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Visions of perp walks instead of sugarplums may be in the heads of some corporate executives this holiday season. But even the in-house lawyers of disgraced companies need some holiday cheer. In fact, they probably need it more than most of us this year. In that spirit, here are a few holiday suggestions for the public company and its corporate lawyers who have everything (or at least until the feds make them give it back): Mark Belnick, former chief counsel of this $36 billion conglomerate, patiently sat for weeks last summer in his $10 million villa high above Park City, Utah. He was waiting to learn whether his 30-year career as an elite corporate lawyer would end with an indictment from a New York grand jury. Eventually charged with falsifying business records to conceal $14 million in loans made to himself, Belnick pleaded not guilty. Belnick’s alleged lavish habits earn him the gift of unlimited use of the communal bunk beds at a budget time-share a mere three-and-a-half-hours’ drive through the snow from the Park City slopes. Santa won’t be coming to Coudersport, Pennsylvania, this year. That’s because, in this rural hamlet of 2,600, home to the nearly bankrupt cable concern, former chairman and CEO John Rigas was Santa. Townspeople flocked to the local Masonic temple every year for Adelphia’s Christmas party. At last year’s shindig, there were two giant trees and a full orchestra playing The Nutcracker Suite. As part of the festivities, Rigas flew jetloads of local kids to Buffalo to watch the Sabres hockey team, which he owned. Too bad it all allegedly was paid for with shareholders’ funds. So Rigas, who once owned the local movie theater, should be more than happy to get free HBO and a year’s supply of microwave popcorn. Attention, K-mart shoppers! Martha Stewart’s corporate attorneys have crafted their own easy-to-assemble project: a legal strategy in which Stewart simply shuns publicity. Since it was alleged that she sold her shares in drugmaker ImClone on insider information, her company’s stock has plummeted. The problem is, Stewart built her empire by exposing mainstream America to the ways of gracious domestic living. Apparently she forgot to mention that some gracious folk might earn money for the finer things in a slightly tacky way. So what’s in Martha Inc.’s stocking? A set of subtly patterned, pastel pot holders, of course, for when the controversy truly gets too hot to handle. In July, WorldCom’s general counsel, Michael Salisbury, filed a five-page sworn statement with the SEC. It outlined how the company learned that nearly $4 billion in expenses had been improperly transferred to its capital accounts, thus boosting profits at the telecom giant. The SEC complained that the statement was incomplete. Then- CEO and chairman Bernie Ebbers, who founded the troubled telecom in a Jackson, Mississippi, coffee shop, expressed little concern. For the holidays, WorldCom can expect a big box of waterproof pocket calculators, just in case someone tips a cup of java on the keypad. One fateful day a year and a half ago, Enron CEO Kenneth Lay took a copy of an anonymous letter to Enron’s general counsel, James Derrick, Jr. It read, in part: “Has Enron become a risky place to work?” Well, maybe. Derrick wisely recommended an investigation. Also to his credit, Derrick later advised chief financial officer Andrew Fastow that there was something fishy about the off-the-books limited partnership Chewco. Fastow ignored his advice. Under the tree for Enron? A solar-powered toaster that won’t be beholden to wildly fluctuating energy values and will be less likely to get anyone burned.

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