Did Ken Lay Fool Everyone?
Last week I wrote about Enron CEO Ken Lay's death, in Ken Lay is Dead, after he had been convicted of fraud and conspiracy in the giant energy company's collapse, but before his sentencing.
I focused on the fact that he tried to fire the whistleblower, Sherron Watkins, who informed him of brewing trouble in his company.
Other bloggers focused on how "timely" his death appeared and asked if it was suicide.
And CEO magazine reveals that under the "abatement doctrine," the death of former Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay wipes both his conviction and indictment from the criminal record, complicating civil suits against his estate.
"If you're on appeal and you die before that appeal is decided, it's like stepping into the way-back machine," says law professor Peter J. Henning of Wayne State University. "It's as if Lay were never charged."
And there is good reason for this, the courts have explained that "the state should not label one as guilty until he has exhausted his opportunity to appeal."
This suggests that that the Department of Justice's claim against Lay for $43.5 million will also be dismissed.
So even in his death, Ken Lay appears to have fooled everyone, one last time.