Ken Lay is Dead
Ken Lay, the CEO of Enron died early this morning, after he was convicted of fraud and conspiracy in the giant energy company's collapse, but before his sentencing.
I wrote about the most recent convictions in the Enron saga in God's Men: Guilty, Guilty, Guilty!
Mr Lay was convicted on six counts of fraud and conspiracy and four counts of bank fraud. Each count carried a maximum sentence of 5 to 10 years, so he faced the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison.
In a way it was a good thing for America that he lived until his conviction, so we could have closure on this sad chapter in American business. And in a way it was good for Ken Lay that he died now, so he didn't have to spend the rest of his life in jail.
Innumerable former Enron employees have not been so lucky and are still trying to simply get by. The Enron whistleblower, Sherron Watkins, has stated that she still can't get a job.
Ken Lay was quoted saying "I firmly believe I'm innocent of the charges against me. We believe that God in fact is in control and indeed he does work all things for good for those who love the Lord."
Ken Lay got to enjoy a lifestyle that few Americans ever get to experience. Much of it was built on fraud and hubris. So we shouldn't feel sorry for him, but for all the people who trusted him and whom he let down. When Sherron Watkins warned him, he looked for a way to fire her. That is the true legacy of Ken Lay.