Enron Says Bless You, Arthur Andersen
A guy is dead, fortunes are gone, careers are laid waste. There's nothing funny for the employees and investors of ill-fated Enron, but there must be some satisfaction in knowing that those bozos from Arthur Andersen have come galloping from the shadows into the media forefront just as reporters were beginning to catch their collective breath. Anything to help ameliorate the blazing arrogance and stupidity that led to the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history.
CBS's Bob Schieffer pulled out an old Roger Mudd quote: "The best thing about this story is, it can only get worse."
Ah, yes. Bull-market bravado, tycoons destroying documents, politicians scrambling to dig their way out from under the piles of money showered on them from Houston, wailing and gnashing of teeth in high places -- we've seen the movie.
As one source put it, the folks at Enron should be down on their knees thanking the Lord for accountants like Arthur Andersen who are able to shoulder so much of the blame. And there seems to be plenty to go around.
The Big 5 accounting firm acknowledged that it was aware of the accounting techniques Enron had used to conceal its level of debt and, in the same breath, fired the point man in its audits of Enron. He had directed an "expedited effort" to destroy documents even after learning that federal regulators were probing Enron's business, they said, aghast.
Thank goodness they're so responsible!