April 10, 2004

Report: Ex-Enron CEO Hospitalized for "Bizarre Behavior"

NYPD Cites Sincere Apologies for Stock Losses
Among Reasons for Detaining Skilling

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City Man: Skilling Gave Newsboy Half Crown
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by HARRIS SCHWED
Financial Rant

NEW YORK -- FORMER ENRON CHIEF EXECUTIVE Jeffrey Skilling was taken to hospital after performing what Manhattan residents called "bizarre" and "unusual" acts of common decency, the Financial Rant can reveal.

Skilling, whom police found at 4 a.m. Friday in the intersection of Park Avenue and East 73rd Street, was taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital for observation following an alleged spree of niceties in Manhattan, authorities said. Skilling -- who faces a litany of charges for alleged fraud and insider trading, among other things -- was reportedly acting so out of his element that police and citizens feared for his health.

"I couldn't believe it. Here I am, walking towards the subway, and all of a sudden Jeff Skilling pops out of nowhere and starts buying the bums pizza," said 38-year-old Brian Kennett, of Manhattan. "He must have bought pies for -- God, at least fifty of them."

"Then, after that," continued Kennett, "I saw Skilling pay for a couple's cab fare home, stop traffic to let an elderly lady safely cross the avenue, and give a newsboy just starting his route a half-crown."

"This city's too weird for me," Kennett added. "I've got to get back to Peoria."

But Kennett was not the only eyewitness to Skilling's reported good streak. Jack O. McArgyle, a 61-year-old human resources administrator from Islip, said he spoke to Skilling as the disgraced ex-CEO retrieved a cat stuck in a tree.

"I was stunned," said McArgyle, who lost approximately 20 percent of his retirement savings when Enron's stock fell from $81 to just pennies per share. "So I went over and said hello to Mr Skilling, informing him that I wished he would contract bubonic plague. Also, I told him I wanted a pack of wild dogs to chase his sore-ridden, festering person through the streets."

"And he apologized," a shaken McArgyle said. "He said things seemed to be going fine and then they just got out of hand. Then he gave me $50 to get a bottle of wine, as sort of a little way to make up for it."

McArgyle added that he now only wished Skilling would contract "diphtheria and the whooping cough."

According to McArgyle and other stunned onlookers, after Skilling freed the cat, Skilling also let a squeegee guy wash his car's windshield without complaining, used a coat-hanger to unlock a door for a hapless motorist, and put $100 bills into the baskets of every street musician, soapbox preacher and charity solicitor within a three-block radius.

An NYPD official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the apologies about the losses were one reason why authorities took Skilling into protective custody.

"It just didn't make sense," the official said.

"This is certainly not the type of behavior one expects from a disgraced former Enron executive," confirmed city psychologist P. Nelson Crabb. "Usually, such people do their best to hide from the glaring eyes of the world, all while spending their cash reserves on a high-priced legal defense team."

"Clearly, Mr Skilling is under a great deal of stress," Crabb continued. "However, I am confident that after a few days of solid bed rest and proper meals, Mr Skilling will return to normality soon enough."

However, not everyone was a fan of Skilling's sudden generosity.

"So Jeff Skilling thinks he can simply skip along without a care in the world, handing money out to folks on the street?" asked Marvin G. Upshotte, a Bend, Ore.-based securities litigator.

"The hell he can," Upshotte continued. "And it's not going to save him anyway, that's for sure; he's up against half the securities lawyers in America. When they're through with him, he'll be damned lucky if he's got a pair of cuff links left, to say nothing of anything convertible into cash."

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at April 10, 2004 02:10 AM | TrackBack