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<nettime> Tragicomedy caught on tape
Are Flagan on Wed, 18 Dec 2002 12:17:08 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> Tragicomedy caught on tape


[For the benefit of those not privy to the US broadcasts (and for those
with better things to do that missed today's screenings), below is a
verbal summary of the new old Enron tape. Tactical media shooting itself,
in the foot...-af]

+ + + + +

http://www.click2houston.com/hou/money/stories/money-184005020021216-101218.
html

A videotape of a January 1997 going-away party for former Enron President
Rich Kinder features nearly half an hour of absurd skits, songs and
testimonials by company executives and prominent Houstonians, the Houston
Chronicle reported in its Monday editions.

The collection is all meant in good fun, but some of the comments are
ironic in the current climate of corporate scandal.

In one skit, former Administrative Executive Peggy Menchaca played the
part of Kinder as he received a budget report from then-President Jeff
Skilling, who played himself, and Financial Planning Executive Tod
Lindholm.

When the pretend Kinder expressed doubt that Skilling could pull off 600
percent revenue growth for the coming year, Skilling revealed how it could
be done.

"We're going to move from mark-to-market accounting to something I call
HFV, or hypothetical future value accounting," Skilling joked as he read
from a script. "If we do that, we can add a kazillion dollars to the
bottom line."

Richard Causey, the former chief accounting officer who was embroiled in
many of the business deals named in the indictments of other Enron
executives, made an unfortunate joke later on the tape.

"I've been on the job for a week managing earnings, and it's easier than I
thought it would be," Causey said, referring to a practice that is frowned
upon by securities regulators. "I can't even count fast enough with the
earnings rolling in."

Joe Sutton and Rebecca Mark, the two executives credited with leading
Enron on an international buying spree, did a painfully awkward rap for
Kinder, while former Enron Broadband Services President Ken Rice recounted
a basketball game where employees from Enron Capital & Trade beat Kinder's
Enron Corp. team, 98-50.

"I know you never forget a number, Rich," Rice said.

President George W. Bush, who then was governor of Texas, also took part
in the skit, as did his father.

At the party, the younger Bush pleaded with Kinder: "Don't leave Texas.
You're too good a man."

The governor's father also offered a send-off to Kinder, thanking him for
helping his son reach the governor's mansion.

"You have been fantastic to the Bush family," the elder Bush said. "I
don't think anybody did more than you did to support George."

Federal investigators told News2Houston Tuesday that they want to take a
closer look at the tape.

Investigators with the House committee on government reform are in the
process of obtaining a copy of the tape, according to News2Houston.

Former federal prosecutor Phil Hilder said that what was a joke could
become evidence for federal investigators.

"There's matters on there that a prosecutor may want to introduce as
evidence should it become relevant," Hilder said.

Former employees were shocked to see the tape.

"It's too close to the truth, very close to the truth," said Debra
Johnson, a former Enron employee. "I think there's some inside truth to
the jokes that they portrayed."




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