News & Politics

Fun Facts for the Dog Days of Summer

Take this Labor Day quiz to test your knowledge of the recent gang of crooked CEOs.
The dog days are here. Counting down to Labor Day, the most depressing holiday of the year, summer is gasping its last as our kids squeeze their last few droplets of fun from the withered husk. With the Dog Star, Sirius, looking down on these rituals, I thought I'd offer up a Labor Day quiz, to take your mind off all the serious things we have to confront in five, four, three, two, good lord, just one day. You can read it aloud on your final visit to the beach, play for money around the barbeque, or use it to keep the designated driver alert on the way home. Of course, you can always wrap the catch of the day in it, if you prefer. Do with it what you will -- it's still a free country.

1. Which of the following statements is true?

A. George W. Bush has been arrested four times.
B. George W. Bush is the first president with an MBA.

(Answer. "B." Bush has only been arrested three times. Once for drunk driving in 1976, and twice while a student at Yale -- for ripping down the goal posts after a Princeton/Yale game and for stealing a Christmas wreath from a hotel. He managed to avoid arrest at Harvard Business School from which he graduated in 1975.)

2. Which jobs did Bernie Ebbers have prior to becoming CEO of WorldCom?

A. Gym teacher, milkman and bar bouncer.
B. Bookkeeper, shoe-shine stand operator and paper cutter.

(Answer "A." Bookkeeper, shoe-shine operator and paper cutter were all jobs held by Al Capone.)

3. True or False. In the mid-90s, indicted former CEO John Rigas put his home phone number on Adelphia's cable bills.

(Answer: True. It is not true, however, that he asked customers to check a box on their bill if they'd like to donate one dollar to the "John Rigas Bail Fund.")

4. Which of the following is a job previously held by Martha Stewart?

A. Cancer drug developer
B. Stockbroker
C. Bail bondsman

(Answer "B." Bail bondsman is probably the most recent addition to her Palm Pilot. As for cancer drug developer, I'm sure she wishes she'd never met one.)

5. Which of the following are true of former Tyco CEO, Dennis Kozlowski?

A. In 2002, he was arrested and charged with evading millions of dollars in tax on art purchases he made.
B. In 2002, he was named Florida Atlantic University's Business Leader of the Year.

(They're both true. And, in a speech to the graduating class at St. Anselm's College in New Hampshire, also in 2002, he said, "You will be confronted with questions every day that test your morals. Think carefully, and for your sake, do the right thing, not the easy thing.")

6. Which of the following are actual suggestions made by former WorldCom CEO Bernie Ebbers to save money at the company's headquarters?

A. Lower the thermostats.
B. Let office plants die to save on water.
C. Count coffee bags to make sure they aren't stolen.
D. Switch to AT&T for long distance service.

(The answers are "A" "B" and "C." It is not true that to stay warm, Ebbers asked employees to snuggle by the space heaters on especially cold days.)

7. Why did John Rigas refuse to carry porn films on his cable systems?

A. It offended his sense of morality.
B. Securing broadcast rights was too convoluted.
C. He was reserving the channel space for family programming.

(Answer: "A." Stealing $3.1 billion from Adelphia shareholders, however, didn't weigh on his conscience one bit.)

8. True or False. According to USA Today, 82 percent of 401 high ranking corporate executives admit to being less than honest on the golf course.

(Answer: "True." And the other 18 percent were probably lying to the person taking the poll.)

9. What percentage of the Fortune 1000 is managed by female CEOs?

A. 5 percent
B. 9 percent
C. 1 percent

(Answer "C." There are only 11 women CEOs. And none of them has been indicted in the recent spate of accounting scandals. Not even Martha... yet.)

10. Which of the following homes is owned by indicted former Tyco CEO, Dennis Kozlowski?

A. $13.5 million, 15,000 square-foot Mediterranean-style, water front estate with boat dock, elevator, pool, cabana, tennis court and fountain.
B. An $18 million, 13 room 5th Avenue apartment featuring art work by Monet and Renoir and a $6,000 gold shower curtain.
C. A $5 million coastal Nantucket mansion with a three-bedroom guest house, in-home chef and boat dock.
D. An $8.5 million, 7,800 square-foot Colorado estate on nearly three acres with eight bedrooms and ten bathrooms.

(Answer: ALL of them are owned by Dennis Kozlowski. And he owns four others, too. His eight houses are valued in the neighborhood of $54 million. Although, if the Manhattan DA gets his way, Kozlowski's next home will be 8x10, with a toilet, bed and sink all in the same room.)
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