Enron's founder dies in disgrace?

As the New York Post observes, once a cheater always a cheater.

Kenneth Lay was to be cremated & have a closed casket

7/8/06.. Fred McChesney.... http://www.foxlies.com/
Is Key Lay death the supposive work of Karl Rove?
Audio: http://www.apfn.net/pogo/A002I060708B.MP3

7/7/06 - CNN LARRY KING LIVE [ENRON]The Death of Ken Lay
Audio: http://www.apfn.net/pogo/L001I060707-kenneth-lay-dies.MP3 (Aprox 48 min.)


Houston Chronicle
GET RID OF EVIDENCE:: Lay wished to be cremated
Sat Jul 8, 2006 20:18

Colin Powell Gets sick while eating with Bill Clinton. Colen Powell goes to same hospital that Kenneth Lay died in
Kenneth Lay died the morning of 7/5/06 Wednesday
Colin Powell was taken to the same Hospital on Friday 7/07/06


July 7, 2006, 7:22PM
Lay wished to be cremated, ashes buried in Colo.
Local service also is planned to allow friends to say goodbye

Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

ASPEN, COLO. - Family and friends will begin paying their last respects to former Enron Chairman Ken Lay at a private service here Sunday, followed by another gathering in Houston next Wednesday.

Lay, who died early Wednesday in Colorado after a heart attack, wished to be cremated and have his ashes buried in Aspen, a source close to the family said.

About a dozen years ago, Lay, an avid skier, began buying up property in the Aspen area, which the source said he considered his favorite place in the world. He later sold properties to help pay his legal bills.

Lay's legal case remains in limbo as his family makes final arrangements and prosecutors and defense attorneys quietly contemplate their next moves.

Defense attorneys are expected to petition successfully to vacate the criminal charges against Lay, and prosecutors may try different avenues to go after the late executive's assets, but the legal wranglings are not expected to happen anytime soon.

"There's no urgency whatsoever to get anything on file," said Michael Wynne, a former federal prosecutor who has followed the case. "I would expect all parties would allow the various services to take place and then file the motions later down the road."

Lay was slated to be sentenced with his co-defendant and former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling on Oct. 23. The former Enron executives were convicted in May of a combined 29 counts.

Open investigation
Lay and his wife, Linda, were staying in a rental home in Old Snowmass near Aspen when he was taken by ambulance to the hospital early Wednesday morning.

A preliminary autopsy was performed Wednesday in Grand Junction by Dr. Robert Kurtzman, who determined the initial cause of death was coronary disease.

Deputy Joe DiSalvo, the chief detective for the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office, said Thursday that Lay's death will remain an open investigation a routine procedure until final autopsy results are in, about three weeks from now.

A final report will then be written and filed, DiSalvo said.

Lay's body was transported to Glenwood Springs, just north of Aspen, to Farnum Holt Funeral Home & Crematory.

A small, private memorial service will be held at the Aspen Chapel at 2 p.m. Sunday, according to a statement from a family spokeswoman.

"A celebration of Ken's life for family and friends" will be held at Houston's First United Methodist Church at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

"The Lay Family asks that their privacy be respected as they mourn the loss of their husband, father, grandfather and brother," the statement said.

Legal limbo
Lay's defense team is not expected to file a motion to vacate the indictment for several days, and could wait more than a week, to give the family time to grieve.

Though it's likely all actions will need the approval of an executor of Lay's estate, the first filings could include a request for the judge to remove a lien the government has on his $5 million home.

Members of the legal team either could not be reached Thursday or declined to comment.

If the criminal case is vacated, it will be as if Lay was never charged.

That means the government's efforts to seize assets from Lay and search for others through a criminal proceeding also will end.

Prosecutors, who declined to comment, have two paths they can follow to continue efforts to seize assets from the Lay estate, however, legal observers said.

They can file new civil cases against individual assets, such as his condominium in the Huntingdon tower on Kirby or a $6.3 million Goldman Sachs private equity fund that recently matured.

To seize them, the government would have to prove those assets were purchased with ill-gotten gains or that they should be used to substitute for illegal monies that can't be located.

They also could use the Securities and Exchange Commission's existing civil case against Lay as the vehicle to get at the assets. That case, filed at the same time as his indictment, had been stayed pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings.

It's not clear which path using the existing SEC case or filing new cases would be easier for the government.

Lay's criminal conviction could not be used in either situation to support a forfeiture claim if the criminal case is vacated. It's possible his testimony from the trial could be used as evidence. Much of his time on the stand, however, was spent denying government claims.

The burden of proof in civil cases is much lower than in criminal cases.

The government just has to show that a preponderance of the evidence supports its assertions and not the higher standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

But a civil forfeiture action is a difficult process that could take a long time to reach resolution.

"With no conviction, they'd be back to square one and have to build a civil case from scratch," said Richard Barnett, a San Diego-based forfeiture expert.

Shareholders' case to go on
Prosecutors' familiarity with the case, having just spent nearly four months in trial, may make them better suited to lead the charge in a civil proceeding, said Kent Schaffer, a Houston lawyer with a federal practice. But the SEC suit may be able to reach a trial date more quickly since it's been filed.

"With the SEC case, they wouldn't have to reinvent the wheel," Schaffer said.

The Justice Department could even lend one of the criminal prosecutors from the trial to the SEC in an "of counsel" role to share recent case knowledge to help the suit move more quickly, Schaffer said.

Though Texas homestead law protects people's homes from seizure in bankruptcy and most civil lawsuits, those laws aren't impervious to a civil action by the federal government, Schaffer said.

Lay's assets also are being targeted by two lawsuits filed on behalf of shareholders and former employees.

Lawyers representing Enron shareholders said Thursday that Lay's death "will not impact" their legal action. They noted, however, that the focus of the case always has been the deepest pockets in the case, namely a half-dozen banks that have not settled and the Houston law firm Vinson & Elkins.

"To date, $7.3 billion has already been recovered on behalf of the defrauded shareholders," a statement from law firm Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins said.

After Northern Trust settled in the former employee lawsuit, Lay and Skilling are the only defendants left in that case. A lawyer for the former employees said before Lay died it was hoped settlement discussions could begin later this year. Now it's not clear how the case will be resolved, the lawyer said.

Chronicle staffers Tom Fowler and John C. Roper reported from Houston while Terri Langford reported from Aspen.


Colin Powell Gets sick while eating with Bill Clinton. Colen Powell goes to same hospital that Kenneth Lay died in
Kenneth Lay died the morning of 7/5/06 Wednesday
Colin Powell was taken to the same Hospital on Friday 7/07/06

Kenneth Lay Update

Conspiracy theories surround Ken Lay's death Details of his final moments revealed
By Tom Abrahams
(7/06/06 - KTRK/ASPEN, CO) - Ken Lay's family says the Enron founder will be cremated and buried in Colorado, and not in Houston, where he rose to the top of the business world, only to be eventually convicted of conspiracy and fraud.

The lead investigator in Aspen has told Eyewitness News some new details about Lay's death. Early Wednesday morning Lay was in bed. He woke up in pain. His wife Linda was the only person with him in their rental home. She called 911.

Lay was unconscious when paramedics arrived. They tried to revive him along the 10 mile ride from the ranch to Aspen Valley Hospital. He never regained consciousness. The medical examiner called it a heart attack.

Mesa County Coroner Rob Kurtzman said, "There was no evidence of foul play."

But that hasn't stopped the conspiracy theorists in the thin air of Aspen from spinning the death of a man about to go to prison.

"I thought he took some kind of medicine to make himself have a heart attack," admitted tourist Laura Spoovies.

"There's always some conspiracy thinking behind these things," admitted tourist Peter Eckert. "We even discussed it last night with friends."

Tourist Michael Slomak said, "You can be cynical about it all you want. I don't care whether it was the stress, really. He was not an American hero. He was a despicable individual."

There are others, though, who see Lay's death for what it likely was.

"I feel like the stress of it put him under," said tourist Darren Kozelsky.

Tourist Chris Leveritch agreed, "It was probably because of all the enormous stress that he must have been under."

There is, of course, the man leading the investigation into Lay's death, who has the most significant take of all.

Joe DiSalvo with the Pitkin County Sherrif's office said, "I think no matter what happens in a case like this, there's going to be a conspiracy theory out there. But I'm comfortable that there was no conspiracy and this was just a natural death that is unfortunate."

The lead investigator in the case says he has pretty much wrapped up the investigation into Lay's death. They are just awaiting the final toxicology results which could take three to four weeks.


The Ken Lay conspiracy
Many theories are swirling around the Enron chief's death ... all wrong.
July 6 2006: 11:24 AM EDT
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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Is Ken Lay, a Fortune 500 power broker who rubbed shoulders with world leaders and the jet set elite, really dead?

To some folks, no.

As the New York Post observes, once a cheater always a cheater.

"It's the CIA," said one mysterious caller to CNNMoney.com.

"There [must] be proof beyond any doubt that Ken Lay is dead and there is not a double being used so that Ken Lay can hide somewhere with the money he stole," wrote a reader.

"Make sure somebody in the press sees a body," added another reader.

There are several theories. The general idea is that Lay faked his death and is now living somewhere south of the border ... no doubt partying with Elvis. How could he pull off such a feat? Well, he was a one-time friend of President Bush. Even raised campaign funds for him. So either through friendship or even blackmail, then, the government helped.

Or perhaps Lay is dead ... but not from a heart attack, as the local coroner said. Maybe the CIA used one of its fancy poisons -- you know, the untraceable kind -- to keep Lay from embarrassing the President.

Or Lay used a poison himself to keep from suffering the indignity of prison. A sort of Samurai send off. After all, his whole family was with him at the end. (That Fourth of July holiday thing was just a cover).

How does the song go? "Lunatic fringe, I know you're out there ..." Conspiracy theories tend to pop up when there is dissatisfaction and disappointment. And that's the case here.

People cheered when Lay was found guilty of conspiracy and fraud. After all his actions, or inactions, wrecked lives. And after four long years the high and mighty chief executive was finally going to get what was coming to him.

Now that's not going to happen. Justice is cheated. There must be something to blame besides ... fate?

And so people grab at any idea that seems to provide some sort of twisted closure. The Bush connection is particularly attractive (Funny. If you mention Bush in a Lay story, you are tagged with Liberal Bias, but if you leave him out you are accused of Right Wing Bias). And, of course, Lay's final rep was as a cheat ... so why wouldn't he keep on cheating?

As many a "Twilight Zone" episode has noted, you don't cheat death. The only conspiracy here is the human scheme to have life make sense. You can only hope that we've learned something and perhaps have a little sympathy for the family.

But did you notice how fast that autopsy took place?

KENNETH LAY | 1942-2006: Enron's founder dies in disgrace
Company's fall supersedes his good deeds

July 6, 2006

Kenneth Lay and his wife, Linda, return to a federal courthouse after lunch in week 10 of his fraud and conspiracy trial in April. (PAT SULLIVAN/Associated Press)

Thoughts on Kenneth Lay's death

"The only sad ending to this story is that Ken Lay will never see a day in prison."

A forum posting on the Houston Chronicle's Web site

"He is a man with extensive family and friends that needed to be notified, and all this while the family is dealing with the news. The man is gone from this world -- if he's to be judged in an afterlife, so be it."

Another posting on the Chronicle's site

"Ken Lay was a good man, and it is a shame people won't remember the good things he did for this city."

Kathleen Magruder, a former Enron regulatory affairs lawyer who lost $1.3 million in savings and investments when the Houston-based company crashed

"I hate this happened. I personally wanted to see him go to jail. But maybe this is God's way of having justice done."

Charles Prestwood, a former pipeline operator who retired from Enron in 2000 and later lost $1.3 million in retirement savings

Lay reacted to the jury's decision "like someone hit him on the head with a two-by-four. ... He died right then. I didn't expect him to survive to go to prison."

"I guess when you're facing the rest of your life in jail and in your heart you know you're an innocent man, I guess it's too much to bear."

"It was evident during the trial that the great portion of the public, particularly in Houston, had an almost insatiable demand for retribution."

"Prior to his death, the government could just say: 'Hand over $40 million.' Prosecutors are now going to have to show that individual assets they want to seize were bought with funds illegally received from Enron. It's going to be a lot more work for them now."

"I loved Enron very much. And I loved Enron's employees very much. I spent half my professional life running Enron. I think we built a great company. We changed energy markets around the world."

Kenneth Lay was a preacher's son who rose from humble origins to earn wealth and acclaim as head of Enron Corp., then died in disgrace Wednesday in Aspen, Colo., after he was convicted of fraud in the energy company's collapse.

Lay, 64, and his successor as CEO, Jeffrey Skilling, were convicted May 25 of fraud and conspiracy charges that could have resulted in a life prison sentence for Lay.

Mesa County Coroner Robert Kurtzman told reporters in a televised news conference in Grand Junction, Colo., Wednesday that his preliminary examination showed clogged coronary arteries to be the cause of death. Lay died hours earlier while vacationing at a rental home near Aspen.

Before his dramatic fall, Lay was a prominent civic leader in Houston, Enron's headquarters city, a multimillionaire who was active in numerous charities and political campaigns.

By the time Enron imploded in 2001, the Houston Chronicle reported, the former CEO's corporate "creation ultimately ruined reputations, destroyed families, evaporated retirement nest eggs and shamed the city it calls home."

The influence of Lay wasn't limited to Enron shareholders. CMS Energy was involved in making suspect energy trades -- made famous by Enron in the late '90s -- that artificially boosted the company's financial performance in 2000 and 2001.

The round-trip trades involved CMS buying electricity from other energy companies at a set price and then selling it back to them at the same price.

Though not illegal at the time, the suspicious trades were popular with large power companies such as Enron, in part because such transactions help companies appear to be trading energy at higher levels and raking in more revenue from those deals than they really are.

Jackson-based CMS, owner of Consumers Energy, agreed to settle a shareholder lawsuit for $12 million. The company's use of the controversial energy trades resulted in CMS booking $5.3 billion in bogus revenue from May 2000 to December 2001. CMS was later forced to restate its financial statements for those two years, as well as dissolve its energy-trading unit in Houston.

Industry observers also blamed Lay, in part, for the manipulation of electricity prices in California through the use of round-trip energy trades that led to a rash of blackouts and sharp escalation of in electricity rates in 2001.

"There are so many variables that contributed to the California situation, but certainly Enron was involved as were other companies," said Christopher Edmonds, managing director of Pritchard Capital Partners, a New Orleans-based petroleum investment firm. "There is plenty of blame to go around and sure, Enron was culpable to some extent."

Tragic circumstances

In 2000, when Lay and his wife, Linda, listed $52 million in assets, their charitable foundation made about $3.6 million in contributions to churches, museums, hospitals and other charities.

Though many Enron workers were embittered when their pensions were wiped out by its collapse, some saw Kenneth Lay's role as one of tragic circumstances.

"Ken Lay was a good man, and it is a shame people won't remember the good things he did for this city," Kathleen Magruder, a former Enron regulatory affairs lawyer who lost $1.3 million in savings and investments when the company crashed, said after Lay's death.

"Just this past weekend, I got a note back from him" in response to one she sent Lay during the trial, she said. "He said he was going to continue to walk with his head high and fight this until it was done. It was classic Ken Lay."

As with Richard Nixon, whose name conjures Watergate and not his accomplishments, she said, "When you say Ken Lay, people remember Enron and not all the good things he did."

"Ken Lay is an example of how you can be a very good person, and make some mistakes, and circumstances can make the consequences of those mistakes tragic," said former Houston Mayor Bob Lanier, who testified as a character witness for Lay at his trial.

Dreams of riches

Lay also was the man who picked Skilling to become Enron's CEO in late 2000. At about that time, Lanier said, Lay already was talking with him about being mayor of Houston and the good he could do for the community with minority groups.

Kenneth Lee Lay was born April 15, 1942, in Tyrone, Mo., in a religious family, according to the book, "Conspiracy of Fools" by Kurt Eichenwald. His father, Omer, was a Baptist minister who worked at a general store, sold farm equipment and held other jobs to earn money.

As a youth, Lay delivered newspapers, mowed grass, baled hay and said he daydreamed of becoming rich. "I was enamored with business and industry," he recalled. "It was so different from the world in which I was living."

He was in high school when the family moved to Columbia so Ken could live at home while attending the University of Missouri, from which he graduated in 1964 and made connections that helped speed his career.

Pinkney Walker, a former Missouri professor of economics, said Lay's brilliance and understanding of market forces made him a class standout.

Good manager

After earning a master's at Missouri in 1965, Lay became a senior economist at Humble Oil and Refining Co. -- later to be known as Exxon -- and grew close to the company's president, who asked him to write his speeches.

Expecting to be drafted during the Vietnam War, Lay joined the Navy in 1967 and in time was assigned to the Pentagon, where he led a group that studied the effects of defense spending on various parts of the economy.

Though only an ensign, Lay recruited a future four-star admiral to "open doors and keep things under control" and won praise for how he managed groups and large organizations. His weapons study also formed the basis of the doctorate in economics he earned from the University of Houston in 1970.

Discharged in 1971, Lay was recruited again -- this time by his former professor, Pinkney Walker, who had been named to the Federal Power Commission by then-President Richard Nixon. Walker said Lay did so much work that, "In a sense he was the power commissioner."

After about 18 months at the power commission, Lay became deputy undersecretary for energy at the Department of the Interior.

Back in the private sector in 1973, he took a position at Florida Gas, a pipeline company in Winter Park, Fla. In 1981 he became second in command at another pipeline company, Transco Energy, in Houston.

In June 1984, Lay became chairman and CEO of a smaller rival, Houston Natural Gas Corp. The next year InterNorth of Omaha, Neb., bought Houston Natural Gas for $2.4 billion, creating the biggest U.S. natural gas-pipeline system. The new company was renamed Enron and Lay was named head of it.

A great influence

Lay recruited bright people, and observers said he encouraged them to expand the company's businesses and horizons.

He was chairman of Enron's board for 16 years until his resignation in January 2003 and was a force in Houston who played a role in everything from construction of its sports stadium (formerly Enron Field) to the Republican National Convention when it was held there in 1992.

In June 1966 he married his college sweetheart, Judith Ayers. They later divorced and Lay married Linda Phillips Herrold, who had been his secretary at Florida Gas.

Enron, once the world's largest energy trading firm, had more than $68 billion in market value before its December 2001 bankruptcy filing wiped out thousands of jobs and at least $1 billion in retirement funds virtually overnight.

Free Press business writer Alejandro Bodipo-Memba contributed to this

NBC's Nightly News ignored Lay's ties to Bush
Summary: Reporting on the death of former Enron Corp. founder and chairman Kenneth Lay, on the July 5 edition of NBC's Nightly News, correspondent Don Teague made no mention of Lay's connection to President Bush.
Reporting on the death of former Enron Corp. founder and chairman Kenneth Lay, on the July 5 edition of NBC's Nightly News, correspondent Don Teague made no mention of Lay's connection to President Bush. In contrast, on the July 5 edition of ABC's World News Tonight, ABC News anchor and correspondent Diane Sawyer noted that Lay contributed "more than half a million dollars to his friend George W. Bush's presidential campaign." Similarly, CBS News anchor Harry Smith noted on that evening's edition of the CBS Evening News that Lay "became a friend of the powerful and one of the biggest donors to then-Texas Governor George Bush, who called him 'Kenny boy.' "

As Media Matters for America has noted, NBC is certainly not the first media outlet to ignore the relationship. Others have as well, complicit in Bush's efforts to distance himself from Lay since the collapse of Enron. But documented correspondence between the two men serves as evidence of their "chummy" relationship.

Lay, who reportedly died of a heart attack on July 5, was awaiting sentencing after being convicted on fraud and conspiracy charges related to Enron's collapse.

From the July 5 edition of the NBC's Nightly News:

BRIAN WILLIAMS (anchor): In other news now, it was stunning news when it arrived this morning: the sudden death of the founder of Enron, Ken Lay. He was vacationing in Aspen, Colorado. Tonight, the medical examiner says Lay died of a massive heart attack. He was awaiting sentencing just months from now for his role in the collapse of that company, the second largest bankruptcy in U.S. history. Our report tonight, from NBC's Don Teague.

TEAGUE: It was the last Independence Day Kenneth Lay would have spent as a free man. The Enron founder and his family were vacationing at his Colorado home when Lay suffered a massive heart attack. He died early this morning.

STEPHEN WENDE (Lay's pastor): He's been under tremendous stress. His faith has held him up. His family and friends have held him up.

TEAGUE: Lay and former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling face sentencing this fall for numerous fraud and conspiracy convictions related to Enron's collapse. He last spoke publicly after his conviction just six weeks ago.

LAY [clip]: Despite what happened today, I am still a very blessed man.

TEAGUE: The Enron bankruptcy cost thousands of employees their jobs and retirement accounts. Investors in the company lost billions.

SCOTT COHN (CNBC senior correspondent): The jury determined that Ken Lay lied about the health of his company and should be held to account.

TEAGUE: At Enron's peak, Ken Lay was an American success story. In his death, journalist Bethany McLean says he may be remembered as an example of corporate greed.

McLEAN (co-author, The Smartest Guys in the Room): Mention Ken Lay to anybody today, and they say, "Enron: corporate corruption, fraud, the era of excess."

TEAGUE: During the trial, Lay claimed his personal fortune was gone. But in filings just last week, prosecutors said his assets total nearly $8 million, including this luxury condo here in Houston. Prosecutors today aren't commenting on Lay's death and his family asked that their privacy be respected. Meanwhile, former Enron employees are left stunned.


"... out of respect for the family, we will release further details at a later time."

CONNIE CASTILLO (Former Enron Employee): No matter how bad or whatever he did, he loved his family. And that was pretty clear.

TEAGUE: An unexpected end to what, for many, was already a tragic story. Don Teague, NBC News, Houston.

From the July 5 edition of ABC's World News Tonight:

SAWYER: Few people remember that Kenneth Lee Lay grew up in rural Missouri, in a house without indoor plumbing -- plowed fields as a child to make money. His parents knew education would be their son's ticket out of poverty. With a Ph.D. in economics, he vaulted up the corporate ladder of some of the biggest energy companies in the United States and, in 1985, took over what would become Enron -- under his stewardship, the seventh-largest company in the country. There was prestige, respect, wealth. And he gave to charity and politics -- more than a half a million dollars to his friend George W. Bush's presidential campaign. But by 2001, Ken Lay's life had entered a kind of morality play.

From the July 5 edition of the CBS Evening News:

SMITH: Lay turned a sleepy natural gas pipeline group into a model of new age capitalism. Enron became a darling of Wall Street and, at its peak, turned a $100 billion profit.

Along the way, Lay became a friend of the powerful and one of the biggest donors to then-Texas Governor George Bush, who called him "Kenny boy." But as the company collapsed into bankruptcy, Enron executives lied to investors about the company's health, even as they themselves were selling off Enron stock.


Bush's friendship with Enron chief dates back to late 1980s

Related Content
Enron-related contributions to Bush campaigns

Published Sat, Jan 12, 2002
By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush gave embattled Enron executive Kenneth Lay the nickname "Kenny Boy" back when the two were up-and-comers in Texas.
That doesn't mean they are best buddies; Bush dispenses nicknames freely and not just on intimates. Yet as their careers soared, their interests became more intertwined, whether in business, politics or baseball.

Bush's largest financial benefactor, Lay found him to be a friend of the energy industry when Bush was Texas governor. And Bush made a special trip to Houston during his presidential campaign to attend the Astros' first game at Enron Field, as Lay threw out the first pitch.

They've enjoyed "quality time," Lay has said.

How close their friendship grew has come under scrutiny since Enron, the Houston-based energy giant, filed the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history last month.

It has since been disclosed that Lay contacted officials in the Bush administration, which has at least 15 high-ranking members who owned stock in the company last year. Several Cabinet members acknowledged contacts from Enron but said they did not tell Bush or take any action.

The president calls Lay a "supporter," in recognition of the money poured into his campaigns over the years by Lay, his company and its employees.

But he denies speaking with Lay about the company's financial problems and says his administration will aggressively investigate the failure of the company. Enron's fall cost thousands of jobs and vaporized the retirement savings of many employees.

"My sense is that Bush cares about him," said Bill Miller, a political consultant in Austin, Texas, who witnessed Lay's ascent in the corporate world and Bush's rise to governor, then president.

"It was a friendship-friendship, not just a business friendship."

White House and Enron officials insist the two were never all that close. Any idea that Lay is a "close intimate" of Bush is ludicrous, Bush adviser Karl Rove said.

"It would be a stretch to call them personal friends," said Enron spokesman Mark Palmer, adding he recalled hearing Lay say that Bush had called him "Kenny Boy" once or twice.

Parsing his words carefully, Bush said last week that it was when he became governor after the 1994 election that "I first got to know Ken." But their relationship apparently goes farther back.

Lay, as chairman of the University of Houston board of regents in the late 1980s, tried to bring the senior Bush's presidential library to his school. George W. Bush was involved in setting up the library, which eventually went to College Station, Texas, instead.

Lay says he spent "a little more quality time with George W." during that time.

Criminal, civil and congressional investigations are looming into whether Enron defrauded investors, including 401(k) plan investors, by concealing information about its financial problems.

Bush, sitting on high approval ratings, is hoping his connections to Lay won't become a political liability.

Bush has received more than $550,000 from Enron, its employees and their relatives during his political career - the most from any source. Altogether, more than 250 members of Congress from both parties have received Enron contributions.

Lay's relationship with the Bush family dates back to when the president's father was the only Bush in national politics.

Lay was co-chairman of former President Bush's 1990 economic summit for industrialized nations, which was held in Houston.

Lay and his wife, Linda, dined on hickory grilled veal medallions and Texas peaches and cream with summit attendees who included British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and French President Francois Mitterrand.

Lay also was co-chairman of the host committee for the Republican National Convention when it was held in Houston in 1992. George W. Bush played an active role in his father's unsuccessful campaign for a second term that year.

The businessman had Democratic connections as well, serving Democratic Gov. Ann Richards as leader of her business council. He gave money to her campaign and Bush's in 1994, and when Bush defeated her that year, the new governor kept Lay on the business council.

As Lay was donating money to Bush's 1994 and 1998 governor's campaigns, he also was lobbying legislators to deregulate the electric industry, an area into which Enron was expanding.

Bush signed a deregulation law in 1999 clearing Enron's path into new markets.

"Bush has always delivered on Kenneth Lay's political pitches," said Craig McDonald, director of Texans for Public Justice, a campaign-finance advocacy group.

Even if Bush's dad hadn't been in the White House, the two men would have been on similar trajectories.

"They're both from the energy business; they both like baseball," said W.J. "Jack" Bowen, a retired gas executive who hired Lay twice, at a Florida energy company and then at Transco Energy Co. in Houston.

They have similar personal traits, said Miller, who has watched Texas politics for years. Both are bright and down-to-earth. Each tends to delegate authority.

"Neither one of them pretends to be an intellectual," Miller said. "Lay is reserved, but not shy. Bush has got more ham bone in him."


Ken Lay

AKA Kenneth Lee Lay

Born: 15-Apr-1942
Birthplace: Tyrone, MO
Died: 05-Jul-2006
Location of death: Aspen, CO
Cause of death: Heart Failure

Gender: Male
Religion: Methodist
Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Former CEO, Enron

Military service: US Navy (1968-71)

Former CEO, Enron Corporation.

Father: Omer Lay (Baptist minister)
Mother: Ruth Lay
Sister: Bonnie
Sister: Sharon
Wife: (div.)
Wife: Linda Phillips
Daughter: Robyn
Son: Mark
Son: David
Daughter: Elizabeth
Son: Beau

    High School: Hickman High School, Columbia, MO (1960)
    University: BA Economics, University of Missouri (1964)
    University: MA Economics, University of Missouri (1965)
    Professor: George Washington University (1969)
    University: PhD Economics, University of Houston (1970)

    Exxon Economist 1965-68
    Member of the Board of Compaq 1987-2001
    Member of the Board of Eli Lilly 1993-2001
    Member of the Board of Enron
    George Bush Presidential Library Trustee
    Beta Theta Pi Fraternity
    Omicron Delta Epsilon Honor Society
    Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society
    Phi Beta Kappa Society
    Conspiracy charged 2004
    Securities Fraud charged 2004
    Wire Fraud charged 2004
    Dubya Nickname Kenny Boy
    Bush Pioneer 2000

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