- TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (UPI) -
A series of investigations is underway to determine how Florida's pension
fund became the biggest loser in the failure of Enron Corp., viewed as
the most spectacular financial collapse in the nation's history.
- The state lost $325 million in investments with the firm.
Newspaper investigations produced the disclosure that last spring, Gov.
Jeb Bush, President Bush's younger brother, held a half-hour telephone
conversation with Kenneth Lay, who was then Enron's CEO.
- The office of Democratic Attorney General Bob Butterworth
has been conducting an investigation into the scandal, and a state House
of Representatives committee was set to begin its own hearings Thursday
- Bush had responded to efforts for a meeting by Enron's
Tallahassee lobbyist, Bill Bryant, with an e-mail that said: "I'd
love to meet with Ken."
- Bush and Lay never met in person but talked on the
mostly about energy deregulation as it relates to Florida. The governor
has not mentioned deregulation in public since.
- Documents released this week under freedom of information
statutes give no indication their relationship was close.
- "Enron was the seventh-largest corporation in the
nation. They requested a meeting with the governor. They got a phone
said Katie Baur, a spokeswoman for Bush. "Nothing came of the phone
call. There's no story here."
- A number of news reports showed that Enron, its
and employees contributed about $420,000 to Florida political campaigns
from 1995 to 2001.
- An analysis by the St. Petersburg Times showed that more
than 80 percent of that went to Republicans, including $10,500 directly
to Bush. Some of the contributions to Democrats included Sens. Bob Graham
and Bill Nelson, D-Fla.
- Democrats in Florida want to focus on Alliance Capital
Management Corp., which was contracted by Florida's pension fund. They
said the company continued to invest in Enron even after there were reports
it was in trouble.
- Alliance bought 2.2 million Enron shares after Oct. 22
when it was announced the Securities and Exchange Commission was
- Alliance sold all of the 7.6 million shares it had bought
Nov. 30, two days before Enron declared bankruptcy.
- Democrats point out that one of Alliance's executives,
Frank Savage, was a board member of Enron. Alliance says Savage was not
instrumental in the purchase of the shares.
- The loss was only one-third of 1 percent of the state's
$94 billion pension fund, and officials say no employees or pensioners
will be shortchanged.
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