An Enron Hero -- with a Smoking-Gun Letter

Sherron Watkins' memo to CEO Ken Lay spoke volumes about the company's behavior. So did the higher-ups' tepid response

At last, someone in the sordid Enron scandal seems to have done the right thing. Thanks to whistle-blower Sherron S. Watkins, a no-nonsense Enron vice-president, the scope and audacity of the accounting mess is becoming all too clear. Her blunt Aug. 15 letter to Enron CEO Kenneth L. Lay warns that the company might "implode in a wave of accounting scandals." And now that her worst fears have been realized, it is also clear that Watkins' letter went far beyond highlighting a few accounting problems in a handful of off-balance-sheet partnerships. Watkins' letter lays bare for all to see the underbelly of Enron's get-rich-quick culture.

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