The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week
1. Borrowin' Bernie Strikes AgainBernie Ebbers wants more money from MCI (MCIP).
Yes, we know. Dog bites man.
Ebbers, of course, was the CEO on whose watch some person or persons at MCI -- then known as WorldCom -- committed an $11 billion accounting fraud. Whether Ebbers himself is one of those fraudsters is slated to be decided in a trial starting next month.
What is more certainly known is that Bernie had a particular talent for enjoying WorldCom's largesse when most employees couldn't. He did, after all, borrow more than $400 million from WorldCom in low-interest loans at a time when the company cut back on free office coffee. And when WorldCom went bankrupt, thanks to the downward spiral in which Ebbers led it -- well, employees lost upwards of $1 billion in retirement savings.
But when Bloomberg reported Tuesday that Ebbers wants MCI to pay his legal bills -- up to $2 million and counting -- were we outraged at his chutzpah?
Nah. However his trial turns out, Ebbers is way in the hole and he isn't coming out. To cut off his money right now is like refusing the proverbial last cigarette to a man facing a firing squad, on the grounds that he really should quit smoking.
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