When USA Today began their expose of Lynn Brewer, the self-proclaimed ‘former executive’ at Enron, they cast light on more than just a woman who was hungry for a little media attention. Indeed they cast light on a woman who proclaims to this day that she’s a criminal, and she’s sorry, and oh won’t the audiences who pay 13,000k to hear her speak, won’t they please forgive her?
Lynn Brewer claims to be a lot of things she’s not, and anyone with an interest can delve into the fascinating mental machinations of the woman. However, I’d like to focus on one aspect of Ms. Brewer’s personality: the fact that she claims, openly and publicly, to be a criminal. Reformed, yes, but a criminal nonetheless.
The Enron Task Force has a list of some hundred ‘unindicted co-conspiractors’ in the Enron case. Lawsuits continue – both civil and criminal. So why hasn’t Lynn Brewer been named in any lawsuit? Why hasn’t she, as far as we know, lawyered up? Why does she continue to apologize for her part in the Enron ‘crimes’ when there are good men serving time for things they really didn’t do? Why doesn’t she give back some millions that she’s made at Enron… oh, yeah. Her salary was about 70k per annum. Not exactly millionaire, wheeler-dealer, big time Enron exec money. The one exec who didn’t make a lot of money at Enron, treasurer Ben Glisan, made over half a million dollars per year in salary.
I suppose it’s difficult to pay back millions of ill-begotten fraud money if you’re earning a middle-America salary.
Lynn Brewer acts like a crazy person, not a smart, savvy criminal who is capable of organizing the financial vehicles that are at the center of the Enron controversy (and which I must point out are only controversial, not criminal). We can guess at her motivations for this. One of them is clearly money. After Enron’s collapse she started the modestly named Integrity Institute, and as stated above, charges 13k to speak on the subject of ethics. She claims to give about 200 speeches per year (stretching my Texas math, that would be 2,600,000$ pre tax dollars per year.) But I suspect that money is only part of it. My personal belief is that Ms. Brewer enjoys the patina of Enron. At its zenith, there was simply no better place to work. It was cool. The staid old pipeline business had suddenly become the only business in town. It was a place where machoism thrived, where one succeeded or failed on the merits (the merits being the ability to bring cash in the door). I think even after the company collapsed, there was a certain war-torn glamour about it, just like those who can say they worked in the World Trade Center have a sort of nostalgic charm. Maybe Lynn Brewer likes to imagine herself as high up on the fiftieth floor of Enron tower, devilishly conspiring with Andrew Fastow over Raptors or LJM2. One imagines it would indeed feel pretty cool, being smart enough to outwit not only everyone else but the entire US capitalist market. Too bad that never happened, and that the fraud, ironically enough, is the greatest illusion of all.