The Crime of “Being There”

I continue my fervent research of Enron Broadband Services (EBS) — in fact, one of the reasons my posts have been fewer in number than usual the past few months is because I am spending a lot of time on EBS study. I will share the fruits of that effort in great detail a bit later.

In the meantime, I think I have finally figured out what crime the Feds tried to pin on the EBS defendants. I think the Feds believe that the EBS defendants are criminals because they were “there” at Enron at some point in their lives! I know this sounds crazy, but in the New Age of Superstition, in which simply being a business executive is enough to make a person a criminal suspect, it was all the Feds needed to feel justified in bringing indictments against innocent people.

Honestly, after pouring over tens of thousands of pages of EBS documents, including the trial transcripts, there just is no coherent evidence of crimes at EBS among the defendants who actually went to trial back in 2005. And the government’s case at trial is completely squirrelly, jig-jagging all over the place as the desperate prosecutors tried to find something to bring up against the defendants that would stick with the jurors. At the end of the day, the thing that the prosecutors continued to come back to time after time was essentially this argument:

“The defendants are business executives — we all know that business executives are greedy. They were there at Enron, and they actually got paid for being there. And … gasp … they traded some Enron stock while being there! Clearly, this makes them criminals.”

And that, dear reader, was pretty much the Feds’ sole justification for hounding innocent people for years and for wasting tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on the EBS prosecutions.

Cara Ellison


  1. I think you nailed it. Kroger as much admits this logic in his book that all people at Enron were crooks but they had to just get a few of them. There is a myth that business people who want to make money are cooks by definition versus they could produce something good and useful and have families and want to do the best they could for their families.

    The desire to make money to provide a good life for yourself and your family used to be called the “American Dream”. Now that notion is assumed to be greedy and you are guilty of some crime.

    It is a sick mindset that has become prevalent in society and the media pours it on that all business people are greedy. It is sad because good businesses make money but they also employ people and pay taxes. They fuel the Government and now Government and society seems to be trying to destroy those people. Thanks for pointing this out.

  2. I am very interested in what EBS was all about. I wrote to Skilling while he was in prison asking him if he could outline how and what the operation would achieve.

    I got no response.

    I look forward to reading your findings.

  3. EBS was a great company. We all worked hard to make it successful and when the Corporation collapsed, so did our investments into making this part of the company work. We were not all crooks bent on conspiring to squirrel away ill gotten gains or trying to con people out of their money; we were working on what we thought was a real and beneficial product.

    Maybe some of the top players may have been in on something–I don’t know because I wasn’t one of them.

    I recognize we are all allowed to have our own spin on things and I respect your perspective. It is hard though to read an apologetic view of what went on.

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