NEW YORK – You can run, but you cannot hide, was the message this afternoon from a Senate committee to former Enron CEO Ken Lay, after a weekend of broken promises and new revelations.
For Enron watchers, it was if the Super Bowl had been cancelled. The Senate pulling the plug on hearings after its star witness — Enron's former CEO Ken Lay said he would be staying on the sidelines.
Lay would have been the first Enron executive to talk to Congress. But in the end, Lay apparently decided he couldn't take the heat — leaving Enron employees still groping for answers.
"If it was me, I would have gone ahead and testified and get it over with," said Tom Padgett, former Enron employee.
But new developments may have contributed to Lay's second thoughts. On Saturday, an internal Enron panel issued a scathing report on Enron's executives and its business practices.
"I think that's exactly why they pulled out," said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D. "I mean appearing before a committee under these circumstances is not going to be a walk in the park and I'm sure he would have known that."
Lay's attorney went one step further, charging in a letter to Congress that the, "tenor of the hearing will be prosecutorial."
That said, next time, may be even less cordial. After Lay's decision not to testify, a House committee said it would meet Tuesday to subpoena the former CEO move that will force him to take the Fifth Amendment if he doesn't talk.