ENRON: The Untold Story
February 15, 2001
The Enron Corporation was a "sin city" of greed, adultery and corruption, where top executives lived the high life - and ordinary investors lost their shirts.
And The Enquirer has learned exclusively that the company secretly employed CIA agents to carry out its nefarious dealings!
"It was all sex, power and booze at the top," a former Enron employee declared.
An Enquirer investigation has revealed:
* Enron executives frequented several Houston strip clubs and billed thousands of dollars directly to the company - including the tab for VIP rooms where sexual favors were dispensed to big spenders.
* Enron-sponsored parties would often spiral out of control with senior officials' bar tabs skyrocketing to over $10,000.
*Kegs of beer were brought into Enron offices and employees drank excessively while at work.
* Divorce rates among senior Enron officials were high and adulterous romances were widespread among employees- including attractive young women who rose through the ranks thanks to their connections with top execs.
"Enron was completely scandalous," former employee Janice Hollaway told the Enquirer. "The place was full of arrogance, superegos and betrayal!"
Enron's high flying style of business came to a crash in October when it was discovered the company had covered up huge debts. The company's collapse led to the layoff of 4000 employees, who lost not only their jobs but also their retirement savings - as did millions of ordinary investors. The company's debacle has shaken America's economy and thousands of American's have been ripped off.
The massive losses were fueled in part by free spending executives who used investors' funds for sex and booze, insiders reveal. Sources at the Houston strip club Treasures told the Enquirer that Enron executives would often ring up thousands of dollars on private dances and expensive champagne.
"Whenever guys from Enron came into the club they bragged about who they worked for and the girls would flock to the tables knowing they'd be tipped extremely well," a dancer who has worked at Treasures for three years disclosed.
"Typically a group of five or six would come in for lunch, drink a few martinis and get private-lap dances from the girls. They always paid their bill with credit cards that clearly said 'Enron' on them.
"Most of the guys were real hounds. They handed out their business cards and encouraged the girls to call them. Most of these guys wore wedding rings, too.
"They would push it pretty far with the girls. They got away with a lot more physical contact than most customers because they were such big tippers. They couldn't keep their hands off the girls."
Enron employees were also known to spend thousands of dollars in the club's exclusive VIP room, the dancer told the Enquirer.
"In the VIP room it costs $200 just to get one table and sometimes these guys would get three or four tables.
"Anything goes in the VIP room. It isn't uncommon for the girls to provide sexual favors for big spenders. And a lot of these middle aged executives were some of the biggest spenders in the club."
Enron-sponsored parties often turned into raucous all-night drinking fests. At one bash, company officials even shelled out money to bring in an elephant!
"There was a party at the Houston restaurant Teala's that was completely out of control," said the former employee.
"Over 300 employees showed up and the place went totally wild. Enron even hired a scantily clad girl to dance around with bottles of alcohol that she poured down the throats of employees.
"After she poured the alcohol in their mouth she would put a pair of women's underwear on their heads and press her breasts into their face and shake her breasts around!"
Teala's general manager Gustavo Torres told the Enquirer: "The Enron guys that night went totally out of control. It seemed more like a fraternity party than a corporate sponsored event. You would have never thought these people were professional businessmen and women.
"It was obvious they were there to get plastered. Guys and girls were dancing on tables and on the stairway. It was six hours of straight drinking. People were stumbling in and out of the place all night!"
Enron officials also drank in the company's building during the day - and in one instance in October 2001, "Enron employees wheeled kegs of beer right into the trading room floor during business hours," an ex-staffer revealed.
"Here we were running one of the largest companies in the world, and our traders and executives were getting drunk in the office. It was total debauchery!"
Senior Enron officials often drank at Nifa's Mexican restaurant across the street from the company's headquarters, Nifa's manager Silvia Schroedar told the Enquirer.
"Enron employees used to come in here all the time on their lunch breaks and put back three or four margaritas. One time they even ordered a $3000 buffet and we delivered wine, beer and margaritas directly to the office building."
In a detailed five-page e-mail sent to the Enquirer, a group of management-level former employees knowledgeable about the inner workings of Enron claimed:
* One top executive brought three strippers into his office one night after business hours. They were caught on a security camera - but he got off with a slap on the wrist.
* Another top man at Enron was engaged to his secretary - but having sex on the side with one of his executives.
* Even in a company where beautiful women were routinely on a fast track to promotion, one executive secretary's $650,000 salary raised eyebrows.
"Talk about the extra-marital lives of the executives and their staff was rampant," another former employee said.
"Every week you would hear about a certain executive getting a divorce, or that so and so was sleeping with his secretary.
"These executives would spend more time with the secretaries and administrative assistants than they would with their wives."
An inside source disclosed:
"As soon as and attractive girl moved up to the executive suites, people started laying bets on how long it would be before she started dating her married boss.
"Many of the girls were young and impressionable and they were easy prey for older men who flaunted their wealth and power and thought of illicit sex as their right.
"One top executive was having affairs simultaneously with his secretary and a hard driving woman executive.
"Everyone thought another boss was a happily married man - until a beautiful new secretary started working in the building. He made a shameless beeline for her; pursuing her with flowers and gifts."
Said an Enron insider: "You could watch the relationships grow between some upper level management and much younger attractive girls.
"And soon enough, these women would be moved up the corporate ladder past older; more qualified employees. It was easy for pretty young girls to flirt their way into cushy positions.
"The executive suites on the 49th and 50th floor of the company's headquarters were known as the 'Bachelor pads' among employees. Even though most of the higher-ups were married men, the attractive young secretaries up there made it seem like a bachelor's dream."
Former Enron graphic designer Chris Miller told the Enquirer details of the greed that was ingrained at Enron: "The 50th floor seemed like 'Star Trek' to me. They had a gigantic brass telescope where they could look out at the city. They also had flat-screen televisions and all the bells and whistles you could imagine. It didn't seem like an office, it seemed more like a futuristic dream home.
"Some offices were filled with $75,000 paintings. There were catered lunches and anything they needed right up there at their fingertips."
It wasn't just the male Enron executives who led robust lifestyles. Enron director Rebecca Mark - who has been called one of the most powerful businesswomen in the world - was known as much for her wild streak as for the cutthroat business attitude that earned her the nickname "Mark the Shark." She arrived at one company party on the back of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle - dressed as a biker girl!
"Rebecca totally adhered to the 'work hard, play hard' motto at Enron," said the ex-staffer. "While at work she was all business, but at parties and Enron events she really let her hair down."
An inside source told the Enquirer: "It was all about money, money, money. Greed, sex and power were what motivated everyone at the top.
"It seemed like everyone was getting a promotion. Some traders earned bonuses as high as $300,000, and you knew when they'd been handed out because new Porsches and BMWs started rolling into the staff parking lot."
Former executive Jeffrey Skilling earned more than $30 million from sales of Enron stock in the year 2001. And chairman Kenneth Lay, a former Pentagon economist, raked in $100.3 million before the company crashed and ordinary investors- including pension funds- were socked with huge losses.
But the corruption at Enron went far beyond unbridled greed and rampant sex- it also involved international espionage and electronic spy warfare, the Enquirer has learned.
"No one cared about morals at Enron, at least not at the upper levels. It was an 'anything goes' atmosphere and they got the help of the US government along the way," said a top Washington insider familiar with several secret investigations into the company.
"There have been at least 20 CIA agents on the payroll of Enron in the past eight years. They were given leaves of absence without pay and put on the Enron payroll.
"They trained Enron employees in intelligence gathering and security and also worked in other corporate capacities around the globe. It was through intelligence gathering that Enron was able to get billions of dollars in lucrative contracts in Asia, South America and Europe.
"Basically what the CIA operatives were able to provide was detailed information on bids made by foreign companies on projects of interest to Enron. "They used human intelligence and also info gleaned from a satellite project called 'Echelon.' The satellites intercepted e-mails, phone calls and faxes with detailed business information.
"With this information, Enron was able to put pressure on foreign governments through powerful figures in the U.S. government. Enron could easily go to a local authority in, for example, Saudi Arabia or India, and say, 'Our government is not going to be happy with you unless Enron gets the contract.' "
Amnesty International cited Enron for engaging in human rights violations and conducting illegal payoffs to police and mid-level officials in India to put down protests over its construction of a $2.8 billion power plant in Dabhol.
"It was CIA trained employees and CIA insider information that made it possible for Enron to force its will on the citizens of Dabhol," said a retired CIA operative.
The opposition to Enron's CIA tactics at Dabhol became so critical last August that Vice President Dick Cheney implored Indian government officials to support the completion of Enron's project.
The Washington insider disclosed: "Using the CIA for economic intelligence began with President George Bush Sr. and then exploded under President Clinton, when even the Commerce Department was infiltrated by CIA agents.
"Pure and simple, U.S. intelligence agents were involved in corporate espionage."
A source with ties to the CIA revealed: "The cozy deal between Enron and the CIA allowed the 'on loan' undercover operatives to return to the Agency's payroll before Enron's collapse."
Agents believe that foreign agents were also at work in Enron, the Washington insider added.
"What has the Justice Department investigators upset now is that a rogue CIA agent may have been compromised by a foreign nation. The money-hungry atmosphere at Enron left many vulnerable to blackmail.
"We know that there are intelligence agents from at least three European countries - France, Germany and Italy - who are currently very interested in the Enron probes. This thing has the potential of being the biggest scandal ever!"
And what makes the scandal most outrageous is the suffering it's caused rank and file employees and investors who were wiped out by the company's collapse.
Many former employees were enraged when Enron founder Lay's wife went on TV and said she and her husband were close to bankruptcy.
"When she cried, I cried - with anger!" one former worker declared.
"They've got palatial homes all over the place and maybe they'll have to sell a few. But how dare she plead poverty when so many employees are starting to wonder where their next meal and the mortgage money is coming from!"
- Kevin Lynch, Michael Hanrahan and David Wright