Ex-Enron workers: Skilling should serve full term

As the Justice Department and the former CEO's lawyers negotiate a shorter prison sentence, his old employees say it's a really bad move.

By Jason Notte May 13, 2013 8:51AM
File photo of former Enron executive Jeffrey Skilling
© Pat Sullivan/AP file photoWhen we last left former Enron Chief Executive Jeffrey Skilling, the man convicted of fraud that turned his company, his investors' cash and his workers' livelihoods into the financial equivalent of smoldering rubble, his lawyers were hammering out a deal with the Justice Department for an early release from his 24-year prison sentence.

Not surprisingly, the former Enron employees whose jobs and retirement plans Skilling incinerated have a bit of a problem with that.

Some of those former workers went to CNNMoney and made it known exactly what they think of a deal that would free Skilling almost 10 years early. Diana Peters, a former technology specialist at the now-defunct energy company, lost her entire $75,000 retirement portfolio when Enron collapsed in last 2001. After losing her job at age 50, she picked up various temporary computer gigs before landing a full-time job in 2011. When she got laid off from that position, she decided to retire. As far as she's concerned, Skilling should serve every minute of his original sentence.

"It's been seven years for him, but there's no way I or many of the other people that lost money will ever get that back," Peters said.

Skilling has been appealing his conviction since 2006, when he was found guilty of conspiracy, fraud and other charges related to Enron's collapse. That bankruptcy took out 5,600 jobs, $2 billion in employee pensions and more than $60 billion in shareholder value.

Skilling's recent deal stems from a Supreme Court ruling that struck down the rules that apply to his sentencing, calling them too strict. The deal requires a judge to come up with a new sentence and requires $40 million of Skilling's seized assets to be released as victim compensation.

Sheryl Butler, who lost $120,000 in stock options when Enron collapsed, agreed with Peters and said the $40 million is worthless if Skilling is freed.

"What he did was so egregious to so many people," Butler said. "I don't have any sympathy for him."

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May 13, 2013 10:58AM
This story demonstrates the gross social unfairness that  makes average people perpetually dislike and even hate the very rich, whose power and privilege allows them almost anything they want from our society and gov't even if they are crooks. Our gov't allowing this level of criminal out of prison after only a few years of his original sentence is an open invitation to others who would be encouraged to try this level of crime, as it is obviously very profitable and allows one to live like a king on ill-gotten gains after only a very short  time in prison. Where is the deterrent in that? There is none, the gov't knows it, we know it, yet it happens all the time and never changes for the better as it it is a rigged game in favor of the very rich, and our entire society is fast becoming exactly that corrupt and unfair.
May 13, 2013 11:32AM
HE STILL HAS MONEY FOR LAWYERS (plural) then he hasn't adequately paid for his crime.  For my money he should be beheaded and if any of the Enron victims kill that SOB, I hope to sit on their jury to set them free.   TIME FOR WORKING STIFFS TO TAKE VENGENCE ON THE CORPORATE THIEVES, THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT DAMNED SURE WON'T.
May 13, 2013 11:29AM

Think of every nasty expletive and then throw in a few more that haven't been applied to the greedy, unrepentent, ARROGANT bastards from Enron and apply them to Skilling.  The ONLY WAY he gets out early is by the NORMAL COURSE OF JUSTICE -- that being the RICH TURDS LIKE SKILLING BRIBING THE SOBS THAT are supposed to keep his kind locked up.


No doubt he will be a few thousand lighter but WALK away from his crime while some scumbag judge, prosecutor, etc., walk to the bank.   JUSTICE STINKS IN THE USA.  Don't throw out that greatest country in the world malarky either.  ONE OF THE MOST CORRUPT MAYBE....for sale to the highest bidder ABSOLUTELY.

May 13, 2013 11:03AM
May 13, 2013 9:45AM
after losing bunches of appeals and none of his arrogance, mr skilling has yet to show any contrition. i think his sentence was too harsh, but i would hate to see it modified without his telling the truth. the only way to mitigate future skillings is to know the truth
May 13, 2013 10:38AM
He should be released from prison after all his assets have been confiscated. Let him be homeless and without funds to fend for himself. That may teach him and other crooks a lesson.
May 13, 2013 5:36PM

I believe they call this form of government a Plutocracy.  Congress has been owned  by

 K Street for quite some time but now the Supreme Court seems to favor corporations (as persons?!) and their rich executives with a double standard.  Even Obama repealed the law banning insider trading by members of Congress.  Our founding fathers are most certainly rolling over in their graves.

May 13, 2013 6:57PM
It is a real shame that these rich thieves can hire a unscrupulous attorney to fix things for them while their victims can do nothing about it other than speak out if they know what is happening.  There is no good reason why this rich scum bag should get any special treatment but his money can and will buy it for him.
May 13, 2013 5:05PM
Just another s****ing bottom-dwelling sociopath WHO GOT CAUGHT! And they want to let this sleaze master out of jail? God help us all. Kathie
May 13, 2013 7:42PM
He should have been executed. China has gotten one thing right in their justice system, because Skilling would already be dead in China.
May 14, 2013 12:14AM

The other 17 commentators have said it all.  It is so ironic that less wealthy people spend years and years of their lives in jail until dna tests prove them innocent, but skilling one of the indisputable convicted crooks of our time, does not have to serve his full sentence.  He ruined peoples lives and our government is so detached from the average person they just do not understand how he ruined their lives.  He robbed/stole from people and he is free. Unbelievable.

May 13, 2013 10:12PM
Actually, Skilling should be dropped in a hole somewhere with no light and left to rot like the manipulative, greedy, evil s****er he is.  Unfortunately, that won't happen.
May 13, 2013 6:40PM
Feed former Enron Chief Executive Jeffrey Skilling, Enron's management and Board of Directors to hungry hyenas.
May 14, 2013 6:48AM
He should stay in until he repays his co-workers and customers, the politicians helping him get out should join him!
May 13, 2013 6:35PM
now you know why the symbol for justice is holding a scale and has a blindfold on! As long as they tip one way or the other with gold....justice,,,,,money talks and **** walks
May 14, 2013 3:48AM
He should have NO ASSETS. How many of the 5,600 people that lost  jobs have any assets left?  What about the $2 billion in employee pensions. There are people that are living on a lot less than it cost to house him in country club prison.  Many lost some of the  $60 billion in shareholder value, which might have allowed them a comfortable retirement.
May 14, 2013 2:01AM
Land of the free, home of the brave, where the rich have one set of laws (NONE) and you live by another set of laws.........
May 14, 2013 1:02PM
Leave his **** in jail.... I have some good friends that lost everything afte the company closed down, and things haven't been the same for some.
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