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Home > Blog > Will the $200,000 Cruise Sink Lay?
Out of Our Minds
Tuesday, May 02, 2006 9:38 AM
Will the $200,000 Cruise Sink Lay?
Anita Sharpe on Business

I couldn't help but wince this morning as I read the New York Times account of Kenneth Lay's testimony yesterday in the Enron trial. Lay apparently spent $200,000 on a birthday cruise for his wife even as he personally was juggling margin calls and even as Enron's fortunes were eroding. How do you think that's going to play with the jury? Not well, is my guess. "We had realized the American dream and were living a very expensive lifestyle, the type of lifestyle where it is difficult to turn off the spigot," Lay said.
 
My personal view from what I've read so far is that Lay didn't personally mastermind any fraud at Enron or conspire to commit fraud. More likely, he was just so tied to his version of the American Dream that he went into deep denial about the company footing his bills. But jurors often fail to see the distinction between omission and comission.


3 comments

Monica Ricci - 5/7/2006 10:45:08 AM
Executive fraud is not only illegal, it harms our economy by eroding consumer faith in the stock market and in big business in general. These guys like Lay and the others who have committed similar crimes should be made a giant example for all to see. I'm all about capitalism, but breaking the law for personal financial gain is unacceptable, especially when it does damage to our economy.
Eric - 5/2/2006 2:55:09 PM
If you are interested in this case, you must go rent the documentary, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. Aside from it being a fascinating documentary, it really recounts the build up and eventual unraveling of this huge corporation. It’s equally interesting and unbelievable that this actually happened. I don't doubt for a moment that Lay was completely aware of the fraud, deceit and ultimate betrayal of thousands of its own employees.
Do Flo - 5/2/2006 1:03:37 PM
Reminds me of the perfect Ken Lay joke: A young executive was leaving the office late one evening when he found the CEO standing in front of a shredder with a piece of paper in his hand. "Listen," said the CEO, "this is a very sensitive and important document here, and my secretary has gone for the night. Can you make this thing work?" "Certainly," said the young executive. He turned the machine on, inserted the paper, and pressed the start button. "Excellent, excellent!" said the CEO as his paper disappeared inside the machine. "I just need one copy."

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