Kenneth Lay, founder of Enron, died today of a heart attack at his Aspen, Colo., vacation home. He was 64.
The blogosphere's wacko conspiracy theorists are having a field day. Says MamaB's Blog (just one of hundreds): "Funny how he dies right before he's to be sentenced now isn't it? I can betcha this man is not dead and has a new identity. Don't tell me that they can't do this cause they do it everyday for criminals that rat out criminals. So this again shows me this frigging government under the Bushs is the most rotten bullshit in the world. This is the same guy that backed Bush for his elections."
(It's funny how the same people who think George W. Bush is the biggest idiot in the world also think he has planned and executed the most complex conspiracies since Machiavelli.)
But it might surprise you to to learn that because Lay died before he was sentenced, legally it's as if he was never charged at all. Any criminal penalty that might have required him to pay a considerable fine of, say, millions is rendered moot. The government's forfeiture claim against Lay for $43.5 million will be dismissed and even though Lay was convicted of many crimes, the law no longer recognizes that any criminal charges were ever brought against him. He goes to Heaven ... or hell ... with a clean permanent record (although his estate might face plenty of civil lawsuits.)
But I'm just bummed that he still had a vacation home in Aspen. Doesn't seem right, does it? UPDATE 7/6/06: The Denver Post reports today "Lay had sold several properties he owned in Aspen and was staying in a home rented from family friend I.V. Pabst, who also lives on the property. Modest by Aspen standards, the 2,866-square-foot home sits on 37.6 acres and is valued at $431,500 by the Pitkin County tax assessor."