Andersen Records Subpoenaed; Astros' Stadium May Change Name
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal received permission from the State Board of Accountancy Tuesday to subpoena records from Big Five firm Andersen in relation to an investigation that could lead to sanctions against Andersen and the removal of Andersen's license to practice in the state. Mr. Blumenthal's office issued the subpoena on Wednesday and delivered it to the Hartford office of Andersen.
The subpoena requires that Andersen provide the Attorney General's office with documents relating to audits of Enron's financial statements from 1997 to 2000, any non-audit consulting services performed by Andersen for Enron, and a list of personnel who left Andersen to work for Enron from 1997 to the present. The subpoena includes a deadline of March 5 for providing the documents.
Mr. Blumenthal referred to Andersen as a "knowing participant" in a financial fraud that "netted Enron insiders tens of millions of dollars and cost the public billions." He said "Enron did not act alone. Its accomplice was Arthur Andersen." He also said that in his office's investigation of Andersen he hopes to determine if there is "a pattern of misconduct by Andersen that imperils public trust" and that "reflects on [Andersen's] fitness and competence to do business in Connecticut."
Astros Won't Go to Bat for Enron
The Houston Astros have filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York asking that the court revoke the club's naming rights agreement with Enron Corp. The Astros' ballfield is currently named Enron Field. A 30-year agreement was signed in 1999 giving Enron the right to name the field. "Thousands of people who have been adversely affected by the Enron collapse are being reminded on a daily basis of this continuing tragedy," Astros attorneys wrote in their motion.
Enron continues to spend money on the ball park even after having filed for bankruptcy. The company paid approximately $108,000 for a 14-person luxury suite on January 22, and nearly $90,000 for 35 season box seats on February 4, as required in the license agreement. "We do not believe that it is appropriate for Enron to continue to spend these large sums of money," said Astros' President of Business Operations, Pam Gardner.
"The current public perception of Enron is incompatible with the honesty and integrity embodied in baseball, as America's national pastime, and espoused by the Houston Astros," the motion concludes. "This court should require Enron to make an immediate decision regarding the License Agreement so that the Astros will not continue to be harmed throughout the 2002 baseball season."