ENRON on the Skillet

from a news column by DAVID BRODER of The Washington Post - March, 2002 .

Gerald Skillet, formerly the CEO of the Hidden Valley Gas and Energy Company told his lawyer, Mr. Arnold Deep Pockets, that he wanted to testify in front of a congressional committee, instead of taking the Fifth.

Deep Pockets was against the idea. He said, "If you testify, they could use what you say in a criminal indictment."

"It doesn't matter. I want to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I want to tell the American people that Hidden Valley did nothing wrong when it went bankrupt and lost everybody's money."

"You're taking a chance, Gerry."

"Don't worry about me. I can handle those bozos in congress."

Here is a transcript of the Skillet testimony:

"Mr. Skillet, when were you the CEO of Hidden Valley?"

"I'm not sure."

"All right, when did you go bankrupt?"

"I don't remember."

"It says here that the company lost $3 billion dollars on your watch. How do you explain this?"

"How should I know. I'm not an accountant."

"It also says you unloaded your own stock for $150 million before your company tanked."

"l wouldn't know. My wife takes care of the household books."

"Are you trying to tell us you don't know what your wife does with your money?"

"Does anybody?"

"I would like to discuss with you a whistle-blower in Hidden Valley who warned that all the companies you invested in were duds. Do you remember her?"

"I remember her because she always had a run in her stocking, so I never took her seriously."

"But wasn't she right about the whistle-blowing information she gave you?"

"I don't remember, but I fired her because she took an hour for lunch."

"Your accountants were in on the scams, weren't they? You couldn't have done it without them."

"I didn't see anything because my office was in a skyscraper and they worked in the back. I met them occasionally on the elevator, but we never talked business."

"You were in the power business. Did you ever cheat the consumer?"

"You mean did we over-charge them more than 50 percent and black out their homes if they couldn't pay?"

"That's the idea."

"Why would I want to do that?"

"What was your relationship with Vice President Cheney?"

"Our company only had social and political relationships with him. We gave his party money, and in exchange he gave us favors. It made us feel we were giving something back to the country. Several people from Hidden Valley were hired by the administration, but only after they personally made a killing in the stock market."

"Would it be wrong to say you stole millions of dollars in pension funds, and there are thousands of people who lost their life savings?"

"I told you before I'm not an accountant."

"Thank you, Mr. Skillet, for coming before our committee and spilling your guts out."

"I think I owe it to the American people to appear in front of you and tell it like it is."