Best Antidote to Enron - 2002
Back not so long ago, when Ken Lay was God in Houston and Enron was regarded as a collection of corporate geniuses rather than crooks, David Berg helped torpedo a city push to award a billion-dollar wastewater plant contract to an Enron subsidiary. As chairman of the Houston Area Water Commission, the veteran criminal and civil attorney detected a fishy smell coming from the direction of Enron's Smith Street headquarters. The corporation's negotiators had refused to guarantee subsidiary Azurix's billion-dollar debt load, a position Berg found inexplicable if Enron's public financial statement was accurate. As a result, he refused to buckle under pressure from city officials and opposed Azurix's bid. The plant contract went to other bidders, sparing the city embarrassment and expense when Enron collapsed months later after disclosing it had reported a mountain of debt as profits. Too bad hawk-eyed Berg wasn't sitting on the Enron board of directors when members gave the green light for the conduct of officials that brought the company down and gave employees and shareholders a very cold Christmas indeed.