the CAMP ENRON Report


CAMP ENRON:
... gateway to the next Progressive Era?

Some say it's nothing but a train wreck ... roll in the big cranes, clear the track, see what the crew's been smoking. If I thought so, I'd not be writing this ... and if they thought so, they'd not be drumming so hard.


For a brief orientation, see this
Welcome to Camp Enron

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Camp Enron Archives
01/01/2002 - 02/01/2002 02/01/2002 - 03/01/2002 03/01/2002 - 04/01/2002 04/01/2002 - 05/01/2002 05/01/2002 - 06/01/2002 06/01/2002 - 07/01/2002 07/01/2002 - 08/01/2002 08/01/2002 - 09/01/2002 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003

NOTE to READERS:
(2) All "major" articles of older material have now been imported, some with updates worth perusing. We'll keep it all on the main page for a while, will add a few loose pieces of history, will trim the main page and index the archives for convenience later.


OUR DEPARTMENTS:

the COGENT PROVOCATEUR:
free agent, loose cannon, pointy stick ... taking an imposing analytic toolkit out of the box, over the wall and into the street ... with callous disregard for accepted wisdom and standard English

reading the tea leaves from original angles, we've led with uncannily prescient takes on the federal surplus, the dotcom crash, the "Energy Crisis", the Afghan campaign, the federal deficit.

More where those came from ... stay tuned.


For brief orientation, see this
Welcome to CP


CAMP ENRON:
... gateway to the next Progressive Era?

For a brief orientation, see this
Welcome to Camp Enron

OTHER GOOD STUFF:
Many thanks to Tony Adragna and Will Vehrs, still shouting 'cross the Potomac at QuasiPundit. Early Camp Enron material can be found in QP's Dispatches department.
Thursday, July 04, 2002

 
--- Camp Enron Never Sleeps ---

Not with the skitterings we hear outside the platform tents at night ... not with the beady red eyes we see glowing when the lights go out ... not with the sounds of vampire capitalism heard muffled through the dark wood ... not after somebody spotted our former handyman Old Hook -- or his ghost -- rowing through the fog down at Fire Lake.

WorldCom's internal whistleblower, auditor Cynthia Cooper, is cooperating with investigators ... and the scuttlebutt is she's not telling the same backstory the exec's are telling.

Harvey Pitt is blaming the previous administration. WorldCom CEO John Sidgmore is blaming the previous administration ... and I'll bet Pitt doesn't let Sidgmore get away with it.

Former SEC Chair Richard Breeden has been appointed as corporate monitor in the civil fraud case against WorldCom. "I'm not there to replace company management," said Breeden. "I'm there to be the eyes and ears of the court." (AP)

WSJ busts Andersen consulting spin-off Accenture and PricewaterhouseCoopers consulting spin-off "Monday:" (motto "we dare you to use our name in a sentence"), for re-incorporating in Bermuda to enjoy relief from US taxes.

Deposed WorldCom CFO Scott Sullivan sold $30M in WorldCom shares since 1997. Former CEO Ebbers, $77M. Others too ... and it looks like the firm itself tapped a line of credit which may not have been available under conditions as then known to the firm (but unknown to the lender or the public).

WSJ's Shawn Young tries to triangulate WorldCom's actual asset position -- maybe a few billion, versus $104B book value. [UPDATE: See this WSJ pre-game rundown of assets, liabilities and feeding frenzy game plans.]

Across the pond, KPNQWest's Ebone went dark for good, leaving teeming masses yearning to log on all over Europe. Small-to-medium enterprises are hurt worst, since most alrge users have contingency plans. Determined sysop's have been keeping the network up, working with little expectation of pay, but it's game over. "All that remains is to sell the equipment, and that will be worthless in a market awash with surplus equipment" says one senior Ebone tech in FT.com coverage. A macroproblem in microcosm.

GOP House committee chairs Tauzin and Greenwood put Harvey Pitt on the spot, inquiring whether SEC ever scrutinized accounting at Tyco, WorldCom, Global XXing, Qwest or Xerox. Did the SEC fail to look? Or look and not see? Or see and not do anything? Tauzin can be counted on to ream exec's out in public after things go bad, without doing much about root causes. Greenwood looks serious about cleaning up the Wild West.

Sidgmore to take his ball and go home? The CEO emphasizes the current hostilities and WorldCom's indispensible role as a DOD communications vendor. Message: "Bail us out ... or the terrorists will have won."

NYT's Seth Schiesel unwinds a convoluted arrangement by which Liberty Media's John Malone ended up owning 19% of Sprint PCS (worth $825M at Tuesday's close), with a guarantee those shares would worth at least $5B (more than Sprint PCS's total market cap). How would Sprint possibly satisfy such a guarantee? Good question. One possibility is that Malone flies the plane into the ground, and ends up owning the airline.

The SEC is drastically impaired by vacancies and recusals. A powderkeg case against Big Four survivor Ernst & Young was tossed out this week because it was authorized by a 1-0 vote. Two of 5 Commission seats are vacant ... one is held by a former EY'er ... and the last seat belongs to Chairman Harvey Pitt, who used to lawyer for EY (and everybody else for that matter). Per the Judge's order, it takes at least two Commissioners to conduct a binding vote. Details in this WaPo account.

The cost of being right in a world gone wrong ... see Fort Worth Weekly for the sad story of last year's man -- a straight-arrow accountant in WorldCom crooked-arrow culture. WorldCom accounting -- and their response to imminent exposure -- is looking more and more foul by the hour. Anybody surprised?

Celebrating Independence Day -- a more reflective 4th than usual -- we've found it's still possible to rustle up a mighty fine apple pie despite all the bad apples. We can tuned in Kevin Phillips and Ken Burns on the wireless. Geared up for fireworks tonite ... maybe they'll put a scare into the ghouls of greed ... and I have an inkling that folks to the left of me and folks to the right of me are shocking their own systems by thinking deeply about how all of this is really supposed to work. Maybe tomorrow we'll put some of that famous can-do American ingenuity to work, and start hammering out some workable checks and balances.

OK, all you Geniuses of Capitalism ... what would MacGyver do in a case like this?