Interesting)

g_adams27 (581237) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661942)

The world may never know exactly how much Ken Lay was involved in the whole Enron fiasco. But although he probably wasn't nearly as devious and manipulative as CEO Jeff Skilling or CFO Andy Fastow, Ken Lay was still the captain of the ship and deserves much of the blame for Enron's collapse.

From what I've read of him, Ken had several flaws:

  1. He was far more interested in the trappings of power (luxury homes, expensive jets, etc.) than running a multi-billion-dollar company. So he let his underlings do it for him.
  2. He had a great aversion to interpersonal conflicts, so he rarely ever told anyone "no". It was common knowledge among the top execs that Ken was a pushover - just threaten to quit, and you could have whatever you wanted.
  3. Because of #1 and #2, he wouldn't or couldn't control the executives under him, who ran wild as a result.
  4. I tend to suspect that the oh-so-clever accounting techniques and special purpose entities Andrew Fastow cooked up to keep Enron's debts off their books was far more complicated than Ken could understand. (They're certainly too much for my little brain.) But instead of asking tough questions, Ken just shrugged and signed off on them.

So although Ken may not have been the greedy manipulator that his underlings were, he reminds me a lot of a pleasant, but wimpy and passive dad who's let his children run wild with no discipline from their earliest days, then protests that he's not to blame when they turn into terrors 10-15 years later.

For a fascinating account of the rise and fall of Enron, I would highly recommend the book The Smartest Guys In the Room [amazon.com] . You don't have to understand all the arcane ins-and-outs of accounting to follow the story, which really is pretty fascinating. (I believe there's a documentary movie based on the book as well...)

Re:Another perspective on Ken Lay... (1)

proudhawk (124895) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661988)

well, all those qualities just made him a better "social engineer" is all.
When it comes right down to it, he was still a con man.

As a republican, I'd like to say... (3, Insightful)

Tyten (726456) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661698)

Good Riddance.

How Convenient... (4, Interesting)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661703)


Kenneth Lay tragically passes away due to a massive heart attack before he receives his sentence. Impeccable timing...

Two possible scenarios (in addition to the official version of events) come immediately to mind:

  • Ken was going to roll over on Dubya & Company, and was 'neutralized',
      - or -
  • Ken faked his own death and is currently laughing himself sick under a palm tree somewhere.


Either scenario seems equally likely, and much more likely than 'Ken keeled over because he couldn't keep his LDLs in check'.

Re:How Convenient... (1, Insightful)

Capt'n Hector (650760) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661723)

how 'bout "Ken committed suicide rather than face sentencing"?

Re:How Convenient... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15661817)

Coincidence? [wikipedia.org]

Hrm....

Re:How Convenient... (1)

Quirk (36086) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661758)

Will his family or other beneficiary receive a life insurance pay out? Maybe his "heart attack" was a last perk.

Re:How Convenient... (1)

base3 (539820) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661786)

The proceeds of any such insurance should be seized to pay the victims of his fraud.

Re:How Convenient... (0, Flamebait)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661767)

Either scenario seems equally likely, and much more likely than 'Ken keeled over because he couldn't keep his LDLs in check'.

It's only 'much more likely' if you're a paranoia spewing Slashdot fool.

Re:How Convenient... (5, Insightful)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661773)

You're kidding right...? The guy is 64 years old and has been dealing with a high stress situation for 5 years. I don't suppose that could have anything to do with it.

But hey, let's jump to the completely absurd conspiracy assumption as "much more likely" than the fact that "coronary heart disease (CHD) is the single leading cause of death in America." (American Heart Association, 2003 study).

I'll leave open the possibility of suicide, but I think it unlikely. There are far more convenient ways to kill yourself.

Re:How Convenient... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15661789)

How about, He just died.

Shiv happens men...not everything is a conspiracy. Tragic for his family...

Re:How Convenient... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15661824)

"not everything is a conspiracy"
That's EXACTLY what THEY want you to think!

Damn Right! (5, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661799)

Sure, nobody just keels over and dies from a heart attack. That never happens. And anybody who talks about "stress factors" like being pilloried in front of millions of people or facing spending the rest of his life in prison, is just spreading misinformation. And if you mention the fact that he was in his 60s, you've just got your head up your ass.

Re:How Convenient... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15661815)

That was the first thought that came to my mind as well. I'm just not buying that he's dead.

This is a comment I read on another site: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15661830)

Is he REALLY dead?

Most of his cash "vanished" shortly before his arrest, and his assets were never frozen.

When Lay collapsed, his personal assistant called Lay's personal doctor, not an ambulance. It was Lay's personal physician who pronounced Lay dead.

Lay's will, revised just a couple of months ago, calls for his cremation, and his widow was out of the country when he died. She's reportedly having medical complications from "The shock of her belove husband's sudden death." As a result, she's not expected to return to the states for the funeral.

Details on who signed the death certificate are fuzzy, but there are no plans for an autopsy. He's scheduled for cremation tomorrow morning.

Any bets there's no actual body in the casket, or if there is, it's not Ken Lay's?

Re:This is a comment I read on another site: (1)

Lendrick (314723) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661858)

Original source, please?

Re:How Convenient... (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661839)

The latter is a distinct possibility (although I'm still leaning towards natual causes).

But look at it this way: you have millions of dollars available to you and you are facing what is effectively a life sentence. You're out on bond, so you could run (but there's no way you could just run). So why not grease some fingers, fake your death (heart attack is possibly the most reliable if you've set it up right), and run away to some place out of the way. Maybe even include some plastic surgery.

It's possible, although I'm leaning against this being true.

First he shorts the market, then the world (1)

ThumpSlice (812760) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661885)

Did he take out a few short-term personal loans to increase the irony?

Re:How Convenient... (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661889)

That's the dumbest idea I ever heard.

It was Bill and Hillary Clinton who killed him, of course.

Re:How Convenient... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15661916)

I really hope this is a parody post.

or C) (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661918)

A 64 year old man after years of extremely stresssful situation has a heart attack.

The time to 'turnover' anyone passed years ago.

God's Gift (1)

antifood (898331) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661704)

But to whom?

bye bye baby (0)

chriscappuccio (80696) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661705)

see you in hell!

Re:bye bye baby (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15661739)

You'll be there too, eh?

Re:bye bye baby (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661912)

Well, if he is not a confirmed morman who tithes, confirmed catholic who tithes, one of the lucky 7'th day 12000, and all at the same time, then yes, he will go to hell.

Re:bye bye baby (1)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661792)

Wow. I sure hope not.

Re:bye bye baby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15661952)

(from heaven!)

Re:bye bye baby (1)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661967)

It did brighten up my day to find out the he is now being raped by the devil.

What a piece of shit.

KARMA (1, Funny)

cavtroop (859432) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661708)

'nuf said.

{damn /. filters}

I won't believe it.... (4, Interesting)

dr_strang (32799) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661709)

until I see a body. Just a little too convenient. /where the hell's my tinfoil hat?

Re:I won't believe it.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15661784)

I agree. And if, in fact, he IS dead, those enron employees he screwed over during his quest for riches should be allowed to piss on his carcass during an open casket funeral in front of his family.

Re:I won't believe it.... (4, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661943)

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.

good riddance (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15661727)

Cue all the Ayn Rand fanatics ranting about what a great guy he was for defrauding all those evil "collectivists" and how horrible it is that the State oppressed a hero like him.

Re:good riddance (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661809)

Jeff Walker's The Ayn Rand Cult [amazon.com] suggests that to win the favour of Rand's school, one must not only be a ruthless and free-thinking businessman, but one must also adore Rand as a person. For all the Objectivists' talk of self-reliance and independence, they really just want to pull people into their personality cult. If Ken Lay had paid his dues to Peikoff and quoted Rand on a regular basis, he'd be seen as their hero, but since he didn't, they probably don't care about him at all.

Sad news, Ken Lay dead at 64 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15661728)

Kenneth Lay, inventor and founder of Wallstreet darling Enron, was found dead in his Malibu beach house this morning. No other details were available. Even if you didn't love his funny little 10-K statements, you have to revere him as a hero beloved by all. He will be sorely missed.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15661733)

Not to be crass, but given that he was a guy of some means who was potentially looking at some serious jail time, I'd like to see his dead body before I believe it.

"Had a coronary" could be a euphamism for "on a private jet to Argentina"...

Ding dong, the witch is dead (3, Interesting)

Buran (150348) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661738)

Why is it that the ones who deserve the most punishment for what they've done always conveniently die or vanish before they can be punished?

Resurrect him, I don't care how, then punish him most painfully, then re-kill him, as far as I'm concerned.

Oh, and let's parade photos of his dead body through the streets just like we did with that dead terrorist a few months ago.

Prove he's dead.

Re:Ding dong, the witch is dead (1)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661843)

I guess he just won't be punished by us! Even though he was involved in something that ruined the livelihoods of thousands of people, I can't help but feel a little sorry for him ending this way. Even if one argues that dying now is better than jail time, some will see it as divine judgement, or the karma wheel having a turn. I don't think this is the end he would have wanted. But perhaps those who were hurt by him will sleep easier now...

Re:Ding dong, the witch is dead (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15661907)

Why is it that the ones who deserve the most punishment for what they've done always conveniently die or vanish before they can be punished?
Care to tell us all exactly what he did to deserve punishment? I ask only because I think you don't personally know.

Might I also suggest a world-view expanding book to you: Trapped: When Acting Ethically Is Against the Law [catostore.org]

A Family Coup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15661745)

Does this remove the Lay family fortune (if any) from any criminal penalties?

they're right! (4, Funny)

Trailer Trash (60756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661751)

So, now everybody here who keeps saying "Ken Lay did blah blah blah and never faced any jail time" is actually right.

I hope BSD isn't really dying...

In related news... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15661760)

Construction has begun at the Hope Memorial Cemetery to install new drainage tiles in anticipation of the 4,000+ people expected to arrive within the next week to piss on Mr. Lay's grave.

I just heard some sad news (5, Funny)

caluml (551744) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661763)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Ethical paragon Kenneth Lay was found dead in his Colorado home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to business culture. Truly an American icon.

Show me that smile again... (1)

mekkab (133181) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661880)

Mod Parent up; that was hysterical!

I bet God can't take just one! (0, Flamebait)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661770)

Dear God, for the sake of humanity, please take the rest of those corrupt Republican potato chips!

-Don

Re:I bet God can't take just one! (4, Insightful)

lbrandy (923907) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661872)

Dear God, for the sake of humanity, please take the rest of those corrupt Republican potato chips!

PS. God, no need to worry about the Democratic corrupt. We recognize that red-state/blue-state is really the fight between good and evil, and, as such, in times of people losing their entire life's savings and others dying young, the most important thing is whether or not another state switches to my color. GO TEAM GO

/sarcasm

Re:I bet God can't take just one! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15661915)

All that would leave is a bunch of corrupt Democrats.

Don't tell me they're not either. Both sides of the fence deserve the plague.

I don't know why the bastards aren't all limited to a 2-term run of office too. And WTF is up with their widows drawing their salary for the rest of their lives?

Not to mention that the lot of them vote themselves payraises every year and haven't raised the minumum wage in 5.

Two comments (0, Troll)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661771)

As others have said, it is possible he's not dead, and that this is simply a ruse to prevent prosecution.

I'll also believe the cause of Lay's death after we hear it from a coroner or a physician rather than his attorney or his priest.

Re:Two comments (1)

broco03 (937126) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661878)

A coroner and a physician can be paid off.
Make it every single coroner and physician in the country, and then I'll believe it.

Timing is Weird (1)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661779)

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

I honestly woulda thought he woulda died of a heart attack back in 2001 when they filed for bankruptcy ... not 5 years later.

Looks like instead of prison time.... (3, Funny)

gmb61 (815164) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661780)

God opted for the death penalty.

Life Insurance (4, Interesting)

Yoda2 (522522) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661793)

Interesting that any life insurance he held will still go to any named beneficiaries and cannot be tapped to help settle for any judgments/judgements against him.

Re:Life Insurance (2, Insightful)

timmyf2371 (586051) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661852)

"Two wrongs don't make a right".

Errr, no. (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661797)

...and is to thank for our having to live with Sarbanes-Oxely.

Actually, everyone who decided that Enron and a handful of others could be extrapolated to the entire US economy are the ones to thank for our having to live with Sarbanes-Oxley.

Re:Errr, no. (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661978)

Actually, everyone who decided that Enron and a handful of others could be extrapolated to the entire US economy are the ones to thank for our having to live with Sarbanes-Oxley.

Shocked! I am shocked that you would... um... say something so, well, correct, here on slashdot. Thanks.

Hoax (1)

Digitus1337 (671442) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661800)

If he faked his death, what kind of new charges would he be looking at? Fraud and conspiracy? Already pretty full on those...

Doubt it's faked... (4, Insightful)

Churla (936633) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661801)

I doubt it's faked.
I doubt it was the government, because they want to see him punished as a way of showing that they're "tackling" the problem.
I doubt it was cholesterol either... as he would have been on any medication around to stop that.

My bet is that facing a very probable "rest of your life in real actual PMITA prison" (A 20 year sentence would ahve effectively been life for a man of his age) the stress got him.

At least he saved us the tax dollars it would have cost to shelter and feed him.

Biggest Corporate Criminal? (3, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661803)

Really, Lay wasn't the architect, he just covered it up until he could figure out how to get away from the mess without it sinking him. If you want to know more about who really created the fiasco, watch Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room [imdb.com] and see. Also see how the present administration was complicit in the California Energy Crisis.

Was it worth it? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661813)

If it was possible for us to ask him a question right now (I am an atheist and don't believe in souls or god or anything,) would he have done it the same way again given a chance, I wonder what his answer would have been. Life taught me however, that no matter how much regret people feel because of something that, given a chance they would have done a better job at concealing the evidence but they most likely would have still done the same thing.

Any thoughts?

Re:Was it worth it? (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661866)

It wasn't the concealment, illegal as it was, that caused the collapse, though, was it? Even if they went back and hid the side deals better, the bankruptcy would have still happened. Man, didn't anyone see The Butterfly Event or The 4400? Reverse temporal engineering is fraught with peril!

Playing the trump card (4, Funny)

El_Smack (267329) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661819)

God for the win!!!

hummm...doubtful (2, Funny)

tloh (451585) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661831)

This morning the biggest corporate criminal in modern history, Kenneth Lay, died of a massive coronary...

You just watch... I'll bet he is lying yet once again. /duck

Joseph Mengele (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661832)

The greatest genocidal doctor in history, Joseph Mengele, also died peacefully without paying his debts.

I do believe though that their afterlives are anything but peaceful.

Re:Joseph Mengele (1, Offtopic)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661886)

The greatest genocidal doctor in history...

I thought that was Dr. Phil?

Is there *ANY* event... (4, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661834)

...these days that does not bring out the conspiracy yahoos?

Seriously, some days I just want to punch all the cryptoloons in the balls. And if they don't have balls, I'll graft donor balls onto them and punch those.

Damn, I need more vacation.

Re:Is there *ANY* event... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15661948)

Thanks for sharing your disturbing fantasy.

At least.. (4, Insightful)

MImeKillEr (445828) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661844)

.. he saved the state some $ now that they don't have to warehouse him in jail.

I wonder how much that was...

Re:At least.. (1)

An Onerous Coward (222037) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661908)

Probably nothing in comparison with the amount already spent prosecuting him, which is itself nothing compared to the total damage done by Enron to the economy.

Figures I've seen for warehousing criminals: about $50-75K/year.

Why is this relevant...? (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661856)

So this is "news for nerds, stuff that matters"? The only thing Ken Lay had to contribute was a good joke about California during the blackouts.

Q: What's the difference between the Titantic and California?

A: The Titantic lights were still on.

One Word: SARBOX (2, Informative)

shrubya (570356) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661939)

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.

Live savings? (0, Offtopic)

slummy (887268) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661867)

How about "life savings"?

Too Bad (1)

Buzz_Litebeer (539463) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661877)

I would rather he go through due punishment, but I guess God decided he was too evil and killed him off ahead of time.

Whats so bad about Peace, Love and Sarbanes-Oxley? (5, Insightful)

Tiger4 (840741) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661887)

OK, everybody knows they can do anything better than anyone else, and there is no real point to following rules created by others. But, in order to end the fighting and constant bickering, we put up with these little annoyances called rules, regulations, and laws. Given that they are silly and pointless, what Other Reasons could there be to not increase corporate financial accountability?

Seems to me anything that puts the CEO, COO, CFO and every other cheif of a company right in the line of fire for criminal and civil liability is a good thing. The Board Officers should be there too of course. To me, the CEO and Chairman are like the Captain of a ship or a Genereal on the battlefield. You Are in Charge and You Are Responsible. If you say the company is in XYZ condition, it damn well ought to be and if we can prove you lied about it, you go to prison. Youd don't get to hide by saying, "the underlings run the company and I don't have a clue". Nothing should be hidden from "conventional interpretation" by some warped usage of accounting and bookkeeping practices. If you want to create a high risk, closed box operation, there are legal ways to do that without hiding it from your investors.

Sunlight and visibility in all the operations should be normal operating procedure, not an inconvienience to be endured.

Face down (1)

daskrabs (976610) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661890)

I hope they bury him face down... so he sees where the f**k he's going.

Rags to Riches to Rags? (1)

carpeweb (949895) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661902)

FTA:

"He lost a fortune, his family lost a fortune."

I haven't followed this very closely at all, but I seem to recall that most of these guys kept at least one, if not two or more, very nice houses, worth in the millions. It's not the billions they were worth on paper, but c'mon, that's not losing the entire fortune, especially when the "billions" were an illusion.

Show some humanity (2, Insightful)

TheBracket (307388) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661905)

It really bothers me that most of the threads in this story are either "we should let employees piss on his corpse" or "he's not dead!". Assuming that he is in fact dead, aren't we forgetting something? Irrespective of what he presided over and did, he was a human being. He doubtless had people who cared about him, who will be mourning his death. As a human, no matter what sins he committed in life, we should show some respect - if nothing else for the sake of his family and loved ones.

Re:Show some humanity (0, Troll)

droog72 (987014) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661986)

He was a greedy, self serving, criminal piece of crap. Stop pretending he was some boy scout. I'm sure you shed plenty of tears when the kid down the street holding up the liquor store gets shot by the cops. Get real dude. I think you've watched too much Dr. Phil. pussy.

Re:Show some humanity (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661987)

we should show some respect - if nothing else for the sake of his family and loved ones

His actions in life do not warrant respect in death. Also, screw his loved ones. Let's piss on them.

For perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15661909)

According to MSFTextrememakover [blogspot.com] , the total shareholder value lost at Tyco, Lucent, Worldcom, and Enron combined was $192 billion, but since 1999 the total shareholder value lost for Microsoft alone is $360 billion. Take that for what you will.

grammar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15661920)

Isn't "coronary" an adjective? You can't die of an adjective.

Do you remember brownouts? (5, Informative)

myth_of_sisyphus (818378) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Come on people... (1)

Salzorin (985348) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661927)

Death is never funny... ... except when it is.

how does this affect his families liability (2, Interesting)

mrpeebles (853978) | more than 8 years ago | (#15661941)

Does anyone know how this affects his families liability concerning the Enron fraud? I haven't really followed the story very closely, mostly reading only the headlines, but I seem to remember he has already paid a lot of fines? Or maybe he just lost so much money due to the stock crash. In any case, does anyone know if the inheritors of his estate are now liable to any damages he might have done to the shareholders or employees of Enron? And can the courts take fines out of his estate before his inheritors (his wife, I guess?) take it?
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