Stay of prison term frustrates retirees
Many blame the former Qwest CEO for paper losses to their
By Andy Vuong
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Qwest retirees are outraged that former chief executive Joe
Nacchio remains free on $2 million bond two years after his
"I can't believe he's not in jail today," said Littleton resident Ric Shute, who worked at
Denver-based Qwest and its predecessors for 30 years.
U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger had ordered Nacchio this
month to report to prison on Monday to begin serving a six-year
term. But she vacated that order last week so she could
review Nacchio's bid to remain free pending an appeal to the
An estimated 6,000 Qwest retirees live in Colorado. Many blame Nacchio for
substantial paper losses to their retirement accounts and had
hoped to see justice Monday, said Nelson Phelps, executive
director of the Association of US West Retirees. Instead,
the day came and went with Nacchio's fate still uncertain.
Phelps has fielded about 30 e-mails from infuriated members
"A lot of these people put their money in Mountain Bell or US
West stock and kept it, thinking this was the safest place for
their retirement savings," Phelps said.
When Qwest acquired US West in June 2000, its stock hovered
around $55 a share. The price bottomed at $1.11 in August
2002, two months after Nacchio was ousted amid an accounting
scandal. Shute estimated that his Qwest holdings dropped
$250,000 in value from its all-time high until he cashed out in
2001, six months after his retirement.
Nacchio attorney Maureen Mahoney didn't respond to a request for
Andy Vuong: 303-954-1209 or