Enron of Houston previously was the nation's seventh-largest company but its years of imaginative accounting practices caught up with Messrs. Lay, Skilling, Fastow and others who were found criminally accountable for ravaging jobs by the thousands, $60 billion in market value and at least $2 billion in retirement funds.
In the spirit of marking the 10-year anniversary of the collapse of the company whose corporate jet flew George W. Bush to Washington for the January 2001 inauguration, Boston.com assembled a list of the nation's largest financial bankruptcies. Moral bankruptcy is another story though one could present a strong argument that questionable, immoral leadership leads to financial bankruptcies.
But, alas - we digress.
Though Enron's estimated $65.5 billion in assets that evaporated was the largest at that time, five additional corporations have since lost even more money, according to the news provider, which also cites The Associated Press and BankruptcyData.com . Three companies managed to revive themselves.
Commercial lender CIT Group ( CIT ) filed for bankruptcy in November 2009 and lost more than $80 billion in assets. Assets of General Motors ( GM ) totaled $91 billion when the carmaker filed for bankruptcy in June 2009. WorldCom lost nearly $104 billion in assets with its July 2002 bankruptcy. Washington Mutual lost nearly $328 billion in assets with its September 2008 bankruptcy.
And the reigning king of U.S. insolvencies is Lehman Brothers, which lost $691 billion in assets when filing for bankruptcy in September 2008.
CIT, GM and Lehman have managed comebacks while the other companies did not as some leaders wilt away in jail.