July 6, 2006
Bush: Lay was generous, but betrayed trust
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush on Thursday called
convicted Enron Corp. founder Ken Lay, who died this week, a
"generous person," but said he had betrayed the trust of
Lay died of heart disease on Wednesday while on vacation in
Colorado, six weeks after being convicted of fraud and
conspiracy in the financial scandal that brought down the
Lay, a former confidant of Bush's father, and called "Kenny
boy" by the current president, was once a major contributor to
the Bushes' political campaigns.
Bush, speaking in an interview with CNN's "Larry King
Live," said he knew Lay "pretty well" and called him a "good
guy" he had gotten to know while governor of Texas.
"One of the things I respected him for was he was such a
contributor to Houston's civil society. He was a generous
person," Bush said. "I'm disappointed that he betrayed the
trust of shareholders."
The president said he had not contacted Lay's wife yet, but
planned to write her a letter.
Lay, 64, was facing decades in prison in connection with
Enron's 2001 bankruptcy. Lay and another former Enron chief
executive, Jeffrey Skilling, were found guilty of hiding the
financial ruin at Enron, which they had built into the seventh
largest company in the United States.