Monday AM October 20th, 2008

Former Enron Human Resources Executive Cindy Kay Olson has written her account of the fall of Enron. Ed Mayberry reports.

image of The Whole Truth, So Help Me God: An Enlightened Testimony from Inside Enron's Executive Office book coverCindy Kay Olson is the woman seen in the Enron documentary agreeing with former CEO Jeff Skilling that employees should buy more Enron stock. But she has an issue with the way that comment was edited in the film.

“They take out the part where everybody in the room was laughing, because it was not a serious answer.”

Olson says she wrote The Whole Truth, So Help Me God: An Enlightened Testimony from Inside Enron’s Executive Office because all the other Enron books and movies didn’t get it entirely right, including impressions of Ken Lay.

“They brought out the negative most of the time, but they didn’t bring in the positive. And Ken always said he wanted Enron to be a company that people could use their God-given talents to do more than they ever imagined they could do. And I think that they realized while at Enron, they had more talent than they even thought they did.”

Olson says there were good things about the “Enron culture” that employees carried with them to their next jobs. When she testified at the Enron trial, she says she didn’t get to speak about the good side of Enron.

“Every time I tried to say something positive, they cut me off. So, yeah, it was terrifying. And the first I testified in front of the Senate, I though, you know, they really want to know the truth. But by the time I testified in Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling’s trial, it was a joke. They didn’t really want to know the truth.”

Olson empathizes with the 4,500 people who lost their jobs, and with the families of those affected by today’s headlines from Lehman Brothers, for example. But there’s still fallout from Enron’s collapse.

“We seen Linda Lay quite frequently and she’s still dealing, of course, with many of the lawsuits, and I have friends that are serving prison time. So even though it was seven years ago, it’s just, you know, continued. So it doesn’t seem that long ago.”

Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.