So, Bernie Ebbers faces the possibility of spending the rest of his life in the slammer.
May I make a suggestion to the warden? Make sure the former WorldCom CEO is in a private cell with several documents listing the names of people he let down — from employees to shareholders. It doesn’t have to be release publicly. Just release it to Ebbers for some, shall we say, light reading.
It’s hard to believe WorldCom had its humble beginnings in Hattiesburg. And knowing how the scandal turned out, it’s safe to say that’s a part of the Hub City’s history we’d like to erase.
Doug’s Place Flashback: In 1983, two businessmen met at a coffee shop in the ‘Burg discussing plans for a long distance reseller. As they met, a waitress asked her customers if they need more tea. “No,” said one businessman, “but we do need a name for the new company we’re planning.”
After asking what “new company” they were planning, the waitress walked away, gave it some thought and returned with these letters she wrote on a napkin — “LDDC”, for Long Distance Discount Calling. Over time, the C became an S and “Calling” became “Service”. Ebbers, one of LDDS’ investors, became its CEO in 1985.
Ten years later, another name change — WorldCom.
Then, in 2002, this hits the fan.
Now, I can’t understand why the jury took so long to reach its verdict. I’m sure they had their reasons and wanted to be sure they were doing the right thing. But, the more they deliberated, the more I feared Ebbers was going to get away.
Thankfully, the jury bought the feds’ therory that as WorldCom’s head honcho, Ebbers sparked the scandal by insisting to then CFO Scott Sullivan the company has to hit its numbers.
Well, here’s one number I hope Ebbers hits: 85 — as in the maximum number of years he faces in prison.