The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Perspective: From the eye of the Enron storm

Not long after I started covering Enron for the Houston Business Journal in 1999, I began hearing intriguing tidbits about what went on inside the gleaming glass tower on Smith Street in downtown Houston. Traders at other energy companies referred to Enron as "the evil empire." The culture was cutthroat, but the rewards for success were huge.

When end-of-the-year bonus time came around, Houston luxury auto dealers prepared to sell lots of shiny new BMWs, Porsches and Jaguars to Enron employees. In early 2001, Enron paid out $750 million in cash bonuses for 2000 — a year in which the company's total net income turned out to be just $975 million.

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