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Off to court in Oklahoma

MBJ Editorial

Bernie Ebbers, who sat at the helm of the largest corporate collapse in U.S. history, had a day in court last week — Oklahoma court.

The founder and former chief of one time telecommunications giant WorldCom, now operating as MCI, faces a range of criminal charges filed by Oklahoma attorney general Drew Edmondson. Ebbers had an initial court appearance in Oklahoma City September 3rd.

The AG’s complaint alleges Ebbers and WorldCom broke state securities laws.

“It is rare that we name a company in a criminal complaint, but in this case it is justified,” Edmondson told reporters. He explained that WorldCom’s $11-billion implosion had cost the state’s pension fund some $64 million.

While the disintegration of WorldCom left millions of unfortunate shareholders in poor shape and a thirst for justice, even revenge, is understandable, Oklahoma’s recent action only complicates the ongoing federal investigation into the company and its executives.

A reckoning for this sorry mess is coming, but it should be left in the hands of federal investigators and prosecutors, not the individual states.

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