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Posted: 2/27/2002 12:01:06 PM EDT
[b]Smithsonian to Enshrine Enron Ethics Manual[/b] [url]http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=573&u=/nm/20020227/od_nm/smithsonian_dc_1[/url] HOUSTON (Reuters) - Enron has turned into a museum quality scandal -- the Smithsonian Institution is collecting its memorabilia, including its code of ethics. A spokeswoman for the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History on Tuesday said curators have started to collect Enron memorabilia as part of an effort to record one of the nation's biggest business scandals. "We have acquired one of the administrative booklets that talks about the code of ethics, with a letter from (former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer) Kenneth Lay and we have collected a coffee mug," spokeswoman Melinda Machado said. The political history division will use the artifacts as a way to look at "the contest between business, the business world and the public for government's favor," she said. "I guess the Hope Diamond doesn't stand a chance," Enron spokesman Vance Meyer quipped, referring to the massive blue diamond that is one of the Smithsonian's best-known exhibits. The Smithsonian's 16 museums hold more than 140 million artifacts, and it has one of the largest collections of Americana in the world. Enron on Dec. 2 filed the largest Chapter 11 bankruptcy in history, after questions of phony accounting and ethical conflicts of interest by top officers surfaced. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Justice Department and several Congressional committees are investigating the collapse. DUSTBIN OF HISTORY It is not the first time that Enron's ethics manual has garnered the attention of collectors, but the Smithsonian's interest is certainly the most serious and scholarly interest expressed thus far. Last month, several ex-Enron employees showed the enterprising spirit for which they were famed and listed copies of the manual on the Internet auction site eBay. At one point, a bidder offered as much as $255. An exhibit of Enron knick-knacks, held at a coffee stand near the company's Houston headquarters, dubbed the booklet "Res Ipsa Loquitur," Latin for "the thing that speaks for itself." And what of that most ubiquitous of Enron symbols, the silver and neon Enron signs located in front of its headquarters? Jokingly referred to by former employees as "the crooked E," the tilted logo has appeared day after day in newspapers and television news programs. "We might consider it, but we look at what does an object tell about the story. Would it be the sign that tells the story, or would there be other objects that could better do that?" Machado said. Meyer said the company has not had any official requests to acquire its signs, which are headed for the dustbin of history after Enron changes its name in its planned restructuring. "It is true that we've had some casual interest in the signs and a good number of tourists who stop for a family picture, but are we tossing and turning about eBayers with hacksaws? No," Meyer said.
Link Posted: 2/27/2002 12:46:38 PM EDT
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