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franklin county times

The cleansing power of truth

By Staff
July 14, 2002
It would be tempting to dismiss WorldCom's $3.9 billion accounting deception as just an unfortunate error except for the fact that the people in charge had to have known what they were doing. These were all experienced and, up until a few weeks ago, respected members of their business professions and communities. They knew, or should have known, about high finance, accounting procedures and big budget acquisitions. They knew, or should have known, about how corporate earning reports affect the value of their company's stock.
WorldCom hid huge costs, which had the effect of inflating the value of its stock to an extent previously unheard of and enticed unsuspecting investors to put their money into what amounted to a rat hole.
Coming on the heels of the Enron scandal, WorldCom's admission ignited another torch for the cause of corporate reform. The specter of founder and former CEO Bernard Ebbers taking the Fifth Amendment refusing to testify before an investigating congressional committee for fear of self-incrimination  added more fuel to the fire. Ebbers should tell what he knows. He owes that much to the people who put their trust in him and the company he built. We believe former chief financial officer Scott Sullivan should also tell what he knows.
That Mississippi's once-shining leader in the telecommunications world will take a fall is a given. The company may be forced to file for bankruptcy and who knows what its stock will ever be worth. At this point, only the cleansing power of truth offers any hope for a better tomorrow.

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