Jewish World Review Jan. 15, 2002 / 31 Teves, 5762
"I would have to put John Dillinger ahead of them," said Clark Trimble, Professor of Criminology at the University of Minnesota, referring to the legendary gangland baddie.
Even though Enron executives cashed in their stock and left thousands of small investors with staggering losses, Professor Trimble insists that they were not as bad as Dillinger.
"Dillinger shot and killed a lot of people, and Enron, to our knowledge, did not do that," Trimble said.
Dr. Trimble is also unfazed by the revelations that Kenneth L. Ray, the chairman of Enron and a big contributor to the Bush campaign, contacted cabinet officers to ask for a bailout in the days before Enron's collapse.
"Al Capone did worse stuff than that," Trimble said. "Believe me -- much, much worse."
"Plus, there's Jesse James, who shot and killed a lot of people with a six-shooter," Trimble went on. "You can't compare trying to get favors from the White House to killing people with a six-shooter, badness-wise."
With Dillinger, Capone, and Jesse James all ranking higher on the list of crooks than Enron, the energy giant's executives could be no worse than the fourth-biggest crooks in history, Trimble says.
"So they're really not so bad, when you stop to think about it," Trimble said.
Trimble was then asked to comment on new revelations that Enron's auditors destroyed many company documents and communications as the probe of the energy giant began.
"They did that?" Trimble said. "Yikes."
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