Home > Penny Profundo > January 30, 2006
Penny Profundo's 2 Cents on the Working World.
So what happens in the end?
I want to know what happens to the fancy cars, the lavish dinners, the private 1st class air travel, and the luxury lifestyles for those who commit high-profile corporate scandals. Do they get to keep the lifestyle after a slap on the hand?
I picture Ken Lay driving himself to court in a 1999 Ford Escort, a car he got a great deal on because it was salvage from New Orleans after Katrina. Then I ponder with a smile that maybe he can't afford a car and is forced to car pool with one of his former Enron employees who lost everything, including their retirement, pension and job during the collapse—whose only hope for survival was landing a job in the filing room at the Houston County court house.
My theory is dispelled as I watch television and see Kenny exit an X-J Series, well-dressed along side his prim wife carrying a $500 Kate Spade bag, and an army of high power attorneys costing him pennies in comparison to his oh-so-hard earned $220 million salary during his time as CEO. I'm certain Mrs. Lay and Mrs. Skilling aren't cutting costs by shopping less. In fact, I'm certain their lifestyles haven't changed at all aside from the slight chance that Daddy Warbucks might go on a legal sabbatical for a period of time to play tennis, read and be forced to watch common-man TV in less than comfortable orange "pleather" chairs.
I wonder if the Lay and Skilling family got together and toasted their $18 and $15 million dollar stocks profits over a few bottles of Krug Grande Cuvée, before realizing they would be caught and that the bankruptcy would reveal the truth and start a domino effect of unveiling others practicing the same lines of illegitimate business.
If these top executives could do it all over again would the temptation of greed for our pals at Enron, WorldCom, Global Crossing, Adelphia Communications, and Tyco International lead them down the same dishonest path putting their fate in hands of jurors?
At what point in life does a 7 figure salary (or even 6 or 5) become too little that society members have to turn to the rush of getting something for nothing, chancing everything on unlawful actions with the hope of not getting caught?
From a distance, I can only feel sorry for the innocent Enron employees who have been left empty handed after years of dedicated hard work. I think it makes us all leery of corporate investments.
I'm not a judge but if I were, I would break away from modern traditional law. My punishment would demand Lay and Skilling to liquidate their assets and spread their wealth among all of those who were affected by the illegal business actions within Enron. Over $300 million in assets would account for some sort of compensation for those who have been left with nothing but worthless pension statements.
As for Lay, Skilling, and other corporate executives who got rich off of the poor, well let's just say the fancy cars, the lavish dinners and the luxury lifestyles would be—deservedly so—something in the past.
That's my 2¢ Worth,
Next Penny »
Wanna contact Penny? E-mail her.