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Financial Follies for the Fickle Fanatics

by northstar at 07:55 PM on February 19, 2002

I have a much different perspective on the Enron scandal than most people. I work for a consulting firm in Houston. My company had been working on contract at Enron Energy Services for about a year or so, ending on 9.15.01. I was there for the last three months; just about the time things began to get weird. One of our jobs was to help streamline the invoicing process. It proved a very difficult assignment, because to do it, we had to determine where the money came from. We never could, nor could EES employees shed any light on it for us. Generally speaking, EES employees were so compartmentalized that it became a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing. In some cases, there was only a dim awareness that there even WAS a right hand. Their salespeople made any deal they could get someone to sign, collected their bonus, and then let someone else worry whether or not the deal was even profitable. In most cases, EES deals were hugely unprofitable.

At the time, we wrote the chaos and confusion off to the ďEnron CultureĒ, where things happened on the fly, and the rules seemed to be made up as they went along. In retrospect, we were in the belly of the beast, without even realizing that we had stumbled upon the problem. No one knew where the money went because it was been shifted into different partnerships that had been set up to hide huge losses. EES, a company that had been trumpeted as the most profitable vanguard of the Enron juggernaut, was in fact a shell, losing money faster than anyone could have imagined. I suppose itís hard to see the forest for the trees, and we were smack in the middle of the trees.

Itís sad to think that a local company that seemed so tremendously successful reached the pinnacle by $&^#*%@ its employees. Iím lucky; I left with a job that I still have. Many of the people I worked with and for were not so lucky. When Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling, et. al., look at themselves in the mirror, I wonder what they see? Only one executive seemed to have something resembling a conscience to contend with. He ended up losing that battle and putting a bullet in his head- a sad but oddly appropriate response to a complete moral and ethical meltdown.

comments (8)

AUTHOR: Charles
EMAIL: bob@bob.com
URL: http://www.sixdifferentways.com
DATE: 02/19/2002 09:52:10 PM

by Charles at February 19, 2002 9:52 PM

AUTHOR: Charles
EMAIL: bob@bob.com
URL: http://www.sixdifferentways.com
DATE: 02/19/2002 09:52:53 PM

by Charles at February 19, 2002 9:52 PM

looks like charles is speechless...

by jenn at February 19, 2002 11:02 PM

i know i am. i mean, i could just scream, but that's still speechless. horrifying, ain't it?

by kd at February 20, 2002 1:08 AM

I've worked for a couple of companies with Enron-like cultures. At one, my department head was practically a diety. Employees watched his every move and talked about the Gucci ties and the Dolce and Gabbana jumpsuits he wore (or was it the other way around? or different designers?). They talked about the Porsche he drove and his parents' house in Malibu... but we weren't profitable. I worked in their L.A. office and now that office doesn't exist anymore.

by jean at February 20, 2002 1:59 AM

The image that recurs in my head is that off somewhere in that building, while Northstar and his hapless co-workers shuffled amoung the lowly, trying to find the paper trail, somewhere there was a room of execs, silently exchanging significant glances, and worrying that they *might* actually find something.

The devils are amoung us... eh?

by jenn at February 20, 2002 4:00 PM

Did you know that the coroner actually closed this case as a suicide almost immediately? No investigation on who actually put the bullet in this guys head.

I tell you, he quit for a reason, and warned the others that they were dangerously close to sinking the Enron ship and needed to change how they handled the financial stuff before they got caught. He knew they were doing illegal things, and I would bet you anything that he was preparing to come forward with proof of the wrong doings.

I'm telling you the dude was executed to keep the info from coming out in front of a grand jury. I bet there are more than a couple of politicians that are sweating right now, hoping that the info never is found, and has all been destroyed.

The two execs that have already testified in front of congress took the fifth. I say they try to put as much blame on this guy as possible, and then find some other poor sap to become the scapegoat. See if anyone else turns up dead anytime soon.

Mark my words, the people that truly are to blame will not be brought to justice. Hell, we will never find out just what political circles were involved. All congressional hearings and any trials, if it even gets that far, will be truly superficial and the facts will never, ever get to the light of day.

Of all the people you hear about, he was the one that complained about the financing. He had no reason to "commit suicide". It is possible that he was the one to pull the trigger if he was given a choice of him dying, or his entire family dying if the info he had came out...

Not trying to sound like a conspiracy nut, but the timing isn't right for him to kill himself. If he was going to do it, it should have been done months ago.

by Wilbur at February 20, 2002 7:26 PM

Oh, I disagree completly. Except for a couple rare cases (JFK assasination?), every political scandal has been fully revealed eventually. The problem is, that revelation usually comes years (if not decades), after everyone has stopped caring.

As for Baxter, I think it's as likely he comitted suicide as it is that Vince Foster offed himself.

by mg at February 20, 2002 7:32 PM

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