Monday PM July 30th, 2007
by: Ed Mayberry, July 30, 2007 5:07:00 am
Former Enron shareholders are asking U.S. Senator John Cornyn to assist them in their efforts to hold Enron's banking partners accountable for their lost savings. Gene Stilp with the Center for Justice & Democracy says Cornyn's office contacted them moments before their Houston news conference.
"The whole purpose of this was to, was to call to the attention of Senator Cornyn to get President Bush's ear. As of a few minutes ago, we've had the official notification—a call to our office in Washington from his office—that he is reaffirming his original position in the 2002 amicus brief when he was attorney general."
Retired Enron worker Charles Prestwood says the administration needs to stand with the victims and not the banks that helped Enron doctor its financial statements to show false profits.
"We thought we worked at the greatest institution--we thought the greatest company in the world--because we worked and helped build that company. In the year of 2001, when we'd get up in the morning we were very worried because the Enron stock was going down. We would get on that computer and look at our little home page on Enron, and Standard & Poor's—the great people that are supposed to know exactly what they're saying—they told us Enron is a strong buy. Hang to it. If you own any stock, hang to it. And if you don't own none, buy some, you know."
Twenty former Enron workers--whose retirement savings were wiped out--want Senator Cornyn to reaffirm that he feels the banks and financial firms can be held responsible for fraud. The group also asked Cornyn to urge the Bush administration not to support such institutions in a similar case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Cornyn, as Texas Attorney General in 2002, joined 26 other states in filing a brief supporting the claims of Enron investors. Cornyn spokesman Brian Walsh says the Senator stands in support of the shareholders and behind that 2002 brief. The issue concerns the liability of several large investment banks that knowingly participated in the fraudulent scheme with Enron, including Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse First Boston, Barclays Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto-Dominion Bank.
The last two Enron executives bound for prison will begin serving their sentences this week. Kenneth Rice, once CEO of Enron's failed broadband division, has been ordered to surrender to a federal prison in Oakdale, Louisiana Tuesday to serve his two-year, three-month sentence for securities fraud. That's where former Enron CFO Andy Fastow is serving time. U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore also ordered former broadband chief operating officer Kevin Hannon to surrender to a prison in Bastrop on Thursday to serve his two-year term for conspiracy. That's where former Enron chief accounting officer Richard Causey is serving his sentence.
According to the Lundberg Survey, gasoline prices have fallen about 17 cents in the last two weeks. Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg says the average price for self-serve regular nationwide is $2.88 a gallon, mid-grade is $3.01 and premium is $3.12. The nation's lowest average price is in Cleveland, where a gallon of regular cost $2.65. The highest is in Chicago at $3.29.
Quite a bit of economic data will be released this week, with July auto sales and employment numbers among the most eagerly awaited. Things get rolling Tuesday when the Commerce Department reports on personal income and spending for June and the second-quarter Employment Cost Index. Midweek brings the ISM report on the state of the manufacturing economy during July and the National Association of Realtors pending home sales index for a snapshot of the housing market.