…despite the fact that he died on July 5th, 2006. At the time, he was awaiting sentence after being found guilty of six counts of conspiracy and fraud in one case, and a separate four counts of fraud elsewhere.
It took a simple
Wikipedia Google search to learn that he died in a hospital near his vacation home in Aspen, Colorado. Apparently, the World’s Favorite CEO suffered from coronary artery disease, and had a heart attack which may not actually have been his first. There was a memorial service held at the First United Methodist Church that George HW Bush attended, which was weird to read, given the fact that I’ve been there multiple times in my life, including for the wedding of some family friends. At this ceremony, according to a bizarrely direct Bloomberg article, he was defended furiously- my favorite quote was “Ken Lay was neither black nor poor, but he was a victim of a lynching.” Alright, thanks, Houston.
Life moved on, and Lay’s body was cremated and the ashes were buried in Colorado. Where? According to Wikipedia, “a secret location in the mountains,” and I swear to God I’m not making this up. Since he was, you know, dead, the conviction was abated, which according my small amount of research means that the conviction that had been facing him basically disappeared. Please, correct me if I’m wrong, because of all the things that I like being, wrong is not one of them.
So why shout to the masses that he’s alive? Because that’s the name of my new favorite Ken Lay-related website, Ken Lay is Alive, which describes itself as “An organization devoted to tracking the whereabouts of the former Enron CEO.” At first, I thought that this site was an odd joke of some kind, an idea reaffirmed by the “sightings” page.
Now, I was ready to dismiss this as an oddball satire of conspiracy theories about his death and sadly, those do exist. Apparently the timing of his death and the unknown location of his ashes means that he’s hiding in the mountains somewhere with his stash of money and souls. This is almost definitely viable when you factor in the incident with the autopsy- apparently someone made a mistake and wrote “Tuesday” instead of “Wednesday” in one place. GASP.
However, attempts to delve deeper into these conspiracy theories (I’ll forever regret that intention) led me to further confusion about my new friends over at Ken Lay is Alive: both Wikipedia and CNN, at some point in a mention of theories about Lay’s death, linked to an update on the homepage that Skilling was seeking a retrial. (Their biting commentary? “If he had spent as much time trying not to be a scumbag as he sepends [sic.] trying to weasel his wayout of doing his time, everthing might be okay.”) So maybe it’s best that I give up on that.
However, on this second visit, I noticed the “The Ghost of Ken Lives On” portion of the site, which opens with this:
And now we’re getting to the important idea behind not just this site, but why we study Enron (and hell, these guys too!) in the first place. The rest of this page (look, if you haven’t gone to this site yet, just do it now) is a list/article/timeline/rant about the impact of a few people on the whole. And that’s a phenomenal discussion to have.
So after all of this almost-exploration, what do I have to leave you with? A thought, courtesy of Ken Lay is Alive.org: How much are we going to let a few people control the economic environment of our lives, and is it even up to us? I’ll also leave you with this meme that they tried to make happen (they made too many for me to count!)