Enron's Skilling is a bastion of ethics, modesty, and optimism; just ask him
By Lee Russ
Wednesday, April 12, 2006 at 04:50 PM
Jeff Skilling has been testifying at his trial for the past couple of days, and frankly, I never knew what an admirable guy he was until he told me.Skilling on Skilling:
On Tuesday, Skilling and his attorney offered up a beaut: he had no motive to launch a massive conspiracy, as prosecutors allege, because he already had money, fame and a fast-growing business Wow, I sure never thought of that. No wonder we've never before heard of any rich famous people committing financial crimes. Yeah, when the Hunt brothers tried to manipulate the silver market, they probably weren't that well off financially (especially after the millions they spend buying up the silver).
Status, maybe he did it to preserve his status? Well, no, not according to Jeff Skinning...er, make that Skilling:
He told jurors that by 1999, when he supposedly began committing fraud, Enron was doing great, his personal fortune had reached $100 million and he cared little about acquiring more prestige. "I'm not that kind of guy," he said.
Certainly not that kind of guy. That's why the same report notes two paragraphs later that Skilling's license plate was the modest "WLEC" which simply stood for "World's Leading Energy Company."
Did he order that Enron's 1999 4th quarter earnings be boosted a penny per share so the numbers would satisfy Wall Street expectations? Skilling had "absolutely no recollection" of that event.
Did he "actually, honestly, sincerely" believe what he was saying when he touted Enron's future prospects to the world at large? Of course; "I am an optimistic person."
The next day the baring of souls continued with
Skilling being asked whether he was "smart enough to mastermind this kind of conspiracy...without getting caught for years." Well, Jeff wouldn't be tooting his own horn, he's too modest. "I don't think so."
In fact, it never crossed his mind to commit crimes, because, gosh darn it, he had no lust for money or fame and Enron was always in such good shape, there was no need for fraud.
Skilling "did not understand" that he was to review LJM (the off-the-books ventures), as several documents had suggested he was, nor could the poor man recall a legal memo from May, 2001 noting that, since he had not signed the 2000 LJM approval sheets. they would be sent for his signatures.
Ah, it's spring, and we're in ecstasy here among the blossoms of that lovely plant called "I recall every intimate detail when there's no paper record, but gee, I just don't remember when there's an inconvenient little piece of paper to overcome."
I hope they convict him if for no other reason than amusement we can get from reading his pre-sentence report on why he's such a nice guy that he really shouldn't do any time. Unless there's a document to the contrary, of course.
Update [2006-4-13 16:43:30 by Lee Russ]:Another day of Skilling on the stand:
--When he told another Enron employee ""they're on to us" after reading an article that questioned the company's financial reporting, he was just kidding. In fact, he demonstrated for the jury, waving his hands in the air and saying in a high-pitched voice, "Oh no, Mr. Bill, they're on to us."
--He's really offended at the very accusations against him because, "I bled Enron blue."
--Skilling thinks the corporation "had been brought to its knees" unnecessarily by the government.
Are you laughing, yet? Crying?