Enron's Ken Lay: RIP?

Tradition holds that one should speak no ill of the dead. Tell that to the blogosphere.

At least in the case of the late Ken Lay, there is little sympathy among those quick to post their thoughts online. Lay, the former chairman of Enron, died Wednesday as he was awaiting sentencing after being convicted of fraud and conspiracy.

RIP?

Enron's collapse was one of the low moments in recent corporate history, a deafening crash amid the general din of the bursting dot-com bubble. Along with fellow Enron exec Jeffrey Skilling, Tyco honcho Dennis Kozlowski, HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy and a handful of others, Lay came to symbolize an era of corporate excess, criminal accounting and depradations upon gullible investors.

Throughout his trial, Lay maintained his innocence. Many in the blogosphere hold him guilty as charged, and then some.

Blog community response:

"I wonder if I'm alone in feeling that there would be great injustice in a world where a man like Lay could die and pass on his ill-gotten gains to his heirs, while the thousands of small investors, Enron employees, and other assorted victims who lost their life savings, their pensions, and their faith in the safety and uprightness of American business get bupkes."
--Psipsina

"I take no joy in a man's death. But neither do I necessarily shed tears. Either way, his ill gotten gains do him no good now."
--Musings of the Great Eric

"Kenneth Lay tragically passes away due to a massive heart attack before he receives his sentence. Impeccable timing... Two possible scenarios (in addition to the official version of events) come immediately to mind: Ken was going to roll over on Dubya & Company, and was 'neutralized', - or - Ken faked his own death and is currently laughing himself sick under a palm tree somewhere. Either scenario seems equally likely, and much more likely than 'Ken keeled over because he couldn't keep his LDLs in check'."
--TripMaster Monkey on Slashdot

"Ken Lay should be remembered as a man who earned degrees all the way up to his Doctorate in Economics, a man who served honorably in the Navy, who not only started a company but raised a family and grandchildren with constant dedication and love. Whatever his part in Enron, the whole of the man is greater and better than we shall likely hear in the press."
--Stolen Thunder

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About the author

Jonathan Skillings is managing editor of CNET News, based in the Boston bureau. He's been with CNET since 2000, after a decade in tech journalism at the IDG News Service, PC Week, and an AS/400 magazine. He's also been a soldier and a schoolteacher, and will always be a die-hard fan of jazz, the brassier the better.

 

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