Mark Cuban Goes 'On the Record'

This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," May 19, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: We know Mark Cuban is the outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks and tonight he's taking on a whole new industry and a major scandal with an innovative new project.

Mark Cuban joins us from Dallas, welcome Mark.

MARK CUBAN, DALLAS MAVERICKS OWNER: Thanks, Greta, how are you?

VAN SUSTEREN: Very well. All right, Mark, your new movie that you are producing "Enron the Smartest Guys in the Room," tell us what it's about.

CUBAN: Well, it's about the Enron scandal. As we all know, it didn't end very well for the employees and shareholders of Enron. And so we hooked up with Alex Gibney, who put together just an amazing interpretation of the book "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room."

Even though it's a documentary watching it, it feels like you're watching a slasher flick. It takes on the people. It takes on some of the misrepresentations and basically just tells the story in a way that makes you come out of the film feeling like you've just seen a horror movie. It's just an amazing, amazing documentary.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is it an economic or a financial rape of the shareholders and the employees?

CUBAN: Well, I guess, you know, you could take it from both sides but it's hard to say that it wasn't. I mean, you know, Ken Lay will stand out there and say he didn't know what was going on but the people that worked around him definitely knew exactly what was going on.

There was so much self-dealing. They were selling their shares of stock. They were telling people not to sell their shares of stock, their employees, other shareholders not to sell their shares of stock.

When the one guy on Wall Street who came out and said, "Look, this is a black box and I can't seem to make any sense of it," you know, called them on it, they started calling him names. When Bethany started writing an article about them and questioning them again they started going after her and attacking her credibility.

So, when you start doing those types of things, when you start fighting back against someone who is questioning you, you know exactly what you're doing, so I think unquestionably it was a rape of the shareholders and, you know, secondarily a rape of the employees.

VAN SUSTEREN: So, this wasn't simply bad business, bad luck, bad economic times?


VAN SUSTEREN: In your view, your documentary this is deceit. So, who are the, for lack of better words, who are the bad guys in this?

CUBAN: Well, I mean there's no question Jeff Skilling and Fastow and, you know, there are some people that would say that Ken Lay was and some that would say he was not and I'm going to let the courts decide that.

But when you go down the list of people that were involved, I mean somebody could have shouted that there's a fire in the theater and nobody did and unfortunately that meant that everybody just believed.

You know, it's something that happens in corporate America where people just look and say, "Well, you know, Wall Street thinks it's OK. Look at the share price. And if Wall Street thinks it's OK, even though I might think, you know, something's not quite right, I must be wrong" and that just permeates throughout an entire organization and that's what happened with Enron.

It started at the top. People trusted the people at the top and this documentary goes point by point of how the people just lied and the people underneath them just followed blindly.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, it's playing across the country in many theaters but do you think that this should be played in graduate business schools to the students that are going to be going out in the business world?

CUBAN: No question about it and we're actually putting together a package that will allow that to happen where Peter Elkind and Bethany McLean and potentially Alex Gibney will be able to go or myself be able to go to different business schools and show the movie and talk to the kids because it's so easy to fall into the trap.

I mean I've seen it happen other places, other times, because there's so much money. People start justifying it in their mind that well, you know, I might — I'll make $20 million, so if I go to jail for a year it's worth it.

And I think this movie has to be shown to college kids and graduate students to let them know that there is a price to be paid and there's a right way to do business and a wrong way to do business and watching this movie really demonstrates the difference.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, we only have 30 seconds left. Do most people walk away from this movie mad?

CUBAN: Oh, yes. You know, when I watched it and I just listened outside in the lobbies people, you know, going in didn't really know the emotional attachment that they would feel to the people who basically got robbed. When you walk out of that theater, like I said, you're going to feel not only made, you're going to feel like there's just a knot in your stomach that how could this happen and could it happen again? And that will definitely make you mad.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. The movie is just out "Enron, the Smartest Guys in the Room." Mark Cuban always nice to see you, Mark, thank you.

CUBAN: Thanks. Thanks, Greta.

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