Former Enron employee Matt Mitchell is selling one of his two copies of a broadband risk management manual used by the former energy giant, which contains tips on increasing creditworthiness and timing of reported earnings. It is among the priciest of more than 100 Enron-related items for sale in eBay auctions.
"It's not entirely deceptive, but it isn't showing what's actually happening," Mitchell said Tuesday of risk management techniques employees learned from the manual, which he hopes to sell for at least $150. The auction ends Friday.
Other items for sale on the site range from freebies that Enron gave employees, such as golf balls, baseball hats and paperweights with the company logo.
Enron spokeswoman Karen Denne said former employees can sell Enron artifacts with the company's blessing.
"The whole situation is unfortunate, and we've always had resourceful, innovative employees. This is just the latest demonstration," she said.
Mitchell found another job for less pay with a small software company in Houston in September and watched his former employer implode in a whirlwind of questionable accounting practices, deflated shares and erosion of investor and trader confidence. Stock that traded near $80 a year ago was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, having stagnated at less than $1 for weeks.
Mitchell said he thought the risk management manual might generat a snicker or two and pique interest from some bidders. He said risk management techniques used for energy and electricity trading were tweaked to apply to broadband in the manuals.
"This was just old information rewritten," Mitchell said. "It does not go into specific laws about what you can do with taxes and ownership, but there are cases of where it focuses on what you can do and accepted accounting practices that are allowed."
For example, the manual said companies can re-categorize expenses "in such a manner as to improve the perceived financial performance."
Mitchell said layoffs were common for broadband employees working for an unprofitable venture, but they benefited from the company's severance plan.
Those laid off after the bankruptcy filing received $4,500 each, as approved by a U.S. bankruptcy judge in New York. Mitchell received nearly $40,000 as entitled under company policy, as did others laid off before Enron's demise.
"I was one of the lucky ones," Mitchell said. "I was lucky enough to get another job, with a substantial pay cut, in September. I feel worse for all my co-workers, who had no notice whatsoever and no idea it was coming."
By Kristen Hays © MMII The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed