When now-bankrupt Enron Corp. appeared to be on solid financial footing, its amassing of a multimillion-dollar, cutting-edge art collection was lauded as supportive of this community, a move that fit the company's trend-setting image. Now it's all but obvious that Enron officials knew they were risking millions of dollars that belonged to investors, as well as employees' livelihoods and retirement savings, as they poured cash into acquiring a world-class art collection.
Houston welcomes contributions in support of culture and the arts from the corporations that call this city home. But Enron senior management's decision to finance a $20 million art buying spree, one that ended only weeks before the company's accounting practices forced it into bankruptcy, showed remarkable contempt for the people who counted on Enron.
Ironically, the art collection -- and the $330 million tower Enron built across the street from its downtown headquarters in which some of the acquisitions were to be displayed -- is among the few real assets the company has to satisfy its creditors.
-- Houston Chronicle
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