Feds want to see Videotape of Bush praising Enron in 'Comedy' Skit
Former federal prosecutor Phil Hilder said that what was a joke could become evidence for federal investigators. President George W. Bush--at that time Texas governor--also took part in the skit, as did his father. At the party, the younger Bush pleaded with Kinder: "Don't leave Texas. You're too good a man." The governor's father also offered a send-off to Kinder, thanking him for helping his son reach the governor's mansion. "You have been fantastic to the Bush family," the elder Bush said. "I don't think anybody did more than you did to support George."
Feds Want To See Enron Videotape
President Bush Also Takes Part In Skit
Posted: 10:20 a.m. CST December 16, 2002
Updated: 5:42 p.m. CST December 17, 2002
HOUSTON -- Skits and jokes by a few former Enron Corp. executives at a party six years ago were funny then, but now border on bad taste in light of the events of the past year.
A videotape of a January 1997 going-away party for former Enron President Rich Kinder features nearly half an hour of absurd skits, songs and testimonials by company executives and prominent Houstonians, the Houston Chronicle reported in its Monday editions.
The collection is all meant in good fun, but some of the comments are ironic in the current climate of corporate scandal.
In one skit, former Administrative Executive Peggy Menchaca played the part of Kinder as he received a budget report from then-President Jeff Skilling, who played himself, and Financial Planning Executive Tod Lindholm.
When the pretend Kinder expressed doubt that Skilling could pull off 600 percent revenue growth for the coming year, Skilling revealed how it could be done.
"We're going to move from mark-to-market accounting to something I call HFV, or hypothetical future value accounting," Skilling joked as he read from a script. "If we do that, we can add a kazillion dollars to the bottom line."
Richard Causey, the former chief accounting officer who was embroiled in many of the business deals named in the indictments of other Enron executives, made an unfortunate joke later on the tape.
"I've been on the job for a week managing earnings, and it's easier than I thought it would be," Causey said, referring to a practice that is frowned upon by securities regulators. "I can't even count fast enough with the earnings rolling in."
Joe Sutton and Rebecca Mark, the two executives credited with leading Enron on an international buying spree, did a painfully awkward rap for Kinder, while former Enron Broadband Services President Ken Rice recounted a basketball game where employees from Enron Capital & Trade beat Kinder's Enron Corp. team, 98-50.
"I know you never forget a number, Rich," Rice said.
President George W. Bush, who then was governor of Texas, also took part in the skit, as did his father.
At the party, the younger Bush pleaded with Kinder: "Don't leave Texas. You're too good a man."
The governor's father also offered a send-off to Kinder, thanking him for helping his son reach the governor's mansion.
"You have been fantastic to the Bush family," the elder Bush said. "I don't think anybody did more than you did to support George."
Federal investigators told News2Houston Tuesday that they want to take a closer look at the tape.
Investigators with the House committee on government reform are in the process of obtaining a copy of the tape, according to News2Houston.
Former federal prosecutor Phil Hilder said that what was a joke could become evidence for federal investigators.
"There's matters on there that a prosecutor may want to introduce as evidence should it become relevant," Hilder said.
Former employees were shocked to see the tape.
"It's too close to the truth, very close to the truth," said Debra Johnson, a former Enron employee. "I think there's some inside truth to the jokes that they portrayed."
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