Stooping To Ever-lower Corporate Lows

Only a decade ago, corporate greed was symbolized by the raid-and-loot assaults of junk bond king Michael Milken, who actually did time in the federal pokey for his finagling. Then, five years ago, the standard for corporate greed got uglier, embodied in the cutthroat job-cutting tactics of "Chainsaw Al" Dunlap. Just a year ago, the ethical standard for corporate behavior fell even further, down to the shameless behavior of Ken Lay and the other Enron flim flammers who profiteered at the expense of workers, stockholders, and taxpayers. And just when you thought corporate greed could not get any more slimy ... here comes Dennis Kozlowski rising out of the ooze.

He was the head heavy at Tyco International, the global conglomerate that's now in the financial ditch, thanks to the ineptness and the corporate culture of kleptocracy that were the hallmarks of Kozlowski & Company's managerial reign. There are rampaging street muggers with a greater grasp on ethics than this guy has. He'd steal the nickels off a dead man's eyes.

An internal report from Tyco now reveals that, in addition to all sorts of other chicanery, Kozlowski literally was looting his own company to gild his private nest. For example, with corporate money and without authorization, he bought himself a $30 million home in Boca Raton, Florida; he rented a New York City apartment for $1.3 million a year; he bought a $16.8 million apartment on Fifth Avenue (plus spending $3 million to renovate it and $11 million to furnish it); and he bought a $7 million Park Avenue apartment for his ex-wife.

It gets sleazier. Dennis seems to have a fondness for expensive knickknacks and tacky stuff, so he used Tyco funds to buy a $17,000 traveling toilet box, a $15,000 umbrella stand shaped like a poodle, a $6,300 sewing basket, and a $6,000 shower curtain.

A $6,000 shower curtain? Surely it can't get greedier, slimier, and tackier than this? ... can it?

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