Nacchio conviction "a long time coming"
By Will Shanley, Staff Writer
Friday, April 20, 2007
Some former Qwest shareholders and workers rejoiced Thursday
following the guilty verdict in the insider-trading case against
Other metro-area residents described the outcome as "shocking"
or expressed sympathy for the disgraced chief executive.
"I'm so excited," said JoLynne Whiting, a former Qwest worker
who laughed almost uncontrollably during a telephone interview
with The Denver Post. "This is just marvelous. Thank
Whiting, who said she lost more than $100,000 in retirement
savings when Qwest's stock tanked earlier this decade, described
the verdict as vindication.
"It has been a long time coming," said Whiting, who worked for
Qwest and its predecessors, US West and Mountain Bell, for a
total of 29 years across several departments before retiring in
2000. "He destroyed billions of dollars in people's retirement
savings so that he could profit." The jury of eight men and
four women found Nacchio, the former CEO, guilty on 19 counts of
illegal insider trading. Nacchio faces a maximum penalty of 10
years in prison and a $1 million fine for each of the counts on
which he was convicted.
"He got what he deserves," said Thomas Kittridge, 78, who said
he lost about $50,000 as a result of Qwest's stock decline. "He
hurt a lot of people. I would have been disappointed if he had
gotten off clean."
After the guilty counts were announced, a spectator in the back
of the courtroom muttered, "This is beautiful." The man
declined to provide his name when asked by a Post reporter.
Bruce Conant, a retired government worker who frequently
attended the trial, said he was not surprised at the outcome
considering the jury's lengthy deliberation. He said, however,
that he did not agree with the outcome.
"If I were on the jury, I would have found him not guilty," said
Conant, 57. "I'm not sure the government proved Nacchio's state
A key part of proving illegal insider trading is proving that a
defendant had sold stock based on material information not known
to the public.
For people such as Bruce Shibles, an attorney, the outcome could
bode well for corporate America.
"The more you can get corporations to act ethically, the better
off the economy will be," said Shibles, 48, a Fort Collins
resident who works in Denver. "I think corporate America has to
be held accountable."
Casey Duncan, 23, said the verdict surprised him.
"I thought he would get away," said Duncan, who works as an
office administrator. "He has a lot of cash backing him up.
That helps a lot of the time."
Michael Radden of Denver said the guilty counts mean little. He
said other world events are far more important, pointing to the
shooting deaths this week at Virginia Tech.
"That is a little more important than this guy," said Radden.
"He's still going to live the life of luxury, even if he goes to
Sarah Sparks, who worked for Qwest from 1995 to 2001, said she
has sympathy for Nacchio's family.
"If he is sentenced to prison, I don't think that anything is
served," said Sparks, who said she lost $50,000 after exercising
Qwest stock options that ended up declining in value. "His
family needs him."
Sparks said she does not blame Nacchio for her investment
"I made my own investment decisions," said Sparks, 54. "I'm
convinced that he is guilty, but you can't blame Nacchio for
Staff writer Will Shanley can be reached at 303-954-1260 or
"He had people telling him that those one-time sales were drying
up. We felt he had months of information. We felt that to a
common investor, that was crucial. We felt in good conscience
that it wasn't possible that he didn't know, not a man of that
intelligence. The fact is, those one-timers were never
Terrell Joseph Dye, juror from Littleton
"Twelve courageous jurors sent a message all the way to Wall
Street. ... Joe Nacchio got that message loud and clear today."
Colleen Conry, prosecutor
"For anybody who has ever made a call from Qwest's 14-state
service area, 'convicted felon Joe Nacchio' has a nice ring to
it. Make no mistake, my friends, this is an overwhelming
determination of guilt."
Troy Eid, U.S. attorney for Colorado
"I'd be pleased to have the court do that."
Joe Nacchio, in response to whether he wants the judge
or a jury to determine how much of the $52 million in ill-gotten
gains he'll have to forfeit
"I was really grateful to the trial team for finishing the job."
Bill Leone, former U.S. attorney
who spearheaded the Nacchio investigation
"There's a time
of justice for everyone. Today is that day for Joe Nacchio.
Insider trading is not a victimless crime. ... There are victims
here, a lot of whom lost their hopes and dreams."
Cliff Stricklin, lead prosecutor
"We will certainly appeal."
Herbert Stern, lead defense attorney