Enron workers face long wait for compensation

New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON -- Millions of dollars stripped from Enron by former executives there will eventually be split among those financially damaged by the company's collapse, officials said Wednesday.

But they shouldn't expect to see a check anytime soon.

As part of his plea agreement with prosecutors and federal regulators, ex-Enron executive Michael Kopper will give up $12 million he admitted receiving in fraudulent Enron transactions. And they plan to file suits against former chief financial officer Andrew Fastow, ex-Enron lawyer Kristina Mordaunt and others, totaling another $23 million.

While the criminal charges are getting the most attention, for some former Enron employees, getting back some of the money skimmed from the company is as important as punishing wrongdoers, attorneys said.


"It is very good news that they are focused not just on punishment but on making investors and employees whole," said Eli Gottesdiener, who represents some Enron employees in a class-action suit against the company.

Securities and Exchange Commission and Justice Department officials said Wednesday the goal of the forfeitures will be to return as much money as possible to those who lost when the company declared bankruptcy.

If they get everything they're looking for, it will likely just be a down payment on the staggering claims from this group that includes shareholders, retirees, employees who invested in company stock in their 401(k) plans and small businesses left holding the bag when Enron defaulted.

What To Read Next
Get Local