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Denver Inc.: Nacchio can count on his Colorado nest egg
By Jane Hoback & Gil Rudawsky
Rocky Mountain News
Saturday, April 8, 2006

We know former Qwest Chief Executive Joe Nacchio isn't hurting for money, despite stiff legal fees, because he's left nearly $150 in Colorado.  The Colorado Treasury Department's "Great Colorado Payback" program has been holding two checks for Nacchio since 2004, according to Patty White, director of the unclaimed-property program.

They are an electric company refund issued in 1999 of less than $50 and a payroll check of around $100 written in 2000.  White said she couldn't disclose the names of the companies, but the payroll check wasn't written by Qwest.

Nacchio made substantially more than that at Qwest, something like $250 million.

"They either didn't get a response or the checks were returned to them," White said of the checks.  "They both came to us in 2004."

White said the state will hold the unclaimed property "until perpetuity."  Or Nacchio could call 1-800-825-2111 and get a claim form.

Unfortunately for Nacchio, the money doesn't earn interest.

"Poor guy," White quipped.

Ignorance is still bliss

Shortly after Qwest's current CEO, Dick Notebaert, took over the troubled telco in June 2002, he met his longtime friend Warren Buffett for lunch.  At the time, Qwest was the subject of federal investigations into its accounting, employee morale was at an all-time low, and the company was flirting with bankruptcy.

After Notebaert regaled his lunchtime companion with the layers of mess he'd uncovered since he arrived at Qwest, the Oracle of Omaha leaned in, looked Notebaert in the eye and offered some sage counsel:

"You need to buy yourself that Toby Keith song, I Wish I Didn't Know Now What I Didn't Know Then," Buffett advised, Notebaert recalled during a recent speech at the University of Denver's Daniel College of Business.

Assistant Business Editor Jane Hoback and Deputy Business Editor Gil Rudawsky write about local business talk that doesn't necessarily end up in quarterly reports. They can be reached at business@RockyMountainNews.com.

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/business_columnists/article/0,1299,DRMN_82_4610731,00.html