Ever since I heard Bernie Ebbers speak in 2001, I’ve been fascinated with that alien breed known as Fed Frats. They’re the troubled titans fallen from afar who set off resplendent fireworks all the way down.
WorldCom’s Ebbers, has been joined by [tag-tec]Dennis Kozlowski [/tag-tec] of [tag-ice]Tyco[/tag-ice] and the late Kenneth Lay of Enron. It’s a unique group, once rich beyond all get out, now despised by millions and destined to spend their retirements in medium security fed pens.
When you become a Fed Frat at age 80, facing a 15 year sentence as John Rigas of Adelphia, you really don’t have to worry anymore about such mundane things like how to literally ship the yacht to Monte Carlo for the winter. Yet I’ve got an inkling he’s not trying to figure out the new Prescription Drug Plan either.
So I guess they all got some sort of justice in the end if you can describe it as such.
New moneyed Kozlowski seems to get the most bad press as far as spending habits. And there’s a multitude that thinks Kenneth Lay cheated the system by dropping dead at a very appropriate time. But it’s Ebbers who is the most hypnotic to me since my Dad is still holding antique Scottish Inns stock that had morphed into WorldCom.
During the speech I heard Ebbers make in front of a largely conservative Christian audience, he kept pointing out how he taught a Sunday School class every week at the East Haven Baptist Church. Looking back I reckon we were being well warned as he kept repeating that for some reason. If he’s still teaching Sunday School today it’s at the Oakdale, Louisiana facility where he won’t be eligible for parole until he’s 85.
However, Kozlowski probably holds the distinction of being the most in- your -face. At least the others showed some sort of golf club exterior respectability as they grew rich and then poverty-stricken again, taking a whole lot of people to the poorhouse with them.
But I think it was that infamous $2 million shareholders’ meeting /birthday party for wife #2, Karen Kozlowski, that really did him in. Who needs a press release when you’ve got an ice sculpture of Michelangelo’s David that I’m much too blushable to discuss in this blog? Is it really smart to parade your $6000 shower curtain in front of guests? Not to mention the IRS ?
But in the end, it was not enough to hold Karen’s long lived loyalty. She served the ex-Tyco tycoon divorce papers last July.
They’ve all been pressurized to trade in a magnificent collection of properties which brings me to the big question. What happened to all that real estate? We’ll find out in the next post.