Ex-Enronees Find New Friends

January 28, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - It may offer small solace to thousands of laid-off workers across the country, but politicians can't seem to line up fast enough to lend a helping hand to ex-Enron workers.

Workers who lost jobs at Enron can now tap into several new funds, often financed at least in part by campaign donations that several politicians – from both sides of the aisle – received from the company in happier times. 

On Friday, the Enron Employee Transition Fund opened up, designed to help the laid-off workers with career counseling, job placement services, and negotiations for deferments on mortgages and other payments, as well as some direct assistance for certain expenses on a limited basis. 

The Greater Houston Community Foundation said Friday it set up the fund and donated $50,000 to get it started. The fund will be administered through several agencies under the umbrella of the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast.

Check Out ‘Line’

On Thursday, a separate fund, the Enron Ex-Employee Relief Fund , gave out its first checks for laid-off workers. That fund also has received donations from politicians who wanted to return campaign contributions they received from Enron.

Rev. Jesse Jackson told attendees at a prayer vigil and rally for Enron employees at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church that Democratic lawmakers would provide 10 Enron employees with balcony seats for President Bush’s State of the Union address tomorrow.

And, while it may not pay many bills, Enron paraphernalia continues to command premium prices on Internet auction sites.  Those desiring an Enron retirement planning mug can expect to ante up $80-$120 on sites such as eBay.