Nacchio prosecutor cites profit obsession
Stricklin says he disagrees with those who say, "Greed is good."
By David Milstead
Rocky Mountain News
Friday, May 25, 2007
Cliff Stricklin, first assistant U.S. attorney for the District
of Colorado, spoke to the Denver Rotary Club on Thursday in some
of his first comments since the conclusion of the Joe Nacchio
trial in April.
"I got a lot of people accusing me of being a communist. I'm on
the record discussing this. . . . Judge Nottingham told me: "I
don't want you trying this guy because he's rich." I said,
"Your honor, I'd never do that -- I'm a Republican." (The
scandals) are an indictment of a profit-obsessed culture, one
that's ruthless and puts the shortterm ahead of the long-term
goals of the company. It was that sort of corporate culture
that had a hand in bringing down the Goliath of Enron and the
very innovative company that was Qwest.
On former Enron Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow:
"I can't say I enjoyed my time around Andrew Fastow as much as
with (two lower-level employees). I didn't identify with him as
much. But this guy is clearly one of the smartest people I've
ever been around in my entire life . . . the defense was licking
their chops, "Blame it all on Fastow." It didn't work because
of his demeanor on the stand. He would say, "I stole? We
stole." That's a lesson I've learned. You can make mistakes,
big mistakes, be vilified by an entire country. That doesn't
matter to him because he knew he made mistakes, fessed up and
took responsibility for his own actions."
On Joe Nacchio:
"At AT&T, when he came to work at Qwest, he was worth about $5
million. As he went on, and his work at Qwest progressed, his
net worth was half a billion dollars. You think about the
wealth he was building when he sold his shares -- when you have
$250 million, why take the risk? It's stature in the
community; it's a way of keeping score."
On Gordon Gekko's, "Greed is good," from the movie Wall
"Greed really is not good. There's nothing wrong with making
money. There's nothing wrong with making a lot of it, and
having that as a goal. But at some point it's possible that
it's such your goal, you lose your moral compass and it becomes
your god in life. . . . The apostle Paul said to Timothy, "the
love of money is the root of all evil." Not "money is the root
of all evil." It's often misquoted -- that's a big difference."