He was lynched
No, that's what Enron's cheated employees
could have done, but didn't.
Ken Lay praised and defended by family and friends
Dignitaries are among more than 1,000 attending
In a memorial service that bounced back and forth from loving salute to spirited defense, former Enron Chairman Ken Lay was remembered Wednesday as a kind and generous man who was unfairly characterized after the company's collapse.
Lay, who died at 64 last week of a heart attack in Colorado, was praised for his deep devotion to his family and respect for all people, whether executives or janitorial staff.
"I am glad to have known Ken Lay and glad that he was willing to reach down and touch people like me," said the Rev. William Lawson, pastor emeritus of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church. "Ken was a rich and powerful man, and he could have limited his association to people who were likewise rich and powerful."
Lawson said Lay helped untold numbers of people with college tuition, medical expenses and other needs.
More than 1,000 mourners gathered at First United Methodist Church, where Lay had been a member. They included friends, former Enron employees and erstwhile dignitaries, including former President George H.W. Bush, former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and ex-Houston Mayor Bob Lanier, who collapsed just before the service began and was taken by ambulance to St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital.
Lawson likened Lay to James Byrd, a black man who was dragged to death in a racially motivated murder near Jasper eight years ago.
"Ken Lay was neither black nor poor, as James Byrd was, but I'm angry because Ken was the victim of a lynching," said Lawson, who predicted that history will vindicate Lay.
His comments, met by hearty applause, referred to Lay's recent federal trial on fraud and conspiracy charges stemming from Enron's unraveling in 2001 and four charges of bank fraud. Lay had planned to appeal his conviction and was awaiting sentencing when he died.
Yeah, Lay was using stolen money for all those kind deeds, a regular Robin Hood. What about the people he ruined with his criminal activity. Vindicated my ass.
I never want to hear another word about criminals getting a party when they get out of jail. If Ken Lay can be called a victim of a lynching, Bobo can have his fried chicken in peace.
posted by Steve @ 11:28:00 AM