Jeff Skilling?

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ymh_ymh_ymh's picture
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Who thinks 24 years was too harsh?
Not me

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The sad thing is they'd have to double that to get him to stay there for any reasonable length of time.  Time off for good behavior for a criminal is an oxymoron.  I haven't had a chance to read the news on it yet, but unless they gave it to him without parole, he won't serve all of the time.  Too bad.  The employees who lost everything will be poor for the rest of their lives.

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ymh_ymh_ymh wrote:
Who thinks 24 years was too harsh?
Not me

How is society served by this sentence?  Will the fools who lost everything they had, or even those who just took a big hit, be made whole?
Mr. Skilling will be playing cards and watching TV in North Carolina rather than at home--society will be picking up his tab.
He is not a threat to society.  It's not like he would be out raping people or car jacking or holding up convenience stores if he were at home with his family.
Nor is it likely that he would be able to get another job--so what's the point of forcing him to be away?

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He might be out driving while intoxicated running over little kids on bicycles. He won't be permitted to do that while in prison. He also had to pony up $42,000,000.00 so society benefits in that respect.
It's called a DETERRENT and might make the next Skilling think a little before running a scam.
I hope they send him to Richmond, VA. Dan Bayly (Merrill's former head of investment banking) served a little time there (just got out recently) and found it to be very "un" Westport, CT.
 

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Devil'sAdvocate wrote:How is society served by this sentence?Mosts sentences don't serve society.  Our prisons are jam packed with foks whose only crime was using drugs (except for Rush Limbaugh, of course,) but mandatory minimums keep them in prison longer than most murderers.
Devil'sAdvocate wrote:  He is not a threat to society.  It's not like he would be out raping people or car jacking or holding up convenience stores if he were at home with his family.
Nor is it likely that he would be able to get another job--so what's the point of forcing him to be away?He ruined lives. He raped more people than just about anyone else in history.  Don't forget, prison sentences are mostly about punishment.  It's his turn to be punished.

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mktsystms wrote:He ruined lives. He raped more people than just about anyone else in history.  Don't forget, prison sentences are mostly about punishment.  It's his turn to be punished.
Can you explain what was done?

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Yes, he lied on a confie call when asked if the books were cooked by fellow hedge fund manager, Richard Grubman (Highfields Capital Management). He called Rich a "short selling asshole," then bounced him off the confie call. Rich was right and laughed all the way to the bank as did I. I guess Goldie Lox' Abby Joseph Cohen wasn't in on that confie call or hasn't learned how to add/subtract very well yet.
I agree our prisons are too full. They should have just turned him over to former Enron employees who lost it all and let them put a noose around his neck. Hemp's pretty cheap relative to the taxpayers having to foot the bill for a 24 year stint in Club Fed.

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Devil'sAdvocate wrote:mktsystms wrote:He ruined lives. He raped more people than just about anyone else in history.  Don't forget, prison sentences are mostly about punishment.  It's his turn to be punished.
Can you explain what was done?If you're interested in what Skilling did, then go read the trial transcripts.

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mktsystms wrote: Devil'sAdvocate wrote:
mktsystms wrote:He ruined lives. He raped more people than just about anyone else in history.  Don't forget, prison sentences are mostly about punishment.  It's his turn to be punished.
Can you explain what was done?
If you're interested in what Skilling did, then go read the trial transcripts.
See, you're just like most other people--you allowed yourself to be manipulated by the media.  You have no idea what they did, or if it was wrong or simply questionable.
All you know is that they were arrogant and that the company went down the tubes.
What they did was take certain liabilities off their balance sheet to partnerships.  The idea was to wait for the value of the assets that were supporting the liabilities to regain value then transfer the liabilities back from the parnerhships.  Was it legal?  It was not illegal.  Was it questionable?  You bet it was, but there is a difference.
Had it worked they would be case studies at every business school in the country, but a whistle blower who was offended by the swaggering attitude of the leadership, and some personal slights by one of them, brought down the corporation.
It's a study in corporate arrogance runniing wild, coupled with a woman scorned.
Had I been on the jury I would have voted to acquit--being arrogant is not a crime, nor is using accounting techniques that are creative as long as they're not illegal.  Had the scorned woman not beein involved what may have happened was a tax audit, the partnership idea would be disallowed, taxes and penalties assessed and life goes on.
The company would have gone down if they did not do what they did, I think it's admirable that they tried to save it.
But then, I'm not willing to be manipulated by the media.

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Devil'sAdvocate wrote:See, you're just like most other people--you allowed yourself to be manipulated by the media.  You have no idea what they did, or if it was wrong or simply questionable.
All you know is that they were arrogant and that the company went down the tubes.
What they did was take certain liabilities off their balance sheet to partnerships.  The idea was to wait for the value of the assets that were supporting the liabilities to regain value then transfer the liabilities back from the parnerhships.  Was it legal?  It was not illegal.  Was it questionable?  You bet it was, but there is a difference.

1. Skilling was not charged with, or convicted of, "questionable behavior."  He was charged with, and convicted of, illegal activities.

2. The media did not testify or offer evidence in the trial.

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mktsystms wrote:1. Skilling was not charged with, or convicted of, "questionable behavior."  He was charged with, and convicted of, illegal activities.2. The media did not testify or offer evidence in the trial.
The trial was long after the implosion of the firm, and by then the media had alreay convicted them.  It was impossible that they would be able to get a fair trial anywhere in the country.
The prosecution declared that the accounting techniques used were illegal, the defense experts said they were not legal or illegal, they were an unexplored area of accounting.
The fact is that the company went down, the leadership was arrogant, and the media had convinced the average nimrod that they were guilty.
That twelve people found them guilty is not unexpected--but it was a miscarriage of justice.
I'll bet you think that OJ Simpson is innocent too, right?

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Something else about Enron.  It was not like the Tyco, Adlephia and Worldcom abuses where the officers were using their positions to loot the company.
The Enron deal truly was an attempt by the officers to save the firm.  If you ran a company you would quite like do the same thing--not only to save your own career and fortune but you would be looking out for thousands of employees and tens of thousands of investors.
It's actually a Shakespearean style tragedy.

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ymh_ymh_ymh wrote:
I guess Goldie Lox' Abby Joseph Cohen wasn't in on that confie call or hasn't learned how to add/subtract very well yet.
 

That's just a cheap shot.

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Devil'sAdvocate wrote:
Something else about Enron.  It was not like the Tyco, Adlephia and Worldcom abuses where the officers were using their positions to loot the company.
The Enron deal truly was an attempt by the officers to save the firm.  If you ran a company you would quite like do the same thing--not only to save your own career and fortune but you would be looking out for thousands of employees and tens of thousands of investors.
It's actually a Shakespearean style tragedy.

Amen:<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
 Nobody is being served by his 24 year in Federal Prison. And 24 years means just that. The sentencing guidelines are a joke, especially when you see child abusers and murderers walk free.
Whoever mentioned Club Fed; have you been there, or is this more media hype?
I had not thought about the "scorned woman' syndrome. She is making a nice living out of all the publicity. Jeff Skilling and his family have been publicly humiliated and shamed. I hope the people who lost everything in Enron put as much energy into making more money as they do holding all the anger towards Enron management.
 
I have a feeling Skilling will not make it to jail; then they will be really angry.
 

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Biasedrecruiter wrote:
I have a feeling Skilling will not make it to jail; then they will be really angry.

I agree.  I have tried to put myself in his place and sure do think that checking out early would be a better deal for myself and my family.
I'm not convinced that Ken Lay didn't cause his heart attack with drugs--in any case he certainly died of a broken heart.
The class envy that is displayed by such a huge percentage of our population is troubling.  These guys--the Enron executives--lived large, but they were not stealing from the company.
I ask again, who would not do whatever they could to keep the company going?  If somebody asks, "Is that legal?" and others say, "We can't find anything about it, legal or illegal."  Who would not decide, "OK, let's do it--we've got too much to lose if we don't."
Then, after the scorned woman blows the whistle, the company comes down.  If there is an evil player in this saga it is that woman.  We'll never know what may have happened if the (admittedly agressively creative) accounting techniques had not been exposed.

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Devils Advocate; we think alike; only you express it so much better.
Glad there are people like you in our world.

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Devil'sAdvocate wrote:
The Enron deal truly was an attempt by the officers to save the firm.  If you ran a company you would quite like do the same thing--not only to save your own career and fortune but you would be looking out for thousands of employees and tens of thousands of investors.Really?  So was it an attempt to save the firm by fostering organic growth?  Or by cutting expenses?  Did this attempt to save the firm have anything to do with addressing the core problems that were dragging Enron down?Or was it an attempt to hide the actual problem from the market?  An attempt to deny the free market its opportunity to correctly value the company?

I'm not an attorney- so I can't claim to understand the applicable
laws.  And I was not on the jury- so I have not heard all of the
evidence.  But I do know that the Feds regularly punish companies and individuals who come down on the wrong side of gray areas of the law (especially GAAP as it applies to securities and tax laws).Enron is a very complex situation.  As a Houstonian, I personally know many people who were hurt badly by this.  I also know people who quit Enron in the late 90's saying "something strange is going on there".  I don't need the media to tell me these things.I also spent a lot of time sitting in the dark in Northern California thanks to these guys.  But that's another topic.They decided to shuffle millions of dollars through vague and unsavory accounting
tricks in order to hide the true condition of the firm from its
owners.  How could they possibly claim surprise when the Feds came down on them?

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JCadieux wrote: They decided to shuffle millions of dollars through vague and unsavory accounting tricks in order to hide the true condition of the firm from its owners.  How could they possibly claim surprise when the Feds came down on them?
Again, if their techniques had worked the company may well have survived.
Unsavory accounting techniques that save a company are more savory than acceptable techniques that bring a company down.
If they had not used them the stock would have zeroed out too.  They tried to save it, and for that they deserve more than spending years in prison.
In the movie "Love Story" one of the leads is sent to the penalty box in a hockey game.  His girlfriend comes down to him and asks, "So what did you do to end up here?"
He responds, "I tried too hard."
That's what happened with Enron.  They had to make a choice and they chose to try to save the firm.  It amazes me that people who suffer class envy are so unwillinig to deal with that reaity.

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Anyone other than Rich Grubman and me on that Enron confie call when Skilling got caught lying and got upset about being caught?
Mike Butler, to my recollection, Dear Abby was NOT on that confie call so I guess she's got an excuse.

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I remember reading a story about Ken Lay trekking up to Omaha to see the Oracle and solicit his investment in the company. Buffet declined. The article related that Warren didn't feel too comfortable with Kenny boy and his goings on. Was that a similar issue with the guys that left to form Kinder Morgan? Gee... I think Kinder Morgans' turned out ok haven't they?

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Before we too gushy about poor old Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay et al, read a book called, "The Smartest Guys In The Room".  Enron dug it's own grave with the same nefarious practices that it tried to use to dig itself out.
Be forwarned:  People with integrity will want to take a shower every few pages.

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That's Bethany McLean's book, right?
Had to wash my hands every 10th page.
I think she may have been the first journalist to question a few things about Enron. Can't recall if Jeff Skilling called her an asshole, though.
I was not called an asshole. I just listened in on the confie call (did not ask any questions). I remember that "asshole" comment to Grubman like it was yesterday. My first thought was, "Skilling's trying to cover something up if he got that hot over Grubman's questions."
 

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ymh_ymh_ymh wrote:
Mike Butler, to my recollection, Dear Abby was NOT on that confie call so I guess she's got an excuse.

Everyone from Fortune mag to Forbes to everyone on Wall St who believed the doctored books has an excuse. If they hadn’t all been lied to the DoJ wouldn’t have had a case against Enron, Skilling, Lay Arthur Anderson, et al.<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
As to the shortseller, I don't know the details of his questions, but it isn't outside the realm of possibility that he was just what Skilling called him because he was "right" for the wrong reasons. Shortsellers often are.
 

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You found Skilling's attitude to be offensive.  Is it illegal to have an air of arrogance?
Was their business model illegal--or just not very customer friendly?
If you had been in charge which choice would you make?
1.  Report things as they are and watch the stock zero out
2.  Take the creative accounting path and if caught watch the stock zero out
3.  Take the creative accounting path and if not caught perhaps watch the stock zero out
4.  Take the creative accounting path and if not caught perhaps watch the company return to solvency
Three out of the four choices were going involve the stock zeroing out--they opted for the only chance they had and it damn well may have worked except for the scorned woman.
Were the leaders sympathetic figures?  Of course not, but it is not illegal or even immoral to be a swaggering figure liviing large.  As I said they were not using the company as their personal piggy bank like happened at Tyco, Worldcom and Adelphia.
Sarbanes-Oxley was not codified until AFTER Enron imploded--it is wrong to think of them as having been convicted of Sarbanes-Oxley offenses.

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Starka wrote:
Before we too gushy about poor old Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay et al, read a book called, "The Smartest Guys In The Room".  Enron dug it's own grave with the same nefarious practices that it tried to use to dig itself out.
Be forwarned:  People with integrity will want to take a shower every few pages.

I think the book was essentially right about Skilling wrong about Lay, and wrong about a number of other folks it tarred (I happen to know a couple). <?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
The sad truth is don't expect fairness and honesty when the mob and the press (often the same group) moves in after the battle  to shoot the survivors. At that point they know they’ll sell more books by painting the picture as the potential book buyer wants it.

 

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I didn't short Enron until after that confie call. I was flat, had sold out because a friend of mine who trades natural gas futures told me his father heard a few things which were "disconcerting." His father was a partner at V&E in Houston.
The way Skilling reacted when Grubman asked those questions was all it took for me to decide he was hiding something. At the time, I don't even Grubman knew how bad it was in there. I sure as hell did not.

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ymh_ymh_ymh wrote:
I didn't short Enron until after that confie call. I was flat, had sold out because a friend of mine who trades natural gas futures told me his father heard a few things which were "disconcerting." His father was a partner at V&E in Houston.
The way Skilling reacted when Grubman asked those questions was all it took for me to decide he was hiding something. At the time, I don't even Grubman knew how bad it was in there. I sure as hell did not.

If it was that easy to understand why do you suppose so many people got burned?

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They listened to the sell side analysts who were shilling for Enron's investment bankers?

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ymh_ymh_ymh wrote:They listened to the sell side analysts who were shilling for Enron's investment bankers?
You really think that was the extent of it? Then the DOJ was lying when it said the books were cooked and gave AA the death sentence.<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

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The auditors had a role in it, too.
Most firms have their sell side analysts covering entirely too many securities which means it's hard to truly know any one of them inside out plus there's still pressure NOT to piss off any firm's execs if they do investment banking biz with the firm. It's all about REVENUE, you know.

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ymh_ymh_ymh wrote:
The auditors had a role in it, too.
Most firms have their sell side analysts covering entirely too many securities which means it's hard to truly know any one of them inside out plus there's still pressure NOT to piss off any firm's execs if they do investment banking biz with the firm. It's all about REVENUE, you know.

If Anderson was covering up, and the Enron executives were covering up there is no reason to blame analysts who were simply going on what they were being told.
I think the one common ground is that there was a coverup of reality--where disgreement sets in is the motivation for the cover up.
I maintain it was a last gasp effort to right a sinking ship.  A ship that was sinking due to sudden fluxuations in its income versus expenses ratios more than some rampant disregard for laws or even prudent business objectives.

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Prior to that confie call (May I think it was) before Enron blew up 6 months later I don't blame the sell side analysts.
That confie call should have made them ask a few questions, too, but it did not. Maybe they were too busy or something.

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ymh_ymh_ymh wrote:
The auditors had a role in it, too.
I think "a role" is a little light considering, for the first time ever, the audit firm was given the death sentence by the DOJ.
ymh_ymh_ymh wrote:Most firms have their sell side analysts covering entirely too many securities which means it's hard to truly know any one of them inside out ...
Oh, come on, Enron was #7 on the Fortune 500, a "most innovative company" at Forbes and had boatloads of analysts covering it. The fact is the flaws in the balance sheet were hidden.
ymh_ymh_ymh wrote:...plus there's still pressure NOT to piss off any firm's execs if they do investment banking biz with the firm. It's all about REVENUE, you know.

That's always a danger. OTOH, if your theory explained actions in this case there would have been plenty of buy siders running out of it, if not shorting it. Instead, you see buy siders among the worst hit.
Frankly, unless this famous shortsider was speaking specifically about debt being moved off the balance sheet to the infamous partnerships, he was just doing what all shortsiders do, and that's no proof that he found anything other than a rapidly growing firm with a chart pointing up at a 75 degree angle.

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Mike, it's too bad you weren't on that confie call. Merrill's shill Donato Eassey was.

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mikebutler222 wrote:Starka wrote:
Before we too gushy about poor old Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay et al, read a book called, "The Smartest Guys In The Room".  Enron dug it's own grave with the same nefarious practices that it tried to use to dig itself out.
Be forwarned:  People with integrity will want to take a shower every few pages.

I think the book was essentially right about Skilling wrong about Lay, and wrong about a number of other folks it tarred (I happen to know a couple). <?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
The sad truth is don't expect fairness and honesty when the mob and the press (often the same group) moves in after the battle  to shoot the survivors. At that point they know they’ll sell more books by painting the picture as the potential book buyer wants it.

 

I can't claim to know any of the players, but I will speak to the validity of the book.  It isn't billed as a work of fiction, so it has to be essentially true or run the risk of an huge libel lawsuit.  While I'm sure that there are various levels of guilt, I can't agree that there are any innocents at the upper levels.  It seems to me that any time there is a major departure from GAAP, one would be well adivsed to take a close look at whole.  Further, I don't think these accounting schemes were developed after the fact in order to save the company...these schemes were the source of Enron's troubles as well.

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Starka wrote:mikebutler222 wrote:Starka wrote:
Before we too gushy about poor old Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay et al, read a book called, "The Smartest Guys In The Room".  Enron dug it's own grave with the same nefarious practices that it tried to use to dig itself out.
Be forwarned:  People with integrity will want to take a shower every few pages.

I think the book was essentially right about Skilling wrong about Lay, and wrong about a number of other folks it tarred (I happen to know a couple). <?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
The sad truth is don't expect fairness and honesty when the mob and the press (often the same group) moves in after the battle  to shoot the survivors. At that point they know they’ll sell more books by painting the picture as the potential book buyer wants it.

 

I can't claim to know any of the players, but I will speak to the validity of the book.  It isn't billed as a work of fiction, so it has to be essentially true or run the risk of an huge libel lawsuit. 
Just because a journalist wasn't suied dosen't mean their book was 100% accurate.
 
 Starka wrote:While I'm sure that there are various levels of guilt, I can't agree that there are any innocents at the upper levels. 
Not everyone at "upper levels" is involved in firm-wide accounting details.
 
Starka wrote:  Further, I don't think these accounting schemes were developed after the fact in order to save the company...these schemes were the source of Enron's troubles as well.

That I would agree with. OTOH, they schemes were blessed by the audit experts. Again, not everyone there was scum or dishonest, and don't expect objectivity from booksellers when the public is out for blood.

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Mike, I never said that the book was 100% correct...just essentially true.  My point, however, is that I can hardly view Ken Lay as a babe in the woods.

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Starka wrote:Mike, I never said that the book was 100% correct...just essentially true.  My point, however, is that I can hardly view Ken Lay as a babe in the woods.
There's a pretty wide divide between a "babe in the wood" and evil incarnate. Lay was called back to try to right the ship, his auditor gave the scheme (which began before he returned) their blessing. If you look at his own conduct with his Enron stock, he didn't dump it all and cash out. His is a different story than Skilling.

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If I stole 5000 bucks from 1 person, I may get probation. If I stole 5000 bucks from 10 people I may go to jail for 6 months. This guy assisted with stealing 10,000 bucks from millions. He is a crook.

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AirForce wrote:If I stole 5000 bucks from 1 person, I may get probation. If I stole 5000 bucks from 10 people I may go to jail for 6 months. This guy assisted with stealing 10,000 bucks from millions. He is a crook.
Stealing?  Was there embezzlement?  Who stole what?

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I think that to a large extent, the case against the upper levels at Enron goes well beyond what they did or din't know.  It's what they should have known.

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Devil'sAdvocate wrote:ymh_ymh_ymh wrote:
I didn't short Enron until after that confie call. I was flat, had sold out because a friend of mine who trades natural gas futures told me his father heard a few things which were "disconcerting." His father was a partner at V&E in Houston.
The way Skilling reacted when Grubman asked those questions was all it took for me to decide he was hiding something. At the time, I don't even Grubman knew how bad it was in there. I sure as hell did not.

If it was that easy to understand why do you suppose so many people got burned?Because ultimately greed can blind even smart people to the otherwise obvious.....

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Devil'sAdvocate wrote:You found Skilling's attitude to be offensive.  Is it illegal to have an air of arrogance?
Were the leaders sympathetic figures?  Of course not, but it is not illegal or even immoral to be a swaggering figure liviing large.Obviously not, or they would have locked you up and thrown away the key a looooooong time ago!

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The whole "mark-to-market" accounting they were using for earnings lent itself to manipulation and fraud. It created a fantasy world that took on a life of its own after a while, where virtual revenues appeared out of thin air. The company became a Gordian knot of accounting manipulation, and Skilling was responsible by condoning it all. I'm not sure about Lay, though. It seems his guilt lies in condoning Skilling, and for practicing willful ignorance and plausible deniability.
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Starka wrote:I think that to a large extent, the case against the upper levels at Enron goes well beyond what they did or din't know.  It's what they should have known.
 
That sounds fair to me, when speaking of the people the DOJ went after.

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Devil'sAdvocate wrote:ymh_ymh_ymh wrote:
Who thinks 24 years was too harsh?
Not me

How is society served by this sentence?  Will the fools who lost everything they had, or even those who just took a big hit, be made whole?
Mr. Skilling will be playing cards and watching TV in North Carolina rather than at home--society will be picking up his tab.
He is not a threat to society.  It's not like he would be out raping people or car jacking or holding up convenience stores if he were at home with his family.
Nor is it likely that he would be able to get another job--so what's the point of forcing him to be away?

Why is it that liberals like you can't see that people go to prison to punish them?

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If anyone wishes to watch an entertaining documentary I suggest Enron:The Smartest Guys in the Room,
It's pretty good, I think it paints an excellent picture of what really took place at Enron.

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