- John O'Neill - Enron Connection
Thu Nov 11, 2004 16:41
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Alberto Gonzalez - John O'Neill - Enron Connection
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 13:13:44 -0700
White House counsel formerly worked at Vinson & Elkins, the Houston law firm
that represented Enron and signed off on accounting schemes.
George H.W. Bush
Former president, longtime friend of Lay, was key fund raiser and in 2000 went
to a baseball game with Enron chief and future president. Lay slept over at Bush
Texas law firm linked to Enron
Published Monday, January 28, 2002
HOUSTON (AP) - Vinson & Elkins’ reputation took 80 years to polish and one
client to smudge.
The largest law firm in Houston and the most profitable in Texas, Vinson &
Elkins has been stung by accusations it showed poor judgment - or worse - in
work for Enron Corp.
An Enron insider claims Vinson & Elkins blessed partnership deals that hid the
energy company’s shaky financial situation until it collapsed into bankruptcy.
Outside lawyers say the firm violated ethical standards by reviewing the
accusations itself instead of demanding an impartial, outside review. It has
worked for Enron since the energy company’s founding in the mid-1980s, and Enron
is its biggest client, accounting for $35 million of its $450 million in
billings last year.
Vinson & Elkins’ work for Enron might not have attracted much attention but for
an Enron executive’s letter written in August to Chairman Kenneth Lay.
The executive, Sherron Watkins, fretted that Enron could "implode in a wave of
accounting scandals" and urged the company to hire a law firm to investigate
murky accounting and partnership deals that helped keep billions in debt off
"Can’t use V&E due to conflict - they provided some true sale opinions on some
of the deals," Watkins wrote. Lawyers write true sale opinions on the legality
Enron ignored Watkins’ plea and turned back to Vinson & Elkins. In October,
partner Max Hendrick wrote to Enron’s general counsel James Derrick, a former
Vinson & Elkins partner, that Watkins’ charges could prove embarrassing but
merited no further investigation.
Lawyers who specialize in suing other lawyers say Vinson & Elkins left itself
open to attack by angry shareholders and ex-employees by not insisting another
firm be hired to investigate Watkins’ claims.
"When you’ve got someone asking you to review your own conduct, there’s a bias,"
said Sean Jez, who represents shareholders suing Enron officers and directors.
Legal malpractice specialist Valorie Davenport said big law firms fight over
clients Enron’s size and tend to gloss over problems to get and keep that
Vinson & Elkins won’t say what role it played in approving the controversial
Watkins doesn’t have documentary proof, but "reliable sources communicated to
her that the work was done," said her lawyer, Philip Hilder.
A spokesman for Vinson & Elkins, Joe Householder, said the firm couldn’t discuss
its work for Enron because it still represents the company.
"We are fully confident that everything we’ve done for Enron is to the highest
professional and ethical standards," he said.
Founded in 1917, the firm specialized in working with banks to provide legal
advice and financing to Texas’ then-young oil industry, and it grew rapidly as
the energy sector boomed.
"They did very good work, much of it humdrum work like checking land titles,
attention to detail," said Harold Hyman, a retired Rice University history
professor who wrote a book about the firm.
Vinson & Elkins partners, who once included former Texas Gov. John Connally,
But the firm also developed a progressive reputation for doing pro bono work on
civil liberties cases and for hiring female, black and Jewish partners in the
1970s, before many other Texas law firms did.
The law firm has forged close ties with many Texas politicians, especially
President George W. Bush.
Two of its partners and a third who recently left were among the "pioneers" who
raised at least $100,000 for Bush’s presidential campaign.
White House counsel Alberto Gonzalez - sometimes mentioned as a possible Bush
nominee to the Supreme Court - is a former Vinson & Elkins attorney.
Copyright 2002 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be
published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
ENRON'S SHADOW GOVERNMENT .pdf file
Alberto Gonzalez wrote a decision soon after his appointment to the Texas court
which made it all but impossible for citizens to bring class actions. 'The
result,' says Shawn Isbell, a lawyer working on environmental cases, 'is that it
will simply be too expensive to bring cases against the corporations.'
FYI - John O'Neill is the guy Chuck Colson of the Nixon administration
recruited to counter Kerry's appearance before the Senate. John O'Neill is
also in tight with the Houston lawyer crowd - practiced at Vinson and Elkins
with Alberto Gonzalez (Rice grad and current White House Counsel). Vinson
and Elkins were high dollar supporters of Bush-2000, ranking just under
'Mexican' to Take Over U.S. Law Enforcement
American Border Patrol, Thu Nov 11 20:15
Spanish Inquisition!! Leon Kilkenny, Thu Nov 11 21:43
Stop Alberto Gonzales! CCFL, Thu Nov 11 16:45
Main Page - 11/11/04
Message Board by American
Patriot Friends Network [APFN]