Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Goodbye, Ken Lay

Ken Lay, the founder of and recent scapegoat for the Enron company, died this morning from a massive heart attack.

Whatever one wants to say about his part in the collapse of Enron and the lies told to investors and employees, this is a sad day for his family. As is the habit in America, few people will mourn the man, even among those quick to claim friendship with him when it was to their advantage, and it has already been noted that civil suits seeking to destroy his family will continue, even where there was no guilt on their part; greed has outlived both the company and the man who founded it.

Ken Lay should be remembered as a man who earned degrees all the way up to his Doctorate in Economics, a man who served honorably in the Navy, who not only started a company but raised a family and grandchildren with constant dedication and love. Whatever his part in Enron, the whole of the man is greater and better than we shall likely hear in the press.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

What about the people that he screwed out of their savings? He doesn't deserve the right to be remembered as anything but a crook.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, quite a Robbin Hood character -- he stole from the rich wall street investors (and some poor employees, but mostly rich mutual fund companies); and passed on this wealth to his kids who otherwise would have been a poor guy.

Anonymous said...

So do you write good words about every theif or just the ones who stell in mass quantities?

Anonymous said...

"Scapegoat"? What the hell are you smoking? He was a crook - most all CEO's are by definition. This despicable jerk just had to have more and more and more. To hell with everyone else, what about ME?

Anonymous said...

1: Karma
0: Ken Lay

Anonymous said...

I agree with you DJ. Having worked with Enron employees, most of them respected the man. He built the company from the ground up, in fact made a lot of employees wealthy, and it got too big for one man to oversee. The companies troubles revolved around the shananigans of Fastow and Skilling. If you want to throw bombs at least hit the right people. Lay being the head of the company probably got more than his share of the blame.

Anna said...

It's nice of you to mention the good in him.

Anonymous said...

You reap what you sow...

Anonymous said...

DJ, you must have been on his payroll.

megan said...

Thank you for this "rememberance." I have to wonder under a democratic administration, if the Press would have eaten him alive, as well as America. I have heard several comments today such as "how he robbed us again, because we don't get the opportunity to send him to jail now." I find that as bad as "his responsibilities" in Enron. No ... I find it worse.

Anonymous said...

maybe we can send his family to Guantanemo for a vacation until they turn over the ill gotten gains

Big V said...

DJ.. looks like you've made the pages of DU or Kosomaut.com with this column!

Anonymous said...

I feel so sorry that i have to share a world with someone that would write something like this.
You're just lucky that your blog was cited on cnet and got me to you and made me pay attention to such a supposedly compassionate remark.
Hope the taxes i pay go to your medicare bills and this guy's funeral.
That would put a smile on you, wouldn't it?

B.Poster said...

Unfortunately the bad things someone does will be remembered more than the decent things they did. His family has benefited from his theft. The people Ken Lay defrauded should get their money back, if at all possible.

Cynical Observer said...

I don't know enough about the internal management of Enron to label Ken Lay a "crook." But if he wasn't a crook, then he was incompetent as a CEO. As a highly compensated CEO he did have considerable responsibility for the hiring and firing of senior management personell and overall monitoring of the company operations.

newton said...

DJ,

You wrote kind words, and I commend you for them. However, it is too little, too late.

"A bad wound can be healed, but a bad reputation never does." So says a Spanish proverb.

Kenneth Lay may have well sunk into the pit he was in due to incompetence or inability to run such a large corporation. Unfortunately, as the CEO of the company, he was its public face, just as a sea captain is to his ship. If the ship goes down, old habit was that the captain would go down with it.

I don't know all of the intricacies of the Enron scandal, but I still believe that what sealed his fate was his own words before the jury that convicted him and Skilling. The jury didn't like what they heard, nor the way he delivered it. Something didn't sit well with them. I dare say that, even in his own defense, he dug himself into his own grave even further.

Now, I'm not the kind of person who believes someone's family must pay for that individual's crimes or sins. I don't think Lay's family had anything to do with it. But not everyone here in this country is that forgiving: people still want to see a scalp from the criminal's head, to satisfy the mob.

I can see plenty of vindictive coming his kin's way in the near and far future, in the form of lawsuits and otherwise. (Also: I believe that, in the end, the lawyers will get all the dough from all of that. Not a single investor or creditor who lost money on Enron will recover a dime. Maybe they should prepare themselves for the pot of gold that will never fall their way. You can't always get what you want, unfortunately.)

I think that, no matter what is said and done right, it is too late for Ken Lay. His fate has been sealed shut, and there's no way anyone can recover his reputation for him.

Not even you, D.J.

Icarus said...

That post was simply embarrassing. Even for you, Drummond.

You almost self-define the phrase "unthinking sycophant."