Tuesday, June 8, 2021

When Greed Goes Too Far

 Believe it or not, it's been over 20 years since the Worldcom house of cards collapsed.  The folks at Coldfusion took a fresh look at the Worldcom scandal in this video posted two weeks ago. The video will be old news to many but there is now at least one generation that is not familiar with the Worldcom fraud.   Feel free to pick the video apart and fire away in the comments.

Note: The video makes one glaring mistake in the first two minutes.  Anyone want to guess what it is?

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well I haven't heard of this scam...down in Jacksonville, Mississippi

Anonymous said...

JacksonVILLE

Anonymous said...

Jacksonville, MS

Anonymous said...

"Jacksonville, Mississippi."

Anonymous said...

Jacksonville?

Anonymous said...

Jacksonville, Mississippi?

Didn't it actually start during a lunch at a Hattiesburg restaurant?

Anonymous said...

Good reminder of the downsides of an unregulated capitalist market. Greed wins every time.

Anonymous said...

Hard to get past the first two minutes when they get the town name wrong and Bernie’s last name wrong (Ebbens).

Anonymous said...

Unregulated as opposed to....Regulated? Government regulation is the underpinning of a perpetually crippled economic system (or any other system). It may not have occurred to you, but regulation has no effect on greed.

Anonymous said...

8:45 said...Hard to get past the first two minutes when they get the town name wrong and Bernie’s last name wrong (Ebbens).

Just over a year ago, the Weather Station People, or was it CNN, were at a small hamlet north of Vicksburg 'Reporting from Redwood, Louisiana'.

Anonymous said...

Unregulated capitalism is the underpinning of a perpetually corrupt economy.

Anonymous said...

LDDS started down in Brookhaven and morphed in to WorlComm didnt it?

Anonymous said...

I feel bad for the workers who had no idea what was going on and lost their retirement accounts

Anonymous said...

This is probably the worst synopsis of the situation I've ever heard. And there are absolutely are companies doing this now, but not to the extreme extent of WorldCom. This is worse than the presentation I did on the company back in my junior year of college.

Anonymous said...

It really should be Clinton Mississippi that is named. After all, WorldCom spurned Jackson for the godly land of MC and those Clinton thumpers.

Anonymous said...

Pardon, but you have your history incorrect. Jackson did not want to keep Worldcom. Worldcom was the business weathervane to show just how anti-business Jackson had become and would continue to be

Anonymous said...

Any 8 year old who knows the state capitals would have spotted at least one of the errors, which, as mentioned in the story, is only two minutes into the documentary. They even botched the name of the subject! Just imagine the errors they made that aren’t as apparent.

I don’t know what reason there is to trust a documentary made by people who pay such little attention to detail.

Kingfish said...

I noticed. One reason I posted. I figured you guys would have fun picking it apart. At least they spelled his name right. However, this video got several hundred thousand hits so apparently quite a few people saw it.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it started in Hattiesburg as LDDS - Long Distance Discount Service - after the AT&T/Bell breakup. I remember a building on Hardy Street that had a sign in front for LDDS - Long Distance Discount Service. I just did a newspapers.com quick search, and sure enough, I came across a sign-up ad in the Hattiesburg American that listed the LDDS address as 3418 Hardy Street.

In a March 1984 Hattiesburg American story on LDDS, the reporter asked LDDS president Murray Waldron "Why Hattiesburg?"

"Well, Waldron said with a laugh, "there wasn't any competition." Additionally, Waldron said "it's a large city with a big trade area...and South Central Bell has a good office here." (LDDS was a South Central Bell customer, and relied on the Bell lines.)

I was fairly sure a former USM coach had an ownership stake, and I found confirmation of in a December 1996 Hattiesburg American story on M.K. Turk, who had stepped down as USM's basketball coach after 20 years. According to the story, "with 26 years invested in the Mississippi state retirement system and financially-stabilizing interests, including a stake in a booming telecommunications business, Turk agreed to step down."

jlott said...

It all started in Hattiesburg at the Northgate diner. initial plans drawn up on a napkin!

Anonymous said...

Here's an interesting history lesson, in the form of a list of the worst CEOs of all time, which was compiled in 2009:

https://www.cnbc.com/2009/04/30/Portfolios-Worst-American-CEOs-of-All-Time.html?slide=17

Today, those people would probably have cashed out and gone into politics, where narcissists go to bask in their own glory:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evolution-the-self/201112/narcissism-why-its-so-rampant-in-politics



Anonymous said...

the architects walk free among us

Anonymous said...

All of the people calling Ebbers and Worldcom “greedy” have no problem with the massive stock bubble that is Tesla Motors most profitable product. As well as all of the shady financial book cooking (that has sent several Tesla CFOs running) simply because you are card carrying members of the Peak Oil and Climate Hoax Cult.

Anonymous said...

Well, not defending what he did, but he essentially spent the rest of his life in a federal prison.

Anonymous said...

I seem to recall that the Clarion-Ledger slobbered all over Worldcom at the time, Worldcom could do no wrong according to local reporting. Please correct me if I'm wrong. There's no telling how many local investors lost untold amounts of money based on what they read in the CL. No wonder the CL hasn't attempted business reporting since then, just another failing by the state's largest daily newspaper.

Anonymous said...

I had several friends in Hattiesburg who put all their retirement money in the late 1980s in Worldcom. ( After all ,Bernie was a rock solid Southern Baptist,good to Miss College,close to President Nobles,etc.)

Anonymous said...

10:32 AM. Correcto. Biz plan drawn on a napkin by the late Bill Fields of Tupelo

Anonymous said...

About 10-12 years ago the BBC was in Canton shooting a documentary about WorldCom.
My dad, who is originally from Brookhaven and knew most of the LDDS folks, was meeting with one of the original board members at the cafe they were filming in just to catch up. He asked if I wanted to ride with him and see what they were doing so I did. When we walked in the director came over to me and asked if I would like to play Bernie in the documentary because I had a beard and the other guy didn't- he also didn't fit into the coat (more on that below).
Said sure, and the first scene they had us play was the business plan on the napkin. Gave me a sport coat that fit, some napkins and a pen. Me and three other guys sat at the table talking about football and pretending to be writing out the plan for LDDS. They shot several other scenes over the next hour or so. Pretty random thing but is kind of cool looking back. I still have that napkin too for some reason.

Anonymous said...

There's no doubt, greed has gone too far. It stole the v, the i, both l's and an e from Jackson. That is too far

Anonymous said...

I lost way too much, more than $500k, in WCOM and other tech crashes. As for WCOM, three reasons: my stupidity, my greed, WCOM’s fraud. Bernie’s sentence was way too harsh. Sullivan should have been publicly executed.

Anonymous said...

Sullivan got 5 years b/c he had the goods on Bernie.

Thank goodness for Cynthia Cooper!

Anonymous said...

Yes lost too much on Worldcom. Lesson learned. Mississippi College woudl probaly have gone under without Bernie.

Anonymous said...

Bitcoin's collapse will make Worldcom's fall look like a Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme.

Anonymous said...

@2:31
The blockchain and crypto currencies are here to stay. They may increase and decrease in value, but they are the same as silver and gold. That is, they are a hedge against hyperinflation to store value and also transfer money pseudo anonymously.

A better comparison to Worldcom would be Tesla or Facebook. Tesla sells fewer cars total than Toyota sells of just the Corolla. And facebook’s main user base are aging baby boomers and third worlders who get facebook data for free with their prepaid phones.

Anonymous said...

There was no way other executives did not know what was going on. See retirements 2 years before the collapse.

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