WorldCom Poll: Lock 'em Up!

Light Reading registered users have had enough of telecom execs’ shenanigans -- they're mad as hell, and they’re not going to take it anymore [audio cue: Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It"].

That’s the message being sent loud and clear by the first respondents to a Light Reading poll on the WorldCom Inc. (Nasdaq: WCOME) scandal. 100 percent of the first 50 poll respondents say that Bernie Ebbers (former WorldCom CEO) and Scott Sullivan (former WorldCom CFO) should be given “long prison sentences” if convicted of crimes.

Oddly, only 85 percent of poll takers believe Ebbers and Sullivan should be banned from holding any director-level position in a company -- opening the door for board meetings held during visiting hours, or with parole officer escorts.

To take the poll and view the latest results, click here.

The majority (51 percent) of poll respondents hold both Ebbers and Sullivan equally responsible for the alleged fraud at WorldCom. Twenty-three percent think Sullivan is more blameworthy than Ebbers; 15 percent hold the opposite opinion, indicting Ebbers as the bigger hosebag.

83 percent of those taking the poll think that there are worse problems still waiting to emerge at other carriers. A plurality (45 percent) believes that the WorldCom woes will push back recovery in the telecom industry by up to 12 months.

The alleged crimes at alleged WorldCom represent the latest in an alleged crime wave that started to sweep the alleged telecom industry two years ago. It began in June 2000 with a spate of break-ins at optical tradeshows (see Booth Bandit Burgles Cyras and More Optical Vendors Report Break-Ins ) and continued with the brutal beating of a large-headed mascot belonging to Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN) at the NFOEC trade show in Denver (see Ciena Mascot Assaulted at NFOEC). Then in October, a dirigible belonging to BrightLink was ruthlessly untethered [ed. note: BrightLink itself was untethered some months later]. This past weekend, in one of the most audacious acts of thievery yet, a box of t-shirts was stolen from Light Reading’s office in Chicago (see Light Reading Targeted in T-Shirt Theft).

O Tempora! O Mores! When will the madness end?

— Stephen Saunders, Founding Editor, Light Reading
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opticalfodder 12/4/2012 | 10:07:56 PM
re: WorldCom Poll: Lock 'em Up! ...or at least providing a significant "short-term" boost.

What if:
a) WCOM assets became tangled up in court, and
b) cash flow dried up such that they could not be kept up and running?

A majority of that capacity would have to go elsewhere.... AT&T, Sprint, Level3, ....

Wouldn't those companies also need most of the people involved with operating those networks?

pitr256 12/4/2012 | 10:07:55 PM
re: WorldCom Poll: Lock 'em Up! <snip>
The alleged crimes at alleged WorldCom represent the latest in an alleged crime wave that started to sweep the alleged telecom industry two years ago.

I didn't know there was an "alleged" telecom industry. Of course in this market, perhaps no finer words ring with such truth...
davey59 12/4/2012 | 10:07:54 PM
re: WorldCom Poll: Lock 'em Up! "There is no more 'humour' in him than there is milk in a male tiger", him being most of the posters on this board.

Aplogies to WS
rafaelg 12/4/2012 | 10:07:53 PM
re: WorldCom Poll: Lock 'em Up! As one rummages through the posts and pages, it can be seen that many are in denial and do not realize that the world of Telecom will not recover to the "Bubble" years. Further, it will not recover to the Monopoly era. An analysis:

-+What we see at present, is the collapse of the build-up that was fueled by speculation from the marketing geniuses and the spending that was handled like Monopoly money. The sacrificial lambs were the employees with their hard earned pensions, options and stock purchases. Loyal, company minded and with extended work hours, they longed for the chance of their money worries to end. CEOs with the mindset of:
It wasn't their livelihood at stake; so let's just buy it so the competition does not, evaporated their savings.
-+A large part, if not most, of the build-up was supported by manufacturing facilities in this country that were still OEM, causing a delay in the downturn of the Economy. With the advent of "outsourcing", a slow trend was developing to export the manufacturing elsewhere. However, with the emphasis on the expansion of Telecom, most of the trend was transparent. Fierce competition also created a false sense of prosperity. Nevertheless, no one was buying to the level of production. Economics 101 tells the result!
-+CEOs were corrupted by the sizeable compensations and rigorous demands to generate profits. Large bonuses were given if a CEO would attain the predicted margins and Wall Street compensated by increasing the stock price. This created a loop where:
a) The CEO would predict a growth of 20-30% yearly on an economy that realistically could support 5-10% growth (Pre-Deregulation)
b) Their salaries increased, and with the market essentially the same, the executives would have to generate new venues to support the growth. This included the purchases of new companies that were in a high growth curve with their inflated valuation, thereby padding their growth rate and earnings.

-+Most of the bulk of the employment was in place from the monopoly era. As the trend for exporting the manufacturing of goods was being camouflaged by the Bandwidth Frenzy, there was a subtle shifting of employment from large established companies to new and prolific competitors. Ludicrous salaries and expectations were created which in term inflated the income band. Workers were employed in the same manner as the acquisitions were made; so the competition would not have them. "Recycling" the employees from one company to another kept the excess workforce hidden. Given the fact that there is a down turn in the telecom industry, and new hires from 1998-2002 are laid-off, how would anyone explain the number of unemployed Telecom workers today? The number goes beyond the "Bubble" hires. The workers were supported by the monopoly. The consumers paid for the excess by rates increases.

Will the real Telecom please stand up?

It is here.

puddnhead_wilson 12/4/2012 | 10:07:52 PM
re: WorldCom Poll: Lock 'em Up! ... for former Q executives ...
RJC 12/4/2012 | 10:07:51 PM
re: WorldCom Poll: Lock 'em Up! ... for former Q executives ...

... for former WCG executives, and the optical equipment gear vendors who were willing to play the stock-options-for-good-press scam with them ...
GW Pearson 12/4/2012 | 10:07:42 PM
re: WorldCom Poll: Lock 'em Up! While corporate corruption certainly is present, the idea that corporate corruption alone is to blame for the bursting of the bubble misses the point.

The wild changes in stock value are based on the simple stock buying strategy of "buy what rises, dump what falls". This is the opposite of the "buy low, sell high" strategy that people claim to use. People have a hard time applying the second (older) rule because it's so hard to tell where the low and the high is, at least until well after the fact.

The result is an incredibly unstable stock market.

When money floods into a rising stock, it rises all the more. When money is pulled out of a falling stock, it continues to fall.

Imagine that this were a physical system you were modelling. The rule becomes you add energy to a high energy system, and remove energy from one that was cooling. The long term result is either zero or infinity.

Long term market stability has a lot more to do with the stock purchasing strategies of large investors than crooked accountants and CEOs.

Though, I certainly expect to see more CEOs, CFOs, and maybe a CTO or two in stripes real soon.

Make kind of a funky sequel to Cool Hand Luke, wouldn't it? Use your imagination and come up with your own favorite "stars".
photonsu 12/4/2012 | 10:07:39 PM
re: WorldCom Poll: Lock 'em Up! And let'em hot-bunk with the "good-fellas" of Enron fame!
c/l 12/4/2012 | 10:07:38 PM
re: WorldCom Poll: Lock 'em Up! "Though, I certainly expect to see more CEOs, CFOs, and maybe a CTO or two in stripes real soon.

Make kind of a funky sequel to Cool Hand Luke, wouldn't it? Use your imagination and come up with your own favorite "stars"."

I guess you mean the line where President Bush says "..what we have here... is a failure to comm-u-ni-cate..." just as John 'Boss' Ashcroft finishes wiping the smile off of Mr. Sullivan's face by freezing his accounts and selling his property.
BobbyMax 12/4/2012 | 10:07:29 PM
re: WorldCom Poll: Lock 'em Up! Nothing will ever happen to Mr. Sullivan ( former CFO of WorldCom and Mr. Evers (former CEO of WorldCom). The laws are not stringent and the government has no interest in prosecuting these cases. The cases are not prosecuted because the government wants trillions and trillion of dollars coming in every year. The foreign investors paid real money but they will not receive more than 5-10 cents for every dollar. What a wonderful way to retain the title of world's richest country. When te corruption is built into the system, the common men will never receive any relief.
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