Mail Call: Readers Lambaste the Self-Serving Behavior of Enron Executives at the Expense of Company Employees

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READERS LAMBASTE THE SELF-SERVING BEHAVIOR OF ENRON EXECUTIVES AT THE EXPENSE OF COMPANY EMPLOYEES

Deception and Disaster Kudos to Allan Sloan for the most coherent description of Enron's failure that I have seen ("Who Killed Enron," Business, Jan. 21). Discussions of the Enron debacle have been hampered by the complexity of the underlying transactions, and Sloan's analysis sheds light on these issues. I hope to see the day when the predominant practice in corporate America is to "tell it like it is." As investors, we simply want clear, truthful information on how a company has performed, how management expects it to perform in the future and what key risks face the company. Investors deserve, and should demand, better disclosure.

Dana R. Hermanson

Kennesaw, Ga.

Your cover story on the Enron debacle illuminates the inbred, parochial thinking that dominates this administration's approach to energy. Ken Lay is (was?) a friend of the president's and of many key members of his administration. He was by some accounts a major contributor to the energy policy they formed. This energy plan was ill conceived and clearly crafted to benefit the oil executives. This is now more apparent than ever. Ken Lay's actions and those of his fellow executives at Enron expose their moral hypocrisy. They withheld critical information from the public, deluded investors and employees about the true status of Enron, cashed in their own holdings while they still had value and, at the same time, prevented their own employees from selling Enron stock. As a consequence of their mismanagement and deception, thousands of people lost their jobs and a great many lost their retirement savings. Given the demonstrated dishonesty and lack of scruples of Lay and his fellow executives, any input they provided to our national energy plan is to be distrusted. In fact, the plan should be scrapped and a new effort to define an energy policy should be initiated that is open and includes participation by all relevant parties, not just energy executives.

Paul W. Rosenberger

Manhattan Beach, Calif.

This whole Enron story reminds me of the Ronald Reagan saga on Iran-contra. The president was said to be out of the loop, half of his administration was out of the loop and, lo and behold, critical documents were shredded. NEWSWEEK did a fine job with all of its contributors on the Enron story in helping us understand this awful mess. Let's hope our Justice Department makes those who took all the money fess up. Is there a John Dean out there?

Paula Belich

Littlefield, Ariz.

What a pity we can't treat the Enron executives who did wrong the way we now treat our domestic suspects in the September 11 attack: precipitous arrest, endless detention and frozen assets. My vote is to use all of their ill-gotten gains to fully compensate every last one of the victimized stockholders, employees and suppliers, and to keep the scum in uncomfortable hoose-gows (albeit with culturally appropriate cuisine) until they pay it all back. …