- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 5, 2006

1:12 p.m.

HOUSTON (AP) — Enron Corp. founder Kenneth Lay, who was convicted of helping perpetuate one of the most sprawling business frauds in U.S. history, died yesterday in Aspen, Colo. He was 64.

Lay died of a heart attack, his pastor in Houston said.

“Apparently, his heart simply gave out,” said the Rev. Steve Wende of Houston’s First United Methodist Church. Lay, who lived in Houston, frequently vacationed in Colorado.

Lay was convicted May 25 along with former Enron chief executive officer Jeffrey Skilling of defrauding investors and employees by repeatedly lying about Enron’s financial strength in the months before the company plummeted into bankruptcy protection in December 2001. Lay also was convicted in a separate non-jury trial of bank fraud and making false statements to banks, charges related to his personal finances.

Skilling, reached by telephone at his home in Houston, told Associated Press that he was aware of Lay’s death.

“No, I don’t have any comment,” he said quietly.

Prosecutors in Lay’s trial also declined comment yesterday, both on his unexpected death and on what may become of the government’s effort to seek a $43.5 million judgment from Lay that they say he pocketed as part of the conspiracy. Lay’s death will not affect their case against Skilling.

Both were scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 23. Lay faced decades in prison, as does Skilling.

The Pitkin, Colo., sheriff’s department said officers were called to Lay’s house in Old Snowmass, Colo., shortly after 1 a.m. MDT (3 a.m. EDT). He was taken to Aspen Valley Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 3:11 a.m. MDT.

Family spokeswoman Kelly L. Kimberly issued a statement saying, “Ken Lay passed away early this morning in Aspen. The Lays have a very large family with whom they need to communicate. And out of respect for the family, we will release further details at a later time.”

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