Many people had looked forward to knowing more about Ken Lay, especially how he liked prison. But
now that he’s died of a heart attack …none of his victims
will be able to contemplate that he’s locked away in a place that makes
the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel look like Hawaii; that he might be spending
long nights locked in a cell with a panting tattooed monster named
Sumo, a man of strange and constant demands; and long days in the
prison laundry or jute mill or license plate factory, gibbering with
anguish as fire-eyed psychopaths stare at him for unblinking hours
while they sharpen spoons into jailhouse stilettos… – Henry Allen, The Washington Post

Lay and Enron became shorthand for corporate fraud and late-night
comics looking for an easy laugh. Lay testified in court that he was
$100m in debt. He was finally convicted in May on six charges of fraud
and conspiracy. He was due to be sentenced in September, and had been
expected to be jailed for between 20 and 30 years. – The Guardianobit

Ken Lay Disgraced founder of
Enron, convicted on 10 fraud charges…When Ken Lay was paraded in
handcuffs to a Houston courthouse two years
ago this month, to be indicted for presiding over a massive fraud at
Enron, the energy company he created, it provided the image that
defined a whole era of boardroom excess and malfeasance in America. – The Independent

Soon after the collapse of Enron, a giant American energy company, in
2001, the Rev Jesse Jackson likened its founder, Kenneth Lay, to Job.
No boils disfigured Mr Lay’s smooth, well-groomed head, and nothing had
befallen his camels or his servants; but in his own mind, he was an
innocent victim…He died as the face of America’s turn-of-the-century corporate crime
wave, and with none of the later compensations God allowed even to Job. – The Economist

So, Lay manages to pass into history as a semitragic figure instead
of a laughingstock—the family man, devoted husband, and all-around good
guy he always claimed to be… Nice going, Kenny boy, is all I can say. – Mimi Swartz, Slate

Kenneth L. Lay,
the son of a Baptist preacher in rural Missouri who rose to the
pinnacle of corporate America as head of Enron before becoming a symbol
of corporate excess, died yesterday in Aspen, Colo. He was 64. – NY Times

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.


Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey