But wait. There's more. In yet another example of the cowboy culture that ran roughshod over the company formerly known as WorldCom, a former top executive made tens of thousands of dollars renting out his Texas ranch to the now bankrupt telco for company meetings, TheStreet.com has learned. Though it's not illegal for a high-level executive to do business with his company, the executive -- onetime Chief Operating Officer Ron Beaumont -- was yet another WorldCom honcho who apparently broke free of the usual restraints on executives at publicly traded companies. WorldCom -- now known as MCI -- never publicly reported any related-party payments it made to Beaumont's Ranch. Additionally, Beaumont's wife, Linda, wielded her husband's authority to pressure WorldCom into paying a charge that was more than reasonable and customary, says a former WorldCom employee. Finally, Beaumont -- who at the time headed WorldCom's operations and technology unit, before later becoming COO -- didn't limit his ranch's telecom-industry guest list to WorldCom. The executive, then the ultimate authority for WorldCom's purchases of telecom gear, rented out his ranch to at least one telecom equipment supplier seeking to do business with WorldCom. Granted, this week has already delivered a vivid portrait of management run amok at WorldCom, with two lengthy reports alleging an $11 billion accounting fraud, insufficiently diligent due diligence, an idiosyncratic compensation system, a flock of sheeplike directors and executive loans gone wild. But the tale of Ron Beaumont, his ranch and WorldCom -- which last year became the nation's largest-ever Chapter 11 case -- provides an additional illustration of how questionable corporate practices rarely spring up out of nowhere. "Even in highly decentralized companies, where shenanigans have been found in one part, often shenanigans are found throughout other parts of the organization," says Thomas Donaldson, a professor who teaches business ethics at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business. Emphasizing that he is speaking generally and not about the specific allegations at WorldCom, Donaldson says, "It's as if the whole way of approaching business has silently spread itself throughout the habits of the organization."