Ken Lay Was Not "Lynched"
Last week, just after former Enron Chairman Ken Lay died of a heart attack in Colorado, I caught a ton of flak from many ofyou when I suggested that he had not "gotten away with anything" by dying before he reached a federal prison. Today, one day after his memorial service in Houston, I am back to say that by the same token I think it is preposterous to say, as some did at the service, that Lay was the victim of a "lynching" by prosecutors, the press, and the thousands of men and women of Enron who lost it all when the company went bankrupt.
There is no contradiction in those two positions. I think Lay died as a direct result of the stress he felt in the wake of his felony convictions following his federal trials in Houston. I think he died at the lowest ebb in his life and with the knowledge that he was, in the main, a hated figure in his beloved hometown. But I also think that he alone was repsonsible for his predictment; that he deliberately and continuously turned a blind eye to the massive corporate fraud that was taking place at his beloved company. A jury and a judge said so and no legal fiction that Lay's conviction now dies with him changes the fact that he was deemed guilty beyond a reasonable doubt after a full and complete trial.
To call Lay a victim of anything other than his own hubris is to insult the people who trusted him, and Enron, and lost their jobs, their pensions, their homes and everything else when it turned out that Enron was rotten to its glitzy core. I understand that Lay did a great many good things in his life-- that he gave away millions and millions of dollars to various charities and otherwise helped a great many people who needed it. Good people do bad things. And bad people do good things. Lay was both a sinner and a saint. But the one thing he wasn't was a victim.
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Posted by: Shag from Brookline | July 13, 2006 04:48 PM
Posted by: it's interesting that both | July 17, 2006 07:57 PM
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