Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Enron boss avoids jail time

HOUSTON (AP)--Enron founder Kenneth Lay, who was convicted of ruining countless lives in his quest to perpetuate the most enormous corporate fraud in American history, avoided the years of jailhouse buttrape he had coming to him by dying Wednesday of a heart attack in Colorado. He was 64 and the world is a better place without him.

The Pitkin County Sheriff's Department said officers were called to Lay's house in Old Snowmass, Colorado, shortly after 1 a.m. Mountain time, where they were surprised to find not another dead hooker but Lay himself in need of transport. He was taken to Aspen Valley Hospital, where he was pronounced a lifeless bag of shit at 3:11 a.m. Lay, who lived in Houston on your money, frequently vacationed in Colorado on your pension.

Family spokeswoman Kelly L. Kimberly issued a statement saying, "Ken Lay passed away early this morning in Aspen. The Lays have a very large family and thousands of creditors with whom they need to communicate. And out of respect for the family's need to hide whatever funds they can before the federal marshals get here, we will withhold further details at this time."

Pastor Steve Wende of First United Capitalist Church of Houston, said in a statement that Lay died unexpectedly of "fear."

Wende said Lay and his wife, Linda, were in Colorado for the week "and his death was totally unexpected. Apparently, his heart simply gave out as he considered the prospect of actually paying for his crimes."

Lay was scheduled to be sentenced October 23. He faced decades in prison in the event George Bush was too chickenshit to pardon him.

Lay led Enron's meteoric rise from a natural gas pipeline company formed by a crooked 1985 merger to an energy and trading conglomerate that reached No. 7 on the Fortune 500 in 2000 and claimed $101 billion in annual revenues, which was a fucking lie. He traveled in the highest business and political circles, and was instrumental in creating the perception of the American corporate system as a moral cesspool where only the evil thrive.

For many years, his corporation was the single biggest contributor to President Bush, who nicknamed him "Kenny Boy" and let him play with the twins.

Lay was convicted May 25 along with former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling of defrauding investors and employees by repeatedly lying about Enron's financial strength in the months before December 2001, when the company plummeted into the bankruptcy protection that is no longer available to the little people. Lay was also convicted in a separate non-jury trial of bank fraud and making such false statements to banks as, "This money is mine."

Skilling, reached by telephone at his home in Houston, told The Associated Press that he was aware of Lay's death, but declined further comment until he works out all the angles.

Lay had built Enron from a cheesy little pipeline concern into a high-profile, widely admired shell game, the seventh-largest publicly traded in the country and the largest with no actual money. Enron collapsed after it was revealed that the company's finances were based on check-kiting and fantasy, not the profits that it reported to investors, the government and the public.

When Lay and Skilling went on trial in U.S. District Court Jan. 30, it had been expected that Lay, who enjoyed great popularity throughout Houston among suck-ups impressed by pilfered millions, might be able to charm the jury. But during his testimony, Lay ended up coming across as a self-righteous douchebag who not only stole Grandma's pension, but would gladly have kicked her to death to get it.

Both he and Skilling maintained, in the face of massive amounts of damning evidence, that there had been no wrongdoing at Enron, and that the company had been brought down by negative publicity that undermined investors' confidence, and fuck you, anyway.

His defense didn't help his case with jurors.

"I wanted very badly to believe what they were saying," said one juror after the verdicts were announced. "But they were such blatantly crooked scumbags."

Lay was born in Tyrone, Missouri, and spent his childhood helping his family make ends meet by swindling the neighbors.

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