Reform-School Congress

Divvying up the pie is the work of a creditors committee, made up of the largest creditors, and in Enron's case, according to court papers, these include such megagiants as J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Citigroup/Citibank, and 13 others—big banks, an insurance company and a pipeline firm.

Legal Times reports that in the first two months of the bankruptcy proceedings, "425 lawyers and accountants and 125 other professionals billed the bankruptcy estate for nearly $18 million in fees and $1.2 million in expenses. One firm billed for the time an associate took reading The New York Times and Wall Street Journal at $450 an hour." The top takers:

• Weil, Gotshal & Manges: 14,835.5 hours in December for $6.2 million.

• Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy: 1,612 hours in December for $660,146 and 4,120 hours in January for $2 million.

• Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering: 6,810 hours in December for $3 million.

Not since the heyday of McCarthyism has there been anything like it. On its website, the White House tells how it is putting together the Citizen Corps, a vast network of amateur spies who tattle on any neighbors, friends, acquaintances, fellow workers, church parishioners and family members they suspect of having terrorist ties. So far, the $230 million project includes the Citizen Corps Council, the Terrorist Information and Prevention System (TIPS), and a Medical Reserve Corps.

How will it work? The White House cites the example of Anne Arundel County, near Washington, D.C., as a model. There, people are busy "taking police reports, making follow-up phone calls to victims, doing fingerprinting, helping with the neighborhood watch."

As for TIPS, it's meant to be "a national reporting system that would allow these workers, who have routines and are well-positioned to recognize unusual events, to report suspicious activity to the appropriate authorities," the White House explains. Attorney General John Ashcroft says it's time for the country to turn its attention to "terrorism detection and prevention." He cites the National Sheriffs Association, which claims there are already 7,500 communities actively watching their neighbors.

Additional reporting by Joshua Hersh, Caroline Ragon, Cassandra Lewis and Gabrielle Jackson.
« Previous Page