Authored and compiled by David M. Boje - copyright 2002 - Please cite accordingly
Enron is a Play, As You Like It, in the World's Metatheatre of Global Capitalism...
DUKE SENIOR: Thou seest we are not all alone unhappy;
This wide and universal theatre
Presents more woeful pageants than the scene
Wherein we play in.
JAQUES: All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts –
As you like it, (1598-1599 - Act II, Scene VII) by William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
In short, Enron is theatre on a global stage. This Chronology is arranged as ACTS and SCENES in a Tragedy of Enron's Metatheatre. CLICK ON ACT TO GO TO THOSE SCENES AND CHRONOLOGY.
|Table 1: Chronology Ordered by Acts in the Enron Play|
|ACT I: THERE WAS ALWAYS ENRON SCANDAL||ACT VII: LAY'S THEATRE PERFORMANCES NO LONGER BRINGS APPLAUSE|
|ACT II: ENRON DIFFUSES ITS NATIONAL AND GLOBAL POWER||ACT VIII: ENRON CALLS IN ITS SCRIPT WRITERS FOR REWRITES|
|ACT III: ENRON INTEGRATES ITS GLOBAL SPECTACLE||ACT IX: ENRON BECOMES A GULAG AND THE HOUNDS CLOSE FOR THE KILL|
|ACT IV: ENRON USES THEATRE TO MASQUERADE ITS RAPTOR NETWORK TO THE ANALYSTS||ACT X: ENRON MEGASPECTACLES: SUICIDE AND PUBLIC PERSECUTION|
|ACT V: ENRON BASKS IN BONFIRE OF ITS VANITIES||ACT XI: INSTITUTIONS RECHARACTERIZE ENRON MANAGERS AS CRIMINALS|
|ACT VI: ENRON'S FACADE BEGINS TO CRACK||EPILOGUE|
Plots are corporate strategies. You will see that there are a multiplicity of strategic plots throughout the history of Enron (1985 - 2002). Click on the following items to move to that section:
|1985 To become the premier natural gas pipeline in North America (Enron is the hero of deregulation in every administration's New Economy).|
|1990 To become the world’s first natural gas major (Enron is the hero of deregulated Free Economy market ideological frames).|
|1995 To become the world’s leading energy company (Enron becomes the hero of Virtual Corporations, an ideological frames that is about downsizing employees while providing maximum perks to full-time executives and their staff).|
|2001 To become the world’s leading company (Enron is the superhero of the Bonfire of the Vanities, a world conqueror of American hypercompetitive global capitalism).|
|2002 January, to emerge from bankruptcy as a viable, albeit smaller, companies (Enron, after bankruptcy is re-plotted as the villain, responsible for the domino effect of collapse of Arthur Andersen, and the string of expose megaspectacle scandals, such as WorldCom).|
|2002 August to keep the Enron executives from serving Jail time.|
There are ten Enron Plots that grasp together different chronological events:
|Table 2: ENRON PLOTS: Whodunit?|
|Plot 1. It was Andrew Fastow and his lieutenants.||Plot 6. It all relates to Afghanistan, and pipelines of ExxonMobil, Texaco, Unocal, BP Amoco, & Enron.|
|Plot 2. It was Fastow's bosses: Skilling and Lay.||Plot 7. Its a remake of the Seven Sisters from 1911|
|Plot 3. It was the Domino Effect, ripple effects of Enron caused other corporations & executives to be exposed||Plot 8. It was a failure of the system of Western Capitalism, its checks and balances.|
|Plot 4. It is the Whitehouse; this is Enrongate||Plot 9. It was the Business College, they taught the gentlemen crooks everything they needed to de-fraud.|
|Plot 5. It was all three Presidents (Bush Sr., Clinton, & Bush Jr.)||Plot 10. It was the greed and hubris of everyone.|
You can also use the following Interactive charts to move to chronology items. The plots, by the way, move backwards and forwards through time, as key institutions re-plot the history of Enron and their own institutional legitimation.
Historical Chronology of Rise and Fall of Enron
Wave MOUSE over chart items click & go
Figure 2 is an analysis by Boje of over 9,700 news reports about Enron (See Boje, 2002a & b) for the entire analysis.
Put these two figures together and you get some idea of how little U.S. media coverage there was of Enron global exploitation before the collapse. After the U.S. government agencies (SEC and Justice) begin their inquiry, and after Congress calls in Enron witnesses, the media Firestorm rages. But before this, the foreign media does report many Whistle Blowers, influence-for-cash scandals in the UK, and problematic claims about deregulation and Enron efficiency in foreign news papers (e.g. India). The chronology that follows, will allow you to trace some of the events. Then head to Nexus Lexus and find out for your self when the media caught on, and in which parts of the world.
Finally, we can link Tables 1 and 2, to get some idea of the complexity of plots and inter-plot (networks) that is being interwoven by case analysts, investigators, business professors, and strategically by Enron executives in the Enron Play. Plots and emplotments of chronological characters and events are strategic to insiders and outsiders. Plots grasp together bits and pieces of chronology in acts of retrospective sense making. Wading through chronology gives you some idea of who knew what when, and how history is being written and rewritten by powerful institutions (Business Colleges, government agencies, corporations).
Next I put the key plots into a network and align them where they are currently being emplotted into Enron's growing chronology.
CLICK ON ACTS IN NEXT TABLE TO GO TO CHRONOLOGY REFERENCES; CLICK ON PLOTS TO GO THERE IN THIS DOCUMENT.
Table 3: Enron Inter-Plot Network
|RISING ACTION||FALLING ACTION|
|ACT I: THERE WAS ALWAYS ENRON SCANDAL
ACT VII: LAY'S THEATRE PERFORMANCES NO LONGER BRINGS APPLAUSE
|ACT II: ENRON DIFFUSES ITS NATIONAL AND
VIII: ENRON CALLS IN ITS SCRIPT WRITERS FOR REWRITES
III: ENRON INTEGRATES ITS GLOBAL SPECTACLE
IX: ENRON BECOMES A GULAG AND THE HOUNDS CLOSE FOR THE KILL
IV: ENRON USES THEATRE TO MASQUERADE ITS RAPTOR NETWORK TO THE ANALYSTS
X: ENRON MEGASPECTACLES: SUICIDE AND PUBLIC PERSECUTION
V: ENRON BASKS IN BONFIRE OF ITS VANITIES
XI: INSTITUTIONS RECHARACTERIZE ENRON MANAGERS AS CRIMINALS
VI: ENRON'S FACADE BEGINS TO CRACK
- The play's last scene remains to be written. There are some lessons
being drawn. Capitalism will need to undergo a reformation that goes
beyond the Spectacle of Plots 1, 2 & 3, and even beyond the
presidential plots 4 & 5. The wider emplotments of corporate
institutions 6 & 7 is needed. But, to get the deeper changes
8 & 9 (systems of training in capitalism will be needed before 10
changes. For we are all characters in the Society of the Spectacle,
part of its Metatheatre.
Next, we turn to a reading of the chronological events. I have put in Scene and Act labels, and located where I think particular plots by insiders and outsiders are doing their emplotment (grasping together characters, events, themes, & ideological frames).
THE PRE-ENRON CHRONOLOGY: Birth of the 7th Sister
The play opens in a garden outside the house of John D. Rockefeller, in Cleveland Ohio. He is organizing the Standard Oil Company. It is Jun 1870. When you emplot the chronology using Plot 7. Its a remake of the Seven Sisters from 1911 (see Table 2 above), keep digging into history to see how the Seven Sisters formed when in 1911, the Supreme Court upheld decisions of many lower courts to break up the monopoly of Standard Oil. The breakup spawned the Seven Sisters. The Seven Sisters of Oil are Exxon, Mobil, Shell, British Petroleum, Gulf, Texaco, & Chevron). With the merger of Exxon and Mobil, there was on less sister. I think Enron became the Seventh Sister, the new Energy Empress. See history of Oil and the Seven Sisters.
1978 - Deregulation of the natural gas market with
the Natural Gas Policy Act (NGPA) of 1978. “Shortages of natural gas during
the 1970s led many gas pipeline companies to enter into long-term take- or-pay
contracts that obligated them to purchase a specific quantity of gas at a fixed
price, if the amount of gas purchased fell below the minimum set in the
contract, they were subject to deficiency payments. Simultaneously the pipeline
companies resold the gas to local distribution companies (LDC) at equivalent
prices with "minimum bill" provisions that mirrored the take-or-pay
contracts. However, de- regulation and limitations on industrial gas consumption
imposed by the NGPA of 1978 quickly reversed the supply short- age and gas and
gas prices fell dramatically.”
1981 - Newly
elected President Ronald Reagan imposes policy prescriptions as condition of
support for World Bank, which includes privatization, deregulation of oil, gas
and power markets to increase US access to non-OPEC sources of oil, and increase
developing country debt service payments.
1984 - the
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued Order No. 380 which declared
the minimum bill contracts between pipelines and LDCs invalid.
1984 – Kenneth Lay left Houston Natural Gas as CEO and chairman. Arthur Andersen, says they warned Lay in 1984 that the oil trading (see Valhalla Rogues below) needed more oversight.
1985 - HNG/InterNorth Inc. was created out of the merger of natural gas pipeline companies Houston Natural Gas and Nebraska-based InterNorth. The two corporations are evidently unaware that they have a third entity, the Valhalla Rogue Traders, who they do not discover until 1987 (see Jan 23 1987).
1986 Kenneth Lay is appointed chairman and chief executive
Mar 6, 1986, Kenneth Lay gathered his board of directors around him to resolve a nagging question. Lay was running a company called HNG/InterNorth Inc. The company was in the gas business, and pipelines, and was the result of the recent merger of Houston Natural Gas of Houston and the far larger InterNorth of Omaha. His first job, years before, had been at Exxon. Exxon sounded jazzy. Lay wanted something like that. The result was ENRON. A PR firm suggested "enteron," which by definition, is the alimentary canal of the fetus, the name suggested more than "change." Shareholders were displeased with the digestive and fecal undertones. In its place, endorsed at that March board meeting, a moniker was adopted that has no meaning at all but that has made Lay and his company very famous - Enron.
Jan 23 1987 FIRST WHISTLE BLOWER - a security officer at Apple Bank in New York called in the Enron’s VP of auditing, David Woytek, that some very strange transactions were being made by Borget and Mastroeni through the Enron Oil Company (located in Valhalla, N.Y.). Arthur Andersen is hired by Andersen to investigate.
April 1987 that the audit team presented their findings to Enron’s board, and recommended that Borget and Mastroeni be fired. However, Ken Lay ordered that the two men be retained. They had made $130 million in oil trades for Enron, and through the Channel Islands off-shore money laundering, had saved Enron from paying U.S. taxes. Enron desperately needed money.
October 1987, the S.E.C. had begun investigating the two top executives.
Oct 21,1986, Lay found himself fending off a
greenmail attack led by corporate raider Irwin Jacobs. Enron paid a $13 million
(U.S.) premium above stock price to make Jacobs go away. Mr. Jacobs's 5.1
million Enron shares and Leucadia's 2.3 million shares would eventually be
purchased from Enron by a new employee stock ownership plan. Together, the two
owned 16.4 percent of Enron's stock, with Mr. Jacobs the larger shareholder at
11.4 percent. Both Mr. Jacobs, who has held a substantial stake in the company
since 1985, and Leucadia, which became a shareholder in the middle of this year,
will get $47 a share for their holdings. The deal was arranged by Miliken at
Drexel Burnham Lambert. Enron did $3 billion in business with Drexel Burnham Lambert in the late
1980s, issuing $179.5 million in debt.
Oct 22 1987, Enron
finally disclosed publicly (just ahead of the SEC) that a "renegade
crude oil trader" had been running two sets of trading books, and filing
fake trading reports. The "trader" was Lou Borget, president of Enron
Oil Corp., an Enron subsidiary. The losses were huge - Enron announced it would
be taking an after-tax hit of $85 million in the third quarter of the year. He
went to jail for a year and a day. Enron
was rocked by the disclosure that rogue traders at its Enron Oil Co. had left
the company holding the bag for about $ 1 billion in trading liabilities. Before
disclosing it to the market, the company worked the trading loss down to about $
142 million. The losses led Enron's
management to discontinue its speculative oil trading operations . Enron
was rocked by the disclosure that rogue traders at its Enron Oil
Co. had left the company holding the bag for about $ 1 billion in trading
liabilities. Before disclosing it to the market, the
company worked the trading loss down to about $ 142 million. Unfortunately
most of Wall Street did not treat the Valhalla Rogue Trade scandal with any
serious reporting coverage, since the entire stock market was in a severe crash
dive. Timing is everything.
. Enron was rocked by the disclosure that rogue traders at its Enron Oil Co. had left the company holding the bag for about $ 1 billion in trading liabilities. Before disclosing it to the market, the company worked the trading loss down to about $ 142 million. Unfortunately most of Wall Street did not treat the Valhalla Rogue Trade scandal with any serious reporting coverage, since the entire stock market was in a severe crash dive. Timing is everything.
1987 "... Kenneth Lay, chairman and chief executive of Enron Corp., gathered his 1,700 employees together at the company’s downtown Houston headquarters and made them a promise: It won’t happen again” (Steffy & Levy, 2002: 30). Note: This Metatheatre performance recurs again, following Skillings' August 2001 resignation.
1988 - Presidential race, Lay was big for George Bush. The first one. Just as he would later be a significant backer for the littler Bush, raising more than $100,000 personally for the Bush presidential campaign, and through Enron, which made more than $700,000 in direct political contributions.
1990 former Enron employees Borget and Mastroeni settled their lawsuit, and pleaded guilty of defrauding Enron. “Enron charged in a March 26 1990 lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York State, "there was no such person (as M. Yass) and these funds had been diverted to Mastroeni's own personal use and benefit" (UPI, March 21, 2002).
June 29, 1990 – Jeffrey Skilling hired at Enron from the consulting group McKinsey & Co. where he had been a senior partner. For the previous five years Skilling had worked on the Enron file. For the previous five years Skilling had worked as Enron consultant. Skilling becomes chairman of Enron Gas Services.
1991 – J. Clifford Baxter, Columbia MBA (top of the class of '87), then aged 32, joined a small energy company called Enron.
1991 – Andrew Fastow entered the company from Continental Bank to manage Enron Finance Corp. He would eventually become Enron's chief financial officer.
1991- Rebecca Mark, hired in 1991 as CEO of Enron Development Corporation, ‘Mark the Shark’ would become the most powerful woman in America by 1998. Rebecca Mark, known as Mark the Shark and Skilling the Vader would engage in a 10-year Metatheatre rivalry that some say led to the ruination of Enron by 2000. For example, Rebecca Mark’s globetrotting visits on the Enron jet, became a Metatheatre road show complete with an entourage of WB, WFO, IMF, CIA agents mixed along with Mark’s hair dresser, make up artist, and a flock of assistants. Skilling had his own Metatheatre, with (Macho) Mighty Man (storm trooper) expeditions as rewards for performance, and rank and yank dismissal for the lowest 15% of the troops.
See Plot 5. It was all three Presidents (Bush Sr., Clinton, & Bush Jr.).
1992, Kenneth Lay was chairman of the host committee for the Republican National Convention in Houston.
1992 - Enron’s 2,184-megawatt Dabhol power plant since 1992 has been resisted. "Free us from Enron" reads one report (Dugger, 2001: 1). Said to be the largest the largest gas-fired plant in the world has produced many anti-Enron crusaders. The Dabhol plant produced electricity that cost three times as much as competitor’s prices, and six times more than the coal-fired plant it replaced.
Nov 16 1992 Enron was among the energy companies that filed a petition asking the commission to exempt the derivative contracts from regulation on Nov. 16, a week after the results of the presidential election dictated that Gramm would soon be out of a job as CFTC chairman. Also, When the elder Bush was voted out of office in 1992, two of his Cabinet members, Secretary of State James A. Baker III and Commerce Secretary Robert Mosbacher, worked for Enron.
1993, following Dessert Storm, James Baker, Robert Mosbacher and former operations director of the Joint Chiefs, Thomas Kelly, now/then on the Enron payroll, the three former Bush administration officials, along with George H.W., Neil and Marvin Bush pressured Kuwaiti officials to award Enron a contract to rebuild the Shuaiba power plant, which was destroyed during the war. The contract was awarded to Enron, even though Enron's price for supplying power was significantly higher than that of other bidders.
Jan 21 1993 Wendy L. Gramm resigned as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Jan. 21. Five weeks later, she was appointed to the board of directors of Enron Corp.
Feb 22, 1993 Mr. Baker and Mr. Mosbacher have signed consulting agreements with Enron, the nation's largest natural gas company, and will have an opportunity to invest in any projects they develop, the company said. Mr. Baker was Treasury Secretary and White House chief of staff under former President Ronald Reagan and Secretary of State and chief of staff under President George Bush., Mr. Mosbacher, a former member of Enron's board of directors, was Secretary of Commerce from 1989 to early 1992, and then headed the Bush re-election campaign before becoming chairman of finance for the Republican National Committee.
April 17, 1993 Wendy L. Gramm, who as the Bush Sr. administration's top commodities market regulator began proceedings that removed a number of exotic financial transactions from federal regulation, has joined the board of a Houston company that was one of the leading advocates of that deregulation. During the first Bush administration Enron received waivers from regulations by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission headed by Wendy Gramm who was later appointed to Enron’s Board of Directors. Texas senator Phil Gramm’s wife was on the Enron Board of Directors and Texas separator Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s husband was a partner in Enron’s law firm. In the future, the Clinton administration made these waivers part of federal law.
1994 – Enron
was using other companies to control and hold troubled assets. E.g. Enron Global
Power & Pipelines, a 52% controlled subsidiary that most employees referred
to by its stock symbol, EPP. Enron owned a majority of EPP stock. The CRO of EPP
worked closely with Arthur Anderson and with Vinson & Elkins LLP (Enron’s
law firm). EPP was a dumping ground for troubled Enron projects and liabilities,
such as a 50% interest in a Guatemalan power plant that had higher than
projected downtime, and higher operating and maintenance costs than forecast
(See Steffy & Levy, 2002: 34).
1994 - The Clinton administration provided three loans between 1994 and 1998 to the now-defunct Dabhol power project in India. Mr. Clinton's commerce secretary, Ron Brown, trumpeted the approval of the Dabhol loans on a trade mission to India in 1995, with Mr. Lay by his side.
Dec 14, 1994 elected the Right Honorable Lord Wakeham of the United Kingdom to its board of directors. Wakeham is retired secretary of state for energy and leader of the House of Lords. He was a member of the British Parliament from 1974 to 1992, holding a number of positions under Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major.
1995 - PSLRA is a law passed as part of the GOP's 1994 Contract With America, is called the Public Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The measure was vetoed by President Bill Clinton but was overridden in the Republican-controlled Congress and became law. PSLRA raised the bar for class action plaintiffs seeking civil recovery from the likes of Ken Lay et al. The law did so by reversing the civil law's natural order (source). There are several implications for the 2002 attempts to prosecute Enron executives:
"Every statement allegedly made by Mr. Skilling and claimed by plaintiffs to be false or misleading, is protected under PSLRA's safe harbor provisions…"
Fastow's "state of mind" must be proven - PSLRA provides that where a plaintiff must allege that the defendant acted with a particular state of mind
1996 - Enron had $19 billion worth of power plants in over two-dozen countries.
Feb 4 1996 Earliest ‘New Economy’ reference to Enron by the media focused on its strategy of downsizing and outsourcing employees. Enron would become the role model of the New Economy corporation for three Presidents. Ken Lay’s deregulation rhetoric asserts, “I have a strong belief in markets. In fact, I think that an imperfect market is preferable to a perfect regulator."
1997 The Enron partnership rhythms are on the move, in a self-organizing complexity since 1997 Enron acquires electric utility holding company Portland General Corp. in a $2.1 billion stock swap. In 1997, Mr Skilling got up at 4.30am and by 9am had done nine radio interviews. By noon, Enron had an airplane circling Peco's HQ in Philadelphia with a banner saying: "Enron doubles Peco's rate cuts" (Durgin & Skinner, June 26 2000).when Peco Energy, a large gas utility in Pennsylvania, was negotiating with state regulators over how it should be compensated for past investments, it offered to cut rates by 10 per cent. Enron saw a chance to enter the market and launched a lobbying and public-relations effort to promote its offer of a 20 per cent discount..
"Starting in at least early 1997, Enron's CFO, Kopper and others devised a scheme to defraud Enron and its shareholders by enriching themselves through the use of certain Enron SPEs (special purpose entities)," the information charging Kopper said. (source)
Jun 3, 1997, police forcibly entered the home of several women in Veldur, a fishing village in western state of Maharashtra, India dragged the women into waiting police vans, beating them with sticks. The only "crime" committed by these women was to lead a peaceful protest against a massive new natural gas plant being built for a Houston-based company named Enron” - Amnesty International 1997. See e.g. 1
1998 - The Cash for Access Megaspectacle Scandal - Enron buys Britain’s Wessex Water for $2.2 billion. And “three weeks after the 1998 Labour party conference… the government decided not to refer the company's pounds 1.5bn takeover of Wessex Water to the Monopolies Commission - thus giving the American giant a monopoly of water supplies in much of south-west England” (Wheen, 2001: 5)This is the result of Metatheatre and well managed Megaspectacle. In 1998 there was an Enron mini-scandal in the UK (a precursor to the megaspectacle # H below). Enron paid 15,000 pounds to sponsor a pre-dinner drinks reception. Buchanan (1998: 16) commented about the event in ways the U.S. press was not reporting until after the spectacular collapse. In the UK, Lay held gala dinners for Blair ministry and Labor Party, such as the one at Stakis Hotel in Blackpool. This is now known as the Enron cash-for-access scandal. “Among the invited guests mixing with Ministers were a clutch of celebrities including singer Mick Hucknall, comedian Eddie Izzard and actor Jeremy Irons, there to sprinkle the event with a touch of showbiz glamour” (Barnett, Ahmed, & Morgan, 2002).
1998 - Jeffrey Skilling got permission from the Enron Board of Directors in 1998 to date an Enron secretary, Rebecca Carter, whom insiders called “Va Voom” behind her back. Secretaries who dated Enron executives were known as "French Lieutenants' Women." Carter was quickly promoted to executive secretary to Enron’s board of directors; her salary was raised to $600,000.
1999, Human Rights Watch charged in a 166-page report, "The Enron Corporation: Corporate Complicity in Human Rights Violations," that Enron subsidiaries paid local law enforcement to suppress opposition to its power plant south of Bombay.
Feb 1999 - at a meeting of the Enron board of directors' audit committee in the Four Seasons Hotel in London, David Duncan gave a detailed presentation on Enron's accounting, saying it was "high risk" in several categories with a high probability it could be questioned.
August 1999 Enron withdraws from oil and natural gas production with divestment of its remaining stake in subsidiary Enron Oil & Gas Co. which is renamed EOG Resources.
See Plot 10. It was the greed and hubris of everyone.
August 1999, Enron filed a public report on its financial results, disclosing that a senior executive was managing a partnership, LJM Cayman LP. The item, about 200 words under the heading "Related Party Transactions," said Enron had engaged in a series of complicated deals with LJM, including the transfer of 3.4 million shares of stock, then worth about $100 million. There is an earlier secret partnership than these called Chewco. Chewco was a confidential partnership Fastow’s team had concocted to keep more than $600 million in debt off Enron’s books, keeping it hidden from analysts, average investors, and pesky regulators. Chewco - Fastow assigned his top deputy Michael J. Kopper to own and manage it and Kopper’s domestic partner William Dodson (a Continental Airlines employee). Kopper and Dodson put in $125,000 of their cash, borrowed $11 million more from Barclays Bank. One can assume that Enron's facade is being propped up by these off-the-balance-sheet partnership. Later both Lay and Skilling will distance themselves from all knowledge of them, leaving Fastow holding the bag/blame.
Inside Enron, there were plenty of whistle blowers: e.g. Vince Kaminski (see June, 1999) warned Enron upper executives that the LJM partnerships were a bad financial risk. Jeffrey McMahon, Enron's treasurer, says he also complained about the LJM partnerships, and he also was transferred (See Boje, 2002b LJM paper).
The facade is kept up by compromising all attempts by Wall Street Analysis and Enron employees to Blow the Whistle. For example:
UBS PaineWebber broker, says he too opposed the partnerships from the get go, but was also ignored, then transferred to another department. When he advised investors to dump Enron stock, he was fired when Enron executives complained to his bosses (See Boje, 2002b LJM paper).
Merrill Lynch analyst, John Olson, got in trouble for questioning Enron's dealings six years ahead of the pack. He was forced out (See Boje, 2002b LJM paper).
FAKE TRADING FLOOR (Metatheatre) - Annually, for next four years, Jeffrey Skilling and Kenneth Lay played their starring role in the Enron Dramatis Personae, on a Hollywood-style fake stage on Enron's 6th floor, to a target audience of invited Wall Street analysts, who can not tell real from fake (See Boje, 2002b LJM paper).
October 1999 Enron announces launch of Enron Online, its Internet-based system for wholesale energy trading.
1999 Enron Broadband Services introduces the Enron
Intelligent Network (EIN), a new Internet application delivery platform. Enron
Investment Partners is created to manage private equity funds targeting women
and minority owned businesses in Houston and around the U.S. Enron
and the Houston Astros announce the name of Houston's new ballpark, "Enron
Field," and a 30-year facilities management contract with EES. The 826 MW
Phase I of the Dabhol Power Project begins commercial operation, and financing
for the 1,624 MW Phase II and India's first LNG receiving facility is completed.
EES transacts its first billion-dollar deal with Suiza Foods.
Jun 1999 - Vince Kaminski, head of Enron Research, says he warned Enron upper executives that the LJM partnerships were a bad financial risk.
Jan 2000 Enron outlines ambitious plans to build a high-speed broadband telecommunications network and trade network capacity, or bandwidth, in the same way it trades electricity, or natural gas
Mar 2000 Treasurer Jeffrey McMahon approached Jeffrey K. Skilling with "serious concerns about Enron's dealings with the LJM partnerships," the Powers report said, citing an account from McMahon (report released Feb. 2002). Kristina Mordaunt (Enron’s in-house attorney), was one of the investors in an LJM partnership.
Also in March 2000, Kopper had invited Mordaunt to join in a confidential and secret investment deal, called Southampton Place, that would take place when the LJM1 partnership was terminated. Southhampton bought out the interests of one of LJM1's principal investors, a British bank. Ben Glisan (Enron's Treasurer) and Kristina Mordaunt (in-house attorney) had invested $ 5,800 apiece, and would net one million each. (See Boje, 2002b LJM paper).
Apr 14, 2000 Internet bubble popped on Friday, April 14, 2000, 88 years to the day after the Titanic disaster and when a decline in technology stocks drove the Dow Jones industrial average down 617.78 points, its most precipitous plunge ever. The point of the analysis I am doing is to show just how long Enron was able so sustain the illusion and masquerade through Metatheatre that for Enron the bubble had not burst.
May 2000, for instance, it said Enron Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow was manager of a key partnership and would be compensated for his role.
Jun 1 2000 Enron stock price is $71.12 a share.
Aug 23 2000 Enron’s stock hits an all-time high of $90.56 (resulting in a price/earnings multiple of 60 times). This is also when Rebecca Mark is force out of Enron and sells her shares at the peak of Enron's stock price. Mark realized $79.5 million from sale of Enron stock.
Sept 2000, Enron
dissolved, with no fanfare, a subsidiary called the Gas Bank that it had created
by Jeffrey Skilling in 1989. Gerald Bennett says the Gas Bank was his idea, but
it was Skilling who got the credit.
Oct 4 2000 - Enron Press Release date - "Fortune magazine has named Enron "America's Most Innovative Company" for five consecutive years, the top company for "Quality of Management" and the second best company for "Employee Talent." In addition, Enron ranks in the top quarter of Fortune's "Best 100 Companies to Work For in America." Enron's Internet address is www.enron.com. The stock is traded under the ticker symbol ENE." -- from an Enron press release, 4 October 2000
Nov 2000 - Enron's quarterly report disclosed that it had engaged in an array of transactions with the partnerships. Total value: $1.2 billion. The disclosure came in about a full page of text.
Late 2000 (Summary) wealthy Enron insiders systematically sold $1.1 billion worth of shares, but when rumors began circulating that the company was in freefall, executives responded by slapping no-sell restrictions on thousands of employees ( See Oct 29 2001) who wanted to unload their shares. Given Lay's close ties with the Whitehouse (5 former Enron executives are members of the Bush administration) and the Bush family (e.g. Bush Jr. sons were doing Enron deals at end of Gulf War) it is highly unlikely that any fraud charges will ever be brought against him. In addition, 21 U.S. government agencies, multilateral development banks, and other national governments gave Enron (and Mark) some very deep pockets. Enron and a number of its executives, including Lay, had contributed more money to Bush over his political career than anyone else, an amount exceeding $550,000. $7.219 billion financing toward 38 projects in 29 countries facilitated their global reach. Enron’s ties to the World Bank from 1992 to 2001 provided $761 million (tax payer dollars) in Enron support and political pressure for countries to get with Enron programs, and loss aid. Together with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank pressured the world’s government to pursue deregulation and privatization of the power and energy sectors of the global economy. (See Reports for SEEN documentation of U.S. agencies, WTO, WB, and IMF financing of Enron projects around the world). See Boje 2002a for an analysis
Dec 2000 At the close of 2000, Enron recorded revenues of $100 billion; net income was $1.3 billion, and is paying no taxes (but relying on U.S. corporate welfare system to finance its global projects).
Jan 2001 Enron had a market value of more than $77 billion. Stock price was $82 per share.
Early 2001 - Enron closed down the Chewco partnership in early 2001, and paid Kopper and Dodson $10.5 million.
Jan. 20, 2001 George W. Bush is sworn in as president. Enron and Kenneth L. Lay, Enron's chief executive, each contribute $100,000 to help pay for the inaugural events.
Plot 9. It was the Business College, they taught the gentlemen crooks everything they needed to de-fraud (that is what my Dad thought).
Daniel Q. Boje called his son to say, “David [Boje], I want you to research connections between the Whitehouse and oil; I don’t like what President Bush is doing to the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge.” He also wanted me to look into Vice President Cheney's oil service company (largest in the world) interests in the ANWR (See Boje, 2002a for documentation). Summary points:
Enron contributed $323,460 to U.S. Senators who would not co-sponsor Senate Bill 411 (Sen. Lieberman (D-CT), which would permanently close the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge to drilling. Enron contributed $736,800 directly to George W. Bush. Enron also donated $888,265 to the Republican National Committee during the 2000 election.
Vice President Cheney’s Halliburton Company (the world’s largest oil service company--since 1995) has many Alaska ventures that would profit if the ANWR were opened to drilling. Ironically, when Vice President Cheney was Halliburton oil services corporation CEO, in Enron fashion, the Halliburton books may have been cooked in 1998 ($100 million in construction charges were reported as revenue). Halliburton is now under investigation by the S.E.C. for accounting fraud. Cheney received $33 million in severance pay from Halliburton, when he became Bush’s VP. It is alleged Cheney repaid the payoff with a variety of federal favors for Halliburton.
Lay allegedly had President Bush replace Curtis Hebert Jr., chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, with Pat Woods III, who was more pro-Enron (New York Times, May 25 2001). Woods was the head of the PUC in Texas and wanted this job. The GAO investigated the claim by the NY Times and in an Aug 16, 2001 finding by Honorable Joseph I. Lieberman, said that Lay's calls to Bush and Hebert did not violate any of 3 criminal statues (it was not bribery, there was no offer of money, & no money was solicited; see sections 201, 210 & 211 of # 18 U.S.C.). Hebert was replaced by Mr. Pat Woods, who President Bush nominated on April 30th, and was confirmed (long with Nora Brownell) May 25 2001. This could be a coincidence, or not. Woods became Chair 9/1/01. Chair Hebert resigned 8/31/01.
Five members of Bush’s Administration used to work for Enron (1. Bush Economic Adviser, Lawrence Lindsey was an Enron consultant; 2. U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Zoellick was an Enron Advisory Board Member; 3. Secretary of the Army, Thomas White was a former Enron executive; 4. James Baker, Chief of Staff to President Bush worked for Enron; and 5. Robert Mosbacher, Commerce Secretary, worked for Enron). Plus, Republican National Committee Chairman, Marc Racicot was an Enron lobbyist
This is Bi-partisan - Clinton administration, for example, provided more than $1 billion in subsidized loans to Enron overseas projects, while Enron contributed nearly $2 million to Democratic causes.
Click here for 1 page photo display of Bush Administration Cast of Characters linked to Enron (please click photo to adjust size).
During the 2000 presidential election recount battle, George W. Bush's campaign used jets owned by several large corporations, including Enron Corp. and Halliburton Co., that are now under federal investigation, according to Internal Revenue Service records and officials (source).
Enron played both sides during the election, giving 45% of its soft money to
Gore’s Democratic presidential campaign and 55% to the Bush campaign. 30% of
Enron PAC money went to Democratic campaigns, and the balance to Republican.
Enron added $620,000 from company funds and Enron gave $520,000 to the Gore
campaign. No fewer than 71 senators and 188 congressmen have been on the Enron
gravy train (Rich, 2002).
Feb 9 2001 - Hebert was replaced by Mr. Pat Wood and confirmed on this date.
Feb 5, 2001, 14 Andersen senior partners gathered by teleconference to discuss whether Enron was too risky a client to keep.
Plot 8. It was a failure of the system of Western Capitalism, its checks and balances.
Feb 12, 2001 Skilling becomes president and chief executive officer of Enron.
Feb 22 2001 Lay and other Enron officials meet with Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force at the White House.
Feb 23 2001 Signing date of Enron's Annual Report by Arthur Anderson.
Mar 7 2001 Lay and other Enron officials meet again
with the energy task force staff.
Mar 16 2001 - McMahon says he met with former CEO Jeff Skilling to raise several concerns about conflicts surrounding the special purpose entities (SPEs) created to move assets and debts off Enron's books McMahon admitted that he sold $1.8 million of Enron stock on the day of this meeting with Skilling. (source Feb 7 2002 hearing)
Apr 17 2001 Lay and other Enron officials meet with
May 2001 J. Clifford Baxter resigns (stays on as a consultant).
May 17 2001 The energy task force issues its report, which endorses many but not all proposals favored by Enron.
June 19, 2001 Skilling issued a statement to the markets in which he reiterated "strong confidence" in its earnings guidance. The stock rebounded slightly throughout the week, closing at $44.05 by June 21st.
Summer 2001 -Enron corporate lawyer Jordan Mintz told CNN that he hired law firm Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson last summer to take another look at Enron's financial structure. Fried Frank then reportedly recommended that Enron end its partnership deals.
Aug, 2001 a
former manager, Margaret Ceconi, sent an
e-mail message to Mr. Lay asserting that the company was shifting more than $500
million in losses out of the division.
Aug. 6: FERC
Chairman Curt Herbert announces he will resign. Lay later says he was
instrumental in forcing Herbert out in a disagreement over further deregulation
of the energy market.
Aug. 14, 2001 Skilling resigns as Enron president and chief executive officer, citing personal reasons. Ken Lay returns to position of chief executive officer. Enron stock fell 14 per cent in a day, a sure sign that confidence was fragile.
See Plot 6. It all relates to Afghanistan, and pipelines of ExxonMobil, Texaco, Unocal, BP Amoco, & Enron.
Sep 11 2001 - 9-11 Collapse of World Trade Center and attack on Pentagon by terrorists. By late September, after Skilling resigned and it was apparent the company was spiraling downward, Lay made a last-ditch cheerleading effort. His "Lay It on the Line" in-house survey generated 4,000 responses from employees about the company in three days (Streitfeld & Romney, 2002). Daniel Q. Boje calls his son David, after 9-11, “David, I want you to research the relation between oil contracts in the Gulf War, and the Whitehouse and the War on Terrorism" Boje, 2002a for documentation). I finally understood my Dad was saying, 'David as a Business College Professor, you are complicit in Enron's grab for oil around the world" I trained the consultants and accountants who worked for Enron. I began reviewing 9,784 news items on Enron and Oil connections to the Business College (of which this chronology is a sample, See Figure 2 above).
ExxonMobil, Texaco, Unocal, BP Amoco, Shell (the 7, now 6 Sisters of Oil) and Enron invested billions in bribes to heads of state in Kazakhstan to secure equity rights in the huge oil reserves in the Afghanistan region. What Enron wanted in Afghanistan was the CentGas (Central Asian Gas) pipeline; Enron did the feasibility study.
Sept. 26, 2001, Enron CEO Kenneth Lay still urged employees to buy more shares in the Houston energy firm. "The third quarter is looking great," Lay said.
Oct 2, 2001 Lay e-mailed survey results to them, one of whom gave The Times a copy. More than 1 out of 3 said they weren't committed to staying at Enron. Other signs of trouble: 42% said the company was more "self-serving" than it had been a year earlier, while 39% said it had grown more "arrogant." And 37% said the company was less "trustworthy" (Streitfeld & Romney, 2002).
Oct 4, 2001 “Kenneth L. Lay was on stage, one of the nation's most admired business executives presiding over an Enron Corp. energy summit at the Ritz-Carlton at Pentagon City.
Back in Houston, Lay's treasurer, Ben F. Glisan, and another executive worked the phones, quietly breaking bad news to analysts for the nation's Big Three corporate credit-rating agencies: Enron was about to report significant losses for the third quarter See METATHEATRE of LJM Boje, 2002a LJM paper).
Oct 12 2001, Enron crafted a script of its soon to be announced down-writing to partners at Arthur Anderson, who say they “strongly objected to the ‘non-recurring’ phrasing as misleading” (Witt & Behr, 2002: A01; See Boje, 2002a LJM paper).
Oct. 16, 2001 Tuesday - Enron reports its first quarterly loss in over four years after taking charges of $1 billion on poorly performing businesses. Enron also discloses a $1.2 billion charge against shareholders’ equity relating to dealings with partnerships run by chief financial officer Andrew Fastow. Then Internet bubble had burst.
Oct 17 2001, Wednesday morning, the WSJ (Emshwiller, 2001: 1) carried a front-page story: “Enron Corp reports third-quarter net loss of $618 million after $1.01 billion in charges that reflect risks it has taken in transforming itself from pipeline company into diversified trading company; charges include $35 million related to limited partnerships, LJM Cayman LP and LJM2 Co-Investment LP, run by chief financial officer Andrew S Fastow that raises conflict-of-interest questions” (First of three WSJ articles). Enron, then discloses a $1.2 billion charge against shareholders’ equity relating to dealings with partnerships run by chief financial officer Andrew Fastow. The Internet bubble had really burst, and the cover was being blown.
By end of day, October 17 2001, the SEC requested by fax, more information concerning Fastow and the LJM partnerships.
Lay traveled on the 17th to Boston to performed his Metatheatre before 40 investment-fund managers and securities analysts, over lunch on the center stage of the Four Seasons Hotel. In response to questions, Lay attacked the critical press coverage, calling it an irresponsible wild goose chase, and defended Fastow.
Oct 18 2001 Thursday - SEC phoned Enron for details about Fastow and LJM Cayman and LJM2 Co-Investment partnerships.
19 2001 Friday - Enron shares ended the day at $
Oct. 22, 2001 Monday - At 8:30 A.M. (October 22) Lay was performing his theatre with 200 of Enron’s top-tier managers, in the Dogwood room on the 3rd floor of Houston’s downtown Hyatt. Lay did not know that rumors about the SEC had leaked in the financial wire services. The rumors circulated that SEC was looking into transactions between Enron and the Fastow partnerships. The Metatheatre facade was collapsing quickly; Enron had by this time wiped out $60 billion in shareholder value. At Lay's performance, handheld BlackBerry messaging devices are displaying the wire service rumors to audience members (For Story, see Boje, 2002a LJM paper).
DARK TUESDAY - October 23 2001. Tuesday - Lay is huddled with a small group of advisors in a conference room adjoining his 50th-floor office suite. They are rehearsing “a carefully worded script” prepared by Enron’s publicists and several executives. The script is for a 8:30 AM live webcast chat with security analysts in an effort to quench the media firestorm about Fastow’s role in LJM partnerships. "Ronald T. Astin, a lawyer with Enron's outside law firm, Vinson & Elkins LLP, was asked to help fix the metascript. He rewrote it to say that it was Fastow who presented the LJM proposal to the board" (Witt & Behr, 2002: A01, bold is mine). Key Points.
When Astin made the metascript changes, Andrew S. Fastow, "yelled that Astin was wrong about who was responsible for LJM. 'It was Skilling!'" he shouted.
Lay read the metascript in the webcast, addressing LJM and Fastow head on. "Let me reiterate a couple of things. We clearly heard investor concerns earlier this year, and Andy Fastow, Enron's chief financial officer, ceased all affiliations with LJM." (For the full metascript text, see Boje, 2002a LJM paper).
Duncan and a small group of Andersen accountants listened in to the Ken Lay webcast/conference call as a virtual audience in another room. Then, David Duncan held his own meeting, following the conference call, and told his audit team to get serious about complying the Andersen’s document-retention policy (i.e. shred it all). The audit team put in a call to Sharon Thibaut, who oversaw document shredding (see Boje, 2002a LJM paper).
Quick Entrance by Lay to an assembled audience of 1,000 Enron employees
Later this same day, Ken Lay, a starring character, had to hurry along to another theatrical stage, a Hyatt ballroom where several thousand Enron employees were assembled as spectators. Unlike previous performances, the employees were no longer willing to suspend debrief. They became critical of Lay’s (metatheatre) performance.
Lay reacted to the critical reviews. That same day (Tuesday, October 23 2001), Lay took a $4 million cash advance from Enron. In the next three days, he drew down another $19 million. But, he repaid $6 million by transferring stock he owned to Enron; this avoided the SEC insider trading reporting requirement (see Boje, 2002a LJM paper).
See Plot 2. It was Fastow's bosses: Skilling and Lay.
Oct. 24, 2001 Wednesday -Lay announces that Andrew Fastow would be taking a leave of absence. Fastow is replaced as chief financial officer by Jeff McMahon, head of Enron’s industrial markets unit. Carol Coale of Prudential Securities Inc., an early Enron skeptic, became the first analyst to break from the pack and issue a sell recommendation for Enron stock. Coale’s downgrading of Enron’s ratings, undid a good deal of Metatheatre.
Andrew Stuart Fastow is now quite rich. Besides the $45 million Fastow says he made in the partnerships called LJM Cayman LP, known as LJM1, and LJM2 Co-Investment LP, Fastow earned a hefty salary and stock options at Enron. In 1999 and 2000, Fastow also sold $23 million in Enron stock. Shares of Enron have fallen 89 per cent, thus far, this year. Fastow is completing construction of an 11,500-square-foot house in Houston's wealthy River Oaks neighborhood.
Oct. 26, 2001 Friday - Lay calls Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan about Enron's problems.
In another room in Enron-TAMARA, Glisan
(Enron’s treasurer) and Fastow’s trusted aide), assembled his team of
accountants and lawyers inside in-house attorney Kristina Mordaunt’s
office at the 14000 Smith Street headquarters tower. Glisan had helped Fastow design the LJM
partnerships. The group is reviewing the Chewco Investments L.P.
file. The (Aristotelian) tragic flaw, noticed
by Glisan’s team was that according to the accounting rules, 3 percent of
Chewco funding had to come from outside investors in order for the
partnership to meet the definition of independent.
Oct 28 2001 Sunday - Mr. Lay talks to Paul H. O'Neill, the Bush administration's Treasury secretary. Secretary O'Neill asks Under Secretary Peter R. Fisher to look into the condition of Enron. Mr. Fisher talks with Greg Whalley, Enron's president, six to eight times over the next few days. According to Mr. Fisher, Mr. Whalley hints that he would like Mr. Fisher to call Enron's creditors and ask them to extend Enron's credit. Mr. Fisher said he made no such calls.
is the day (Oct 28), Lay added Williams C. Powers Jr.,
dean of the University of Texas School of Law, to Enron's board. Powers was
to head an inquiry aided by Wilmer, Cutler lawyers. Lay also hired former
SEC enforcement chief William R. McLucas and his partners at the law firm of
Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering to conduct this spectacle.
The outside squad of inquisitors (lawyers & accountants) began to
do their interviews, asking tough questions about Fastow and LJM.
Oct. 29, 2001
Monday - Stock plans for 15,000 workers were
locked down, workers were powerless to bail out of their rapidly depreciating
Enron stock for 16 days, starting Oct. 29. Lay talks to Bush's Commerce
Secretary Donald Evans and asks for help regarding an impending credit rating
review by Moody's Investors Service. Evans said he did nothing. Moody's
downgrades Enron's credit rating.
Oct. 30, 2001 Tuesday - Sherron Watkins wrote script changes in an Oct. 30 e-mail that she had just given Lay a two-page list titled "Disclosure steps to rebuild investor confidence." It suggested that Lay criticize former chief executive Jeffrey K. Skilling, Chief Financial Officer Andrew S. Fastow, outside auditor Arthur Andersen and law firm Vinson & Elkins for dealings in controversial partnerships whose unraveling put Enron stock in a tailspin. For herself, Watkins made a bid for a big starring role in the new script. She was available "ASAP" to become Lay's personal "devil's advocate," unraveling knotty accounting and unmasking employees who were lying out of self-preservation. By Oct. 30, however, the company's fortunes were worsening too quickly for yet another script change. Lay met with Watkins again about her script ideas, telling her that he intended to restate Enron's earnings and fire the law firm (V&E) and Arthur Andersen.
Nov. 1, 2001 J.P. Morgan and Salomon Smith Barney agree to provide an additional $1 billion in secured credit to Enron.
See Plot 3. It was the Domino Effect, ripple effects of Enron caused other corporations & executives to be exposed.
Nov. 8 2001- As
a result of the William C. Powers Jr. and William R. McLucas'
(the new Enron Board members) inquisition, Ben Glisan (Enron treasurer) and Kristina
Mordaunt (general counsel to Enron) were confronted, fired and escorted by
security from the building for their secret role (and million dollar
profits) from the Southampton partnership (to replace an LJM partner). Soon
after, Kathy Lynn, vice-president of an unnamed Enron
division, and Anne Yaeger, identified by Enron as a non-officer employee
were also implicated with LJM2, fired and escorted by security from the
Enron HQ building (a rather shallow anti-climatic spectacle). According
to Bush Secretary O'Neill, Mr. Lay in a phone call draws a parallel between
Enron's problems and those of Long Term Capital, the giant hedge fund the
government helped rescue in 1998. On this day, Enron
also decided Chewco, LJM1,
& LJM2 should have been consolidated on their books since 1997, which
reduced prior reported net income by $586 million.
Nov. 9, 2001 Enron agrees to a deal in which smaller rival Dynegy Inc. will buy Enron for some $9 billion in stock. As part of the deal Chevron Texaco agrees to inject $1.5 billion in fresh capital immediately.
Nov. 28, 2001 Major credit rating agencies are no longer fooled. They finally, after four years of inflated valuing, downgrade Enron’s bonds to “junk” status. Enron was junk bond since 1998 (possible before). Dynegy terminates its agreement to buy Enron. Enron temporarily suspends all payments, other than those necessary to maintain core operations. November 28th, Enron’s shares fell 85%. Stock price of 61 cents a share.
Nov. 29 2001 The
S.E.C. investigation expands to include Arthur Andersen, Enron's auditing firm.
Dec. 2, 2001 Enron files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and hits Dynegy with a $10 billion breach of contract lawsuit. Enron's bankruptcy filing was the largest in U.S. history.
Dec. 3, 2001 Enron fires 4,000 employees the day after filing for bankruptcy. Dynegy countersues for control of Enron’s Northern Natural Gas Pipeline.
Dec. 4, 2001 Enron secures $1.5 billion in emergency financing, provided by major creditors J.P. Morgan Chase and Citigroup, so it can run a skeleton operation.
Dec. 12, 2001 Congressional hearings begin on Enron’s collapse, while the company announces plans to raise up to $6 billion by selling assets. Joseph F. Berardino, Andersen's chief executive, testifies before Congress and says Enron might have violated securities laws.
Dec. 13, 2001 Executives from accounting firm Andersen tell Congress they warned Enron about “possible illegal acts” after the energy trading giant failed to provide crucial data about it finances to Andersen.
Jan 2002, Bush’s Interior Secretary Gail Norton announced that oil drilling wouldn't harm polar bears on ANWR's coastal plain, rejecting two studies showing that it would; she also imposed a gag order on all Fish and Wildlife Service employees preventing them from making public comments on the Refuge, and disparaged the agency's research showing oil drilling in the refuge to be incompatible with wildlife.
Jan. 9, 2002 The Justice Department opens a criminal investigation of Enron.
Jan. 10, 2002 Enron’s auditor Andersen admits its
employees disposed of or deleted a number of documents relating to Enron’s
audit. President George W. Bush, who received major campaign contributions from
Enron, orders government reviews of U.S. pension rules and corporate disclosure
rules. Andersen will be given to the news media as the scapegoat. Over the next
two months the Whitehouse, then the news media will shift its gaze and
interrogation from Enron to Andersen. New York Stock Exchange delists
company's stock, now worth pennies. White House reveals Enron boss Kenneth
Lay called Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and Commerce Secretary Don Evans in
the fall to warn of Enron's mounting financial problems. ALSO,
ALSO,President George W. Bush dispatched two cabinet-level task forces to protect employees against misused company pension plans and to uncover secret financial speculators. If they are serious, they will lead to a regulation Capital Hill staffers call “Enron Point” and to a Portland, Ore., utility worker named Roy Rinard.(source)
Jan. 14, 2002 Swiss financial giant UBS emerges as the winner to acquire Enron's North American energy-trading operation. UBS won’t pay anything to acquire Enron’s energy trading business, won’t assume any of the troubled company’s debts and will share a third of its profits with Enron and its creditors.
Jan. 15, 2002 Arthur Andersen LLP, the accounting firm that approved Enron’s financial statements, fires the lead partner on the Enron account and takes disciplinary action against other employees who had worked with him. The New York Stock Exchange suspends trading in Enron and moves to delist the energy company's shares from the Big Board.
Jan. 16, 2002 The fired Arthur Andersen auditor
responsible for the account of Enron cooperates with a congressional
investigation. In addition, the Bush administration discloses that a White House
official studied the economic impact of the potential collapse of Enron. House
investigators reveal Enron paid no income taxes in four of the past five years.
Jan. 17, 2002 Enron fires the Arthur Andersen accounting firm in the aftermath of the auditor’s massive destruction of documents. Very anti-climax. ""Enron paid no income taxes in four of the last five years, using almost 900 subsidiaries in tax-haven countries and other techniques, an analysis of its financial reports to shareholders shows. It was also eligible for $382 million in tax refunds.'" -- New York Times, 17 January 2002.
Jan. 18, 2002 The top utility regulator for Texas tells Public Utility Commission staff he is resigning. Max Yzaguirre was an executive for Enron prior to his appointment on the Utility Commission. He led the agency in its move to deregulate the electricity market, an area of great interest to Enron. Also COMMON CAUSE - ENRON CRASH IMPLICATES CULTURE OF INFLUENCE ONLY TWO MORE MEMBERS NEEDED TO FORCE VOTE ON REFORM.
Jan. 23, 2002 – Kenneth Lay is forced by bankruptcy creditors to resign.
Jan. 24, 2002 Thurs - A fired Arthur Andersen auditor refuses to testify before a House panel about the shredding of Enron documents. Arthur Levitt, former SEC chairman, tells a Senate panel that the financial alchemy that turned Enron from Wall Street darling to disaster exists in many other companies. Also WATCH - Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT), Rep. Martin Meehan (D-CT), and House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-MO), News Conference on Campaign Finance Reform and Enron.
Plot 4. It is the Whitehouse; this is Enrongate with tragic consequences.
Jan. 25, 2002 Former Enron Vice Chairman J. Clifford Baxter is found dead in his car in a Houston suburb. Texas police say the cause of death is suicide. Enron before January was mostly a fraud investigation. After the Baxter (supposed) suicide, and with the beginning of the congressional hearings, scandal is the word most associated with Enron. And scandal is sold by the media as entertainment and infotainment.
I am so sorry for this. I feel I just can't go on. I have always tried to do the right thing but where there was once great pride now its gone. I love you and the children so much. I just can't be any good to you or myself. The pain is overwhelming. Please try to forgive me.
A poll for Business Week published found that nearly four-fifths of Americans think that corporate executives put their own interests ahead of those of employees and shareholders. Given that the US is gripped by the worst financial scandal in living memory, you wonder where the other fifth have been.
This is also the day Rev. Jesse Jackson holds a "Justice for Enron Workers" meeting next door to Enron HQ. Baxter's note reads"
Jan. 28, 2002 Hundreds of current and former Enron employees file a class action lawsuit seeking damages for losses they suffered by investing in the company’s 401(k) plan.
Jan. 29, 2002 Enron names restructuring (turnaround) specialist Stephen Cooper as interim chief executive officer.
January 30, 2002 General Accounting Office announced it would sue the White House to obtain details of meetings between energy industry officials and the energy task force headed by Vice President Dick Cheney.
Feb. 1, 2002 The Justice Department orders the White House and other federal departments to preserve all documents relating to conversations with Enron executives about the firm's financial condition.
Feb. 2, 2002 – William Powers Jr. 203 page report on the collapse of Enron Corp. paints a scathing picture of corporate greed and mismanagement, concluding that accounting abuses masked more than $1 billion in losses in a one-year period alone. Powers was appointed to the Enron Board along with a former SEC enforcement agent to head off the SEC investigation by doing one of their own.
This is also the day a protest is staged in Dabhol, India by the Anti-Enron Action Committee.
Feb. 3, 2002 Kenneth Lay’s lawyer communicated that he would refuse to testify.
Feb. 4, 2002 Kenneth Lay resigns from Enron's board of directors. Sen. Byron Dorgan says the Senate Commerce Committee will issue a subpoena to compel the former CEO to appear before the panel.
Feb. 5, 2002 The House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee subpoena Kenneth Lay to compel the former Enron CEO to appear before the panel.
Feb. 7, 2002 Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling tells a House subcommittee he did not know the company was in trouble when he unexpectedly resigned in August. Former CFO Andrew Fastow refuses to testify before the panel and takes the fifth. Both Buy and Causey refused to testify before the Congressional panel and also asserted their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination..
Feb 11, 2002 - Enron's natural gas- and power-trading business is to surge back to life today, renamed UBS Warburg Energy. Swiss investment bank UBS Warburg acquired the business, credited with most of Enron's $ 101 billion in revenue in 2000 but now about $ 20 billion in debt, at auction last month. As part of the deal, UBS is to pay Enron a percentage of pretax profits in the form of royalties.
Feb. 12, 2002 Former Enron CEO Kenneth Lay invokes his Fifth Amendment right at a congressional hearing, drawing the scorn of a Senate panel investigating the energy firm’s collapse.
Feb. 14, 2002 Sherron Watkins, the Enron executive who first raised concerns that the energy firm was heading for financial collapse, testifies that ex-Enron CEO Kenneth Lay was duped by two former top officials into believing that off-the-book partnerships that hid $1 billion in debt from investors were properly structured.
This is also the day Enron Corp.'s board of directors officially fired Chief Accounting Officer Richard Causey and Chief Risk Officer Richard Buy based on findings of the Powers report The report said Causey and Buy failed to adequately supervise transactions between the company and partnerships run by Andrew Fastow, former chief financial officer.
Feb 28, 2002. A federal judge has ordered the Energy Department to disclose thousands of pages of documents from Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force.
Mar 1, 2002. Enron Corp. paid its executives huge one-time bonuses last year as a reward for hitting stock-price targets in 2000--the very time, investigators say, when those executives were improperly inflating the company's profits by up to $1 billion. GAO gets judge's order that the Energy Department must release 7,500 pages of documents on Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force.
Mar 2, 2002. Former Enron chief executive Jeffrey Skilling said he couldn't have overseen everything at the company and accused lawmakers who have challenged his testimony of "acting as judge and jury" in an election year.
Mar. 14, 2002 A federal grand jury indicted the Big Five accounting firm on charges of obstruction of justice. Justice Department prosecutors allege that Andersen executives conspired to destroy Enron documents in October, knowing that the documents would be sought by government investigators and plaintiffs' lawyers
Mar 15 2002 - General Services Administration today suspended Enron Corp., related Enron corporate entities, several former Enron officials, Arthur Andersen, LLP, and a former Andersen official, from conducting new business with the Federal government. GSA finding is these corporations are no longer "responsible contractors" defined as having a satisfactory record of integrity and business ethics. "GSA took this action based on a finding of adequate evidence that the Enron parties had engaged in misconduct and committed internal control irregularities that seriously affect their suitability to receive Government contracts." The finding of the GSA is that Enron and Andersen "have engaged in misconduct and caused internal control irregularities that seriously impact their suitability to receive Government contracts" (source).
Mar 2002 Jeffrey Skilling married Rebecca Carter in March 2002. Jeff Skilling, former CEO and CFO cashed out just $68 million worth of Enron stock.
April 19, 2002 Enron Corp. President Jeffrey McMahon, who complained two years ago about impropriety of financial partnerships that helped fuel the company’s swift downfall, said Friday he will resign effective June 1.
July 9, 2002. President Bush calls for stiff penalties for corporate criminals and a crackdown on Boardroom scandals. Thomas Daschle (demo) counters by announcing plan for "Investors Bill of Rights."
See Plot 1. It was Andrew Fastow and his lieutenants.
Aug 21 2002 - GET MONEY BACK TO THE SHAREHOLDERS - The Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it had charged Michael J. Kopper, a former high-ranking Enron official, with violating the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws. The charges center around RADR, Chewco, and Southampton raptors. High-profile Enron executive arrest and a guilty plea from Michael Kopper (former Managing Director of Enron's Global Equity Markets Group), the first direct charges brought against a former executive of the bankrupt energy trader. Kopper agreed to return $12 million to the government as part of his plea of guilty. The guilty plea was to federal charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Kopper is saying that he, Fastow and others used the partnerships to misappropriate millions of dollars in undisclosed fees and illegal profits. This means the target of the spreading investigation are Fastow, Skilling, and Lay. According to the Justice Department, Kopper's plea will allow them to go after $23 million from Fastow and other former Enron executives (source). Also, the SEC filed to freeze and seize 16.6 million from three bank accounts belonging to former CFO Andrew Fastow, his broth, and his wife (Lea), $4.6 million from an account owned by the Fastow Family Foundation, and $500,000 owned by a Peter Fastow. Also accounts owned by former Enron executive Kristina Mordaunt will be emptied to the tune of $1.6 million, former Enron employee Kathy Lynn will have $218,326 seized, Anne Yeager will have $45,000 seized and former treasurer Ben Glisan will have $916,137 seized (source).
Aug 22 2002 - Kopper admitted that Fastow and others set up three partnerships -- Chewco, Southampton and a little-known one called RADR -- to make the company appear more profitable and "secretly and unlawfully generate millions of dollars for themselves." (source). Also, in UK, Wessex Water, a British unit formerly owned by Enron Corp., said Thursday that CEO Colin Skellett has been arrested on suspicion of accepting a bribe of almost 1 million pounds, or $1.5 million. The arrest is linked to the $1.77 billion takeover of Wessex Water by YTL Corp., Malaysia's biggest building company, a police statement said. Wessex Water spokeswoman Gillian Winstone confirmed that Skellett, 57, has been arrested (source). Andrew Fastow, pled guilty to two counts of conspiracy in U.S. District Court in Houston. Kopper pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Michael Kopper lives with William Dodson in a fashionable area bordering the wealthy River Oaks area of Houston.
Aug 25 2002 - Targeting Skilling, Lay may prove tough. The prosecutors have Fastow, but "... can Fastow get them to Skilling?" or Lay?
If it be true that good wine needs no bush, 'tis true that a good play needs no epilogue. Yet to good wine they do use good bushes; and good plays prove the better by the help of good epilogues. What a case am I in, then, that am neither a good epilogue nor cannot insinuate with you in the behalf of a good play! - As You Like It (1598-1599) - William Shakespeare
Enron spun goddess Fortuna's wheel of fortune. Enron executives were gamblers in the New Capitalism. The Seventh Sister (Enron) on her way to glory, became the superstar of the New Economy for three Presidents of the United States. Each of the Presidents (Bush, Clinton, Bush) and their administrations had significant ties to the Superstar. When the Metatheatre of masquerade and facade cracked and the faces behind the masks could be seen, the key institutions of American global capitalism began to re-characterize Enron and its executives. The old wine was pour into new skins, and these cracked. The complicity of the institutions of government and education with the Seven Sisters continues. Wars are fought over energy. Presidents are elected over energy. The world turns on energy. The Enron chronology will continue to be re-plotted and history will continue to be re-written. The resolution of the dramatic problem in the warped attitudes of the Seven Sisters and their incestuous relations to State and Education lies in reforms to the Metatheatre of Capitalism.
The play's last scene remains to be written. There are some lessons being drawn. Capitalism will need to undergo a reformation that goes beyond the Spectacle of Plots 1, 2 & 3, and even beyond the presidential plots 4 & 5. The wider emplotments of corporate institutions 6 & 7 is needed. But, to get the deeper changes 8 & 9 (systems of training in capitalism will be needed before 10 changes. For we are all characters in the Society of the Spectacle, part of its Metatheatre. - D. Boje.
Recently, Global Crossing, McLeod USA and Kmart have joined Enron in bankruptcy
Currently, Senate Bill 388, the National Energy Security Act, introduced by Senator Murkowski (R-AK), if passed, would open ANWR to gas and oil drilling. President Bush’s 2003 budget awards $34 billion in subsidies go oil, gas, coal & nuclear companies while cutting $1 billion from natural resources/environmental departments of the U.S. government.
During the California state energy crisis of 2000/2001, Enron pocketed over $1.5 billion in secret profits.
Enron had 3500 subsidiaries and partnerships, and paid no income taxes in four of the past five years because it was able to transfer assets among 881 subsidiaries that were set up abroad in tax-sheltered countries.
Fact is, big money has poured into the coffers of both parties, with Republicans taking in $636 million to the Democrats' $449 million, according to figures compiled for Democracy 21 by the Center for Responsive Politics is asking for SOFT MONEY reform.
More than 4,000 Enron employees have lost their jobs and 401(k) savings.
PENSION PLANS - e.g. New York City's pension fund, which covers teachers, police officers and firefighters, among others, lost $109 million in Enron stocks and bonds before dumping them at the end of last year. The city is now a plaintiff in one of many lawsuits that have been filed against Enron (source).
The Enron collapse is still reverberating in the stock
market, which dropped some $200 billion, since Enron's Dec. 2 2001 bankruptcy
More Chronologies/Time Lines
|Time Line of Enron Stock Collapse PDF File|
|NY Times Interactive Time Line|
REFERENCES FOR THE CHRONOLOGY AND ITS ANALYSIS CAN BE FOUND IN THE FOLLOWING ACADEMIC STUDIES OF ENRON.
Boje, D. M. (2002a). Critical
Dramaturgical Analysis of Enron Antenarratives and Metatheatre. Plenary
presentation to 5th International Conference on Organizational Discourse: From
Micro-Utterances to Macro-Inferences, Wednesday 24th - Friday 26th July
Boje, D. M. (2002b) Enron
Metatheatre: A Critical Dramaturgy Analysis of Enron’s Quasi-Objects. Paper
presented at the Networks, Quasi-Objects, and Identity: Reintegrating Humans,
Technology, and Nature session of Denver Academy of Management Meetings. Tuesday
August 13, 2002.
Boje, D. M. (2002c) Theatres of Capitalism. Book being published by Hampton Press (San Francisco). Available until publication, on line, at http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/theatrics/index.htm (password is required).
Boje, D. M. & G. A. Rosile (2002a). The Metatheatre Intervention Manual. To be published by ISEOR Research Institute of University of Lyon 2, France. http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/theatrics/index.htm (password is required).
Boje, D. M. & G. A. Rosile (2002a). Theatrics of SEAM. Paper to be
published in Journal of Organizational Change Management Special Issue on
Socio-Economic Approach to Management (SEAM), guest edited by Henri Savall.
D. M., Grace Ann Rosile, Rita A. Durant & John T. Luhman (2002). Enron
spectacle theatrics: A critical dramaturgical analysis. Under review at
Organization Studies, for special issue on organization theatre.
|1. Characters||1. Characters|
|2. Plots||2. Plots|
|3. Themes||3. Themes|
|4. Dialogs||4. Dialogs|
|5. Rhythms||5. Rhythms|
|6. Frames||6. Frames|
|7. Spectacles||7. Spectacles|
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