By Rebecca Smith, John R. Emshwiller
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Extra info for 24 Days: How Two Wall Street Journal Reporters Uncovered the Lies that Destroyed Faith in Corporate America (2003-2004)
But after checking with others at the company, he said that he came to believe that Skilling had experienced some sort of epiphany. “He wants to spend more time with his three kids. He is divorced and they are teenagers. If he doesn’t spend time with them now, he worries that they will be grown up and be gone,” said Palmer. Plus, he’d heard that there might be a particular family problem that had to be addressed quickly, though he couldn’t say for sure. ” Emshwiller asked. “Don’t know,” said Palmer.
Merrill also noted that both Olson and Eassey put “accumulate” ratings on Enron at the end of 1998. Eassey later raised his rating to “strong buy,” a Merrill spokesman said. ” Eassey lowered Enron to “neutral” after Skilling quit. In that ﬁrst interview with Emshwiller in August 2001, Olson pointed out that for all the excitement Enron had created in the marketplace, it simply wasn’t all that proﬁtable. In 2000, Enron reported a little under $1 billion in net income, a scant 1 percent of its $100 Red Sky Warning 37 billion of sales.
Atop a bookcase stood a whiskey decanter in the form of a pink-jacketed Elvis. “We need a second-day story on Skilling’s departure,” Friedland said, slouching his compact frame back in his swivel chair and chewing determinedly on nicotine-laced gum that he still used regularly to keep away the cigarette cravings. Emshwiller nodded as he leaned back into the couch, chewing away on his own cigarette substitute, a piece of sugarless bubble gum. He realized that somebody needed to chase the Skilling story, but he wasn’t wild about getting the assignment.
24 Days: How Two Wall Street Journal Reporters Uncovered the Lies that Destroyed Faith in Corporate America (2003-2004) by Rebecca Smith, John R. Emshwiller