Daily Archives: July 7, 2006

Kenneth L. Lay

I was in a meeting on Wednesday morning with my boss Matt. It was a pretty informal meeting I guess, because at one point he got up from the table where we were talking and went over to his desk to check his phone or computer or something. Anyway, he saw on his computer the news, and he immediately mentioned it to me. Ken Lay had died.

It’s an odd sort of anticlimax to a long saga. I worked at Arthur Andersen from 1995 into 2002, during the whole Enron fiasco. Enron itself went belly up on its own, but Andersen was put out of business by a stupid prosecution by the Justice Department. Of course I blame President Bush, and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft. And then-Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson. But at the time we understood that the decision to indict was made by the head of the Criminal Division, then-Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff.

We are now, of course, as innocent as Oliver North, thanks to the wise heads at the Supreme Court, who threw out the conviction in a unanimous decision. Of course, all 80,000 of us were long since out of our jobs. Sure, most everybody was highly skilled and marketable and found employment elsewhere. I was with the tax division, and Deloitte & Touche bought a large part of the practice. About two-thousand of us went over there.

Still. What a waste.