Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Enron, Ten Years Later

Photo by Johnny Hanson/Getty Images

Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling outside court in Houston in 2006. He was sentenced to 24 years and four months in prison for his role in deceiving investors.

This week marks the tenth anniversary of Enron’s collapse. The Houston energy company took down thousands of jobs, billions of dollars, and a good chunk of the stock market with it.

But as Andrew Schneider reports for StateImpact Texas radio partner KUHF this week, Enron did a lot of good before things went bad. “It was a major benefactor for Houston charities,” Schneider reports. “It helped build the Houston Holocaust Museum and expand the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. And Ken Lay led the effort to build the Astros a new ballpark and keep them from leaving the city.” Enron built towering new office buildings and put thousands of people to work.

So when it fell, it had a huge effect on Houston’s psyche as the energy capital of the world, Schneider reminds us ten years on. Four thousand people in Houston lost their jobs, and Enron’s accounting firm Arthur Andersen closed down. “Enron’s rivals, notably Dynegy and El Paso,” Schneider writes, “never entirely recovered from the blow to the energy trading market.

What happened to the people that worked at Enron? How did Houston recover? You can read and listen to KUHF’s four-part series on the aftermath of the Enron collapse here.


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