William C. Powers, Jr.

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An expert in torts, Professor Powers is especially well-known for his writings on products liability, a field in which he remains active in cutting-edge litigation. He also teaches and writes in jurisprudence. He came to Texas from the University of Washington School of Law in 1978. He is the author of Texas Products Liability Law (Butterworth, 2nd ed., 1992) and co-author of Cases and Materials on Torts (West, 2nd ed., 1998) and Cases and Materials on Products Liability (West, 2nd ed., 1994). He recently finished his work as Reporter for the Restatement (Third) of Torts: Apportionment of Liability. He is a member of the American Law Institute.

University of Texas, School of Law

About Dean Powers


ENRON Board of Directors
Robert A. Belfer
New York, New York
Chief Executive Officer, Belfer Management LLC
Former Chairman and CEO, Belco Oil & Gas Corp.
Norman P. Blake, Jr.
Rosemont, Illinois
Chairman, President and CEO, Comdisco Inc.,
and Former CEO and Secretary General, United States Olympic Committee

Ronnie C. Chan
Hong Kong
Chairman, Hang Lung Group

John H. Duncan
Houston, Texas
Former Chairman of the Executive Committee of Gulf & Western
Industries, Inc.

Wendy L. Gramm
Washington, D.C.
Director of the Regulatory Studies Program of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University
Former Chairman, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission

Robert K. Jaedicke
Stanford, California
Professor (Emeritus) of Accounting and Former Dean, Graduate School of Business,
Stanford University

Kenneth L. Lay
Houston, Texas

Charles A. Lemaistre
San Antonio, Texas
President Emeritus, University of Texas
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

John Mendelsohn
Houston, Texas
President, University of Texas
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Paulo V. Ferraz Pereira
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Executive Vice President of Group Bozano
Former President and COO, Meridional
Financial Group, and Former President and CEO,
State Bank of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

William C. Powers, Jr.
Austin, Texas
Dean of the University of Texas School of Law

Frank Savage
Stamford, Connecticut
CEO, Savage Holdings LLC

Raymond S. Troubh
New York, New York

John Wakeham
London, England
Chairman of Press Complaints Commission - UK
Former U.K. Secretary of State for Energy
and Leader of the Houses of Lords and Commons

Herbert S. Winokur, Jr.
Greenwich, Connecticut
Chairman and CEO of Capricorn Holdings, Inc., and
Former Senior Executive Vice President, Penn Central Corporation


UT dean vows to shed light on Enron
William Powers says internal inquiry he leads has been unbiased
By Ralph K.M. Haurwitz

American-Statesman Staff

Saturday, February 2, 2002

William C. Powers Jr. is well-known and well-respected in legal circles. A specialist on torts and product liability, he is the dean of the University of Texas School of Law.

Powers will step onto a much wider stage next week, testifying before Congress on the collapse of Enron Corp. He was named to the Houston-based energy trader's board of directors in October to chair a special committee investigating the company on behalf of the board. Among other things, the committee has looked into transactions between Enron and various partnerships, transactions that critics say were used to shield debt from investors and involved a conflict of interest on the part of Enron executives.

But the critics say there is also a conflict in Powers' role: Enron has donated $3.5 million to UT-Austin, including $276,000 to the Law School.

In an interview at his campus office Friday, Powers said he accepted the assignment out of a sense of public service. He brushed off suggestions that the Enron donations should have disqualified him from an investigative role. And to step down now would require someone else to start the probe anew, he said.

"We've conducted an unbiased and independent investigation," Powers said. "I think the report will demonstrate that. It will shed a great deal of light on Enron."

UT-Austin President Larry Faulkner on Friday expressed full confidence in the dean's integrity but said the widening legal and political drama concerning Enron had cast "some negative reflections" on the university.

Besides Powers, two other Enron board members have significant ties to the UT System: John Mendelsohn, president of UT's M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and Charles A. LeMaistre, president emeritus of the cancer center and a former chancellor of the UT System. Enron and related companies and foundations have donated a total of $9.5 million to various UT System institutions in the past 20 years or so, including $1.6 million to the cancer center.

Enron also recruited heavily from the ranks of undergraduate and graduate students at UT-Austin.

"We are not in an era where Enron's name is very positively received," Faulkner said. "In that respect, there are some negative reflections. Not very long ago, Enron was probably the most positive name in Texas business and viewed as the most innovative of Texas companies. What a difference a day makes.

"I'd like to reinforce that Dean Powers was recruited into this picture to be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem, that he was brought in to investigate and facilitate a cleanup. I do retain great confidence in Bill Powers' integrity."

Dan Burck, chancellor of the UT System, and Charles Miller, chairman of the UT System Board of Regents, also expressed support for Powers.

"I know that Bill Powers will not be compromised, that Bill Powers will be forthright and honest," Burck said. "It reflects well on the university that the dean of the Law School would be selected for such a complex job."

Miller said that Enron had been "one of the biggest corporations around," and so the fact that UT System institutions had fund-raising relationships with it "wouldn't be exceptional."

Rita Clements, vice chairman of the regents, said she did not think that the Enron matters had reflected negatively on the university system, but she expressed concern that Mendelsohn and Powers were having to spend "a lot of time" on Enron business. Nonetheless, she said, it is traditional and worthwhile for university officials to serve on corporate boards. "Their expertise is sought-after," she said.

Critics say Powers' fund-raising role should have prompted him to decline the invitation to serve as internal investigator for Enron.

"He's a good guy, but he's in a tough spot," said Charles Elson, director of the Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. "I think the problem is, given the extraordinary attention focused on this issue and the extraordinary controversy surrounding it, any potential connection to the company outside one's directorship is going to be viewed in a very critical light. If I had gotten the call, I think I would have said, 'No, thanks.' "

Powers said he regretted only that the investigation has taken so much of his time. "I think the university is well-served by its faculty contributing to public information and public debate. It certainly has turned out to be a much bigger project than I ever would have anticipated. That certainly is a concern of mine," he said.

Powers filed paperwork with UT on Nov. 1 stating that his Enron service would average 10 hours a month, according to records obtained by the Austin American-Statesman under the Texas Public Information Act. Although that might well have been accurate at the time, it has turned out to be an underestimate. For example, he is scheduled to testify in Washington on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday before congressional committees.

Powers noted that he did not join the Enron board until after the disputed transactions.

Enron paid Powers $7,500 for attending six board meetings until the bankruptcy filing in early December, when all payments to board members were suspended, said Karen Denne, a company spokeswoman. Board members previously were paid $50,000 a year, $10,000 a year for chairing a committee and $1,250 for attending a meeting.

A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and Harvard Law School, Powers joined UT in 1977, and now, at age 55, holds two endowed chairs in addition to the dean's post.

Records show that Powers, in a typical role for a law school dean, cultivated donors, in this case Enron executives, adding his hand-written thanks to correspondence about donations.

"Thank you for all you do for us!" he jotted on a letter dated Feb. 12, 2001, to James V. Derrick Jr., executive vice president and general counsel of Enron and a UT graduate. The letter acknowledged the final payment on Enron's $250,000 pledge to the Law School. In addition, Derrick has personally donated $47,200, according to the records.

You may contact Ralph K.M. Haurwitz at rhaurwitz@statesman.com or (512) 445-3604.



Enron panel finds inflated losses and few controls


The committee, headed by William C. Powers Jr., the dean of the University of Texas law school, was appointed in the wake of Enron's disclosure of its dealing with the partnerships. The committee's other members are Raymond S. Troubh and Herbert S. Winokur Jr.


Who is Herbert "Pug" Winokur Jr.? http://www.apfn.org/enron/winokur.htm


----- Original Message -----

From: "American Patriot Friends Network" <APFN@apfn.org>

To: <wpowers@mail.law.utexas.edu>

Cc: "APFN Yahoogroups" <apfn@yahoogroups.com>

Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2002 8:43 PM



Mr. Powers, do you know if Bernard Rapoport from Waco, Texas and
formally Dean of the Univ. of Texas has any connection with the
Enron affair.

Please reply to APFN@apfn.org


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