Mondo Washington By James Ridgeway
Last week the Financial Times ran the results of a survey revealing that top execs in the 25 biggest recent corporate collapses had built up fortunes from 1999 through 2001 totaling $3.3 billion. Richest of the rich: Ken Lay of Enron with $247 million and Gary Winnick of Global Crossing with $512 million.
Lay-along with his buds in the executive suite-famously ran Enron into the ground. He ripped off tens of thousands of electricity consumers in California, lying to them, manipulating the so-called free market while hiding the true nature of the corporate business from its stockholders and the government. In cold blood, he ruined the livelihood of thousands of its employees, screwing them out of any sort of "retirement." Surely Lay and the other chieftains at Enron ought to be charged with criminal malfeasance of some sort-fraud, conspiracy under the racketeering laws, obstruction of justice, or perjury, just for starters. Lay happens to be a major Bush family supporter, having financed both presidents' political conquests and acted as the frat brat's confidant on energy policy. Natch, he doesn't get charged with anything.