Neal (Business Ethics and Law/Northern Kentucky Univ.) debuts with an investigation into the riches-to-rags career of Dennis Kozlowski, the former CEO of Tyco International who was convicted for grand larceny and other crimes and is still serving an indeterminate sentence in prison.
The narrative features interviews with the principals in the case (which took off following the Enron scandal), including, for the first time, Kozlowski himself, former New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau and members of his prosecution team, and executives from Tyco, and the author raises many questions about the prosecution and its results. Cross-checking her findings with trial transcripts and regulatory filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Neal explores how Kozlowski could have stolen money he appeared to have been entitled to by actions of the corporation's board. She asks whether the DA's office was not as scrupulous in prosecuting as it might have been—e.g., in observing the defendant's rights. She also notes that Kozlowski's associates at Tyco might have been open to indictment for allowing their chief such privileges as his almost open-ended pay agreement. She contends that this affected their role as witnesses for the prosecution. Additionally, Neal points to the role of the press in shaping the climate in which the prosecution unfolded, with lurid stories about Kozlowski's luxurious lifestyle of excess. The evidence on which these questions are based seems to be substantial. Kozlowski, from jail, is able to say that he never had a chance to put up a proper defense and offers, nearly eight years after his conviction (subsequently upheld by higher courts), his claim to innocence. The author's concluding refusal to “assign blame or attribute bad motives” strengthens the questions raised.
A controversial airing of business issues from a decade ago.