Ex Enron Vice Chair Commits Suicide
January 25, 2002 9:11 AM   Subscribe

Ex Enron Vice Chair Commits Suicide J. Clifford Baxter was found dead in his car in a Houston suburb Firday. Texas police said the cause of death was suicide.
posted by Lanternjmk (40 comments total)
posted by lescour at 9:14 AM on January 25, 2002

That was a remarkably quick investigation.
posted by sudama at 9:17 AM on January 25, 2002

I was this close to posting this...
posted by adampsyche at 9:18 AM on January 25, 2002

He resigned in May. He sold 577,436 shares for $35.2million profit.
posted by owillis at 9:21 AM on January 25, 2002

Will he become the GOP's Vince Foster?
posted by thebigpoop at 9:24 AM on January 25, 2002

Where was Laura when this happened?
posted by Holden at 9:26 AM on January 25, 2002

Add him to the Bush Body Count. (no doubt as accurate as Clinton's)
posted by owillis at 9:30 AM on January 25, 2002

How do you think he makes the American Justice system look if he kills himself before he gets a slap on the wrist because he is rich? Damn silly, that's how.
posted by benjh at 9:30 AM on January 25, 2002

"That was a remarkably quick investigation."

It sure was!

How could a JP possibly rule it a suicide less than 12 hours after the discovery of the body? It must take longer than that for forensics to do their work. There's no mention of a suicide note either, which doesn't mean there wasn't one, but I'd think that in the absence of a note, they'd hold off on pronouncing it a suicide until they'd investigated it further. Not least because they have to know that the death of someone associated with such a high-profile case is bound to get a whole lot of scrutiny. The speed with which it was pronounced a suicide makes it seem more suspicious than it might otherwise. Conspiracy theorist powers: ACTIVATE!
posted by biscotti at 9:36 AM on January 25, 2002

Well, isn't this interesting...
CNN: *Breaking News* - Enron Suicide
MSNBC: *Breaking News* - Former Enron Exec Commits Suicide
FOX: US troops arrive in the Philippines / Call-In about 'Flag Fever'. (What suicide? What Enron?)

[sarcasm] For some reason, I get the feeling that the right-wing 'Vince Foster Was Murdered' kooks aren't going to be as insistent that this (alleged) suicide be investigated ad infinitum... [/sarcasm]
posted by SenshiNeko at 9:41 AM on January 25, 2002

Conspiracy theorist powers: ACTIVATE!

Form of: Smoking Gun.
posted by thebigpoop at 9:41 AM on January 25, 2002

So, who wants to emanetize the eschalon (sp?)?
posted by adampsyche at 9:50 AM on January 25, 2002

OK. I saw this story first on MeFi. I don't have a radio or TV at work. I'll bet that by the time I get home this afternoon and turn on the tube, I will hear at LEAST one "conservative commentator" opine that this death was unrelated to the Enron investigation.

Betcha. You heard it here first.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:52 AM on January 25, 2002

Sugar Land police department spokeswoman Patricia Whitty said Baxter was found inside his car early on Friday with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head, and a suicide note at his side. There were no apparent signs of foul play, she said.

Looks like there was a note. Or so they say.
posted by adampsyche at 9:55 AM on January 25, 2002

The note said:

"I am sorry for the actions of a few at a fine company, including me.

I leave my Enron windfall to Kenneth Lay.

I will never stop loving you, Kenneth."
posted by msacheson at 10:02 AM on January 25, 2002

I heard the note read, simply, "Rosebud".
posted by jpoulos at 10:09 AM on January 25, 2002

So, who wants to emanetize the eschalon (sp?)?

imminetize the eschaton, actually. Imminetize means to make imminent; eschaton refers to the apocalypse. Eschatology is the theological field of study regarding the End of Days and the book of revelations.

The Bob Rivers show (Seattle, Portland, Juneau) made a half-joking comment about this when the news was reported this morning: you just know that now all the other accused Enronistas* will start pointing fingers at this guy, putting as much blame on him as possible, saying he was the kingpin of it all. "He was the one doing the shredding- everything we needed shredded, we took to him. Lying to the 401K holders? That was his idea, uh-huh".

* I'd like to trademark the English language use of the term 'Enronista' at this time, please. This term is free to be distributed without charge provided credit is giving to the original author. Thank you.
posted by hincandenza at 10:18 AM on January 25, 2002

How terribly convenient that someone who had information and would probably be willing to testify (given his williness to resign over illegal Enron activities) is found dead. No investigation of those who MIGHT have some motivation to have him shut down?

Sounds very bad for Enron folks. Not sure about implicating Bush but Cheney looks very bad right now. I wonder why he won't release info about the energy committee meetings with Enron and is pushing back so hard that the GAO is considering a lawsuit, the first ever against a federal official?
posted by Red58 at 10:24 AM on January 25, 2002

Was he dating Hillary?
posted by HTuttle at 10:42 AM on January 25, 2002

Rosebud...That could lead to a movie.
posted by Mack Twain at 10:46 AM on January 25, 2002

hincandenza: I heard a congressman turn Enron into a verb (Enronize) yesterday when talking about, I believe, the stimulus package (here in the hinterlands we call that a vibrator btw)..
posted by m@ at 10:48 AM on January 25, 2002

FWIW, SenshiNeko, Foxnews is now running this as its lead story.
posted by Sinner at 10:56 AM on January 25, 2002

Enronize? Uh oh.

In today's column, our local newspaper humor columnist today pointed out "...several easy ways you big-shot corporate heads, like Enron's Kenneth Lay, can tell it's time to turn in that key to the executive washroom. "

One of these is: "In popular American lingo, your name becomes a verb, as in, 'He sure Clintoned on that one,' 'He O.J.ed his way out of that situation' or 'Looks like we've been Layed.'"
posted by tippiedog at 11:04 AM on January 25, 2002

Amazingly convenient that the person who could be the single most important witness in the Enron investigations (30? 40?) - most inside knowledge of anyone who might actually tell the truth - is now dead. This has potential for becoming the biggest conspiracy-theorist playground since the JFK assassination.
posted by yesster at 11:06 AM on January 25, 2002

Of course, being the potentially most important witness in something like this is also enough to make someone suicidal.
posted by thebigpoop at 11:15 AM on January 25, 2002

I assume, then, that you all agree that Vince Foster was murdered.

posted by John Galt at 11:17 AM on January 25, 2002

Bat Boy was forced to kill Baxter before he spilled the beans on what *really* happened to Reagan, thus exposing the true identity of the Canadian Inuit: The Mossad.
posted by rocketman at 11:19 AM on January 25, 2002

What a lame way to go out. If you know you were going down, wouldn't you have robbed a bank or something? Gone out with guns blazing? This seems like a lame way to go out.
posted by internook at 11:23 AM on January 25, 2002

The Fark headline: "Former Enron Exec kills self, accounting wondering how they'll fit him in shredder"
posted by thebigpoop at 11:43 AM on January 25, 2002

imminetize the eschaton, actually.

Immanentize the eschaton, actually, particularly if you're an Illuminatus fan. Whether or not the word "immanent" was used correctly in the context of the plot is up to you.

BTW, is it "imminetize" or "imminentize"? I like your spelling better since it's easier to pronounce; I don't have any dictionaries that provide an answer.
posted by joaquim at 11:47 AM on January 25, 2002

What a lame way to go out. If you know you were going down, wouldn't you have robbed a bank or something? Gone out with guns blazing?

(Jaw drops) Uhh, no. If I was going to kill myself, I'd kill myself. You hear that, FBI? I would not seek out a suicide by police and then mention my 'strategy' in a popular discussion board.

New topic: I don't think there's a conspiracy going on here, I just think the guy cracked. It also provides an interesting watermark for just how many people knew what was happening.

If the CEO killed himself, people could argue it was all Lay's doing. But when someone further down the ladder feels the heat and kills himself, it shows something was probably on his conscience. And of course, everyone else above him.
posted by jragon at 12:16 PM on January 25, 2002

My first reaction was, "One down, 28 to go." But then I realized that now the suits have a convenient scapegoat who can't talk back.

And if I had to choose a method of suicide, I think I'd smoke myself to death. Mmmmmmmm. Rich tobacco flavor.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:28 PM on January 25, 2002

I was really surprised when this happened. I thought they'd all get incredibly high-priced legal talent, get off, and proceed to go on the talking-head circuit, maybe even have a talk show. Like Henry Kissinger, for example. I figured they could have fairly quickly made the transition from pariah to wise old greybeard.
The whole thing seems so Jane Austenish. I thought the Age of Shame blinked out for good the moment Jerry Springer burst forth upon the airwaves.

posted by lisatmh at 8:05 PM on January 25, 2002

When are people going to realize that this is much deeper than it seems. The amount of money that is being bantered about as lost will be the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The article today in the WSJ (sorry no link) states that JP Morgans liability was over 2 Billion dollars. Enron had many of these schemes. This is not over by a long shot. And we have yet to hear from GE, another company built on a stack of cards.
posted by MaddCutty at 9:22 PM on January 25, 2002

I nurse the cynical suspicion that this was the kind of suicide where you shoot yourself five times in the back of the skull.
What was the guy distraught about, that he only got away with $35 million? Before you know it, all the other Enrongaters shopping for Swiss chateaux will be throwing themselves off the nearest Alp.
posted by Allen Varney at 11:00 PM on January 25, 2002

has any one else noticed this fellow lived in a suburb of houston called "sugar land"........... among many facts of this case that are... ahem..... a little strange.................speaking of strange, when was the last time anyone has seen hide or hair of dick cheney???
posted by specialk420 at 11:03 PM on January 25, 2002

specialk420: Sugarland is the current home base of GOP pooh-bah Tom DeLay, as well as the hometown of Clinton speech writer Paul Begala.
posted by raysmj at 12:11 AM on January 26, 2002

..."Sugar Land is two separate words."
posted by Carol Anne at 4:35 AM on January 26, 2002

It's think it's entirely possible that Baxter, if his conscience drove him to take his life, may have left behind documentation of what he knew in order to bring matters to light posthumously -- in which case we may be finding out a lot more in short order.

Either way, though, I have a hunch that Skilling knows a lot more than he's let on.
posted by verdezza at 10:37 AM on January 26, 2002

"...thats right cliff, the country club across town say...2 ish...ba-bye"
posted by clavdivs at 6:44 PM on January 26, 2002

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