Why am I not tripping all over myself to pay homage to Ken Lay?
Because he was a corrupt son of a bitch.
He helped ripoff billions and ruined the lives of thousands of people. Unfortunately not only will he escape life in prison but his estate will escape being plundered by the feds and distributed to the masses whose lives he and his cronies ruined. He's dead, the sentence is null and void. His wife and kids get to keep the estate. Linda Lay still has a $4 million condo that her husband paid off as Enron went under. It's frozen by the feds but can't be seized because it's their home, so while she might need to layoff some of the help, she won't exactly be homeless. I don't feel sorry for her. She's just as guilty. Linda Lay sold 500,000 shares of Enron stock which totaled more than $1 million just before the company went under. What makes it ok I guess is that the money went to charity and not her. She indulged in as much frivolous spending as her husband.
Ken Lay borrowed money from Enron on the company credit line and repaid it with Enron stock (which was by the way--worthless). Now while that credit line was indeed available to the highest Enron execs, it's been speculated that was how he was getting rid of his stock. What an amazing idea--use Enron cash to buy investments elsewhere and pay it back with worthless stock!
Ken and Linda Lay sold homes in Galveston and Aspen worth over $20 million but it didn't help repay the people he screwed, instead it paid the lawyers trying to make him out to be an innocent bystander. Instead of donating cash to charities he donated stock (which was by the way--worthless). While Enron employees were being told they would lose their 401K's, Enron execs increased Ken Lay's credit line limit. He took one million in cash from his credit line days before he told employees they were filing bankruptcy. While Ken Lay got rid of his stock he told his employees to continue BUYING! In a company newsletter, Enron execs discouraged employees from buying the same type of variable annuities Ken and Linda Lay were buying, instead insisting buying Enron stock was a better idea. Early in 2000 Ken and Linda Lay paid some $4 million in cash to purchase variable annuities which were supposed to generate an income of about $43,000 per month beginning in the year 2007. These tax deferred investments are out of reach of being seized.
How could he live with himself?
My grandfather worked for Aerodex in South Florida for years. He had a pension that would pay well once he retired. However one day, the company executives cleaned out the pension funds and left for South America. The company was in ruin and the employees lost their retirement.
So if you're asking me to be sympathetic to Ken Lay and his family, to feel bad for his family's loss, if you're going to say "but maybe he really didn't know" don't bother.
He knew. They always know.
If there's a hell, Ken Lay is surely there.
If you know someone who was shafted out of their pension plan, check this out:
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
Here's the link where you can search names of persons due monies from this fund:
Search PBGC's list of missing participants
"PBGC receives no funds from general tax revenues. Operations are financed by insurance premiums set by Congress and paid by sponsors of defined benefit plans, investment income, assets from pension plans trusteed by PBGC, and recoveries from the companies formerly responsible for the plans."