BusinessCompany NewsOn the money with Damian Wild

On the money with Damian Wild

If you find yourself in Houston, Texas this evening head downtown to the Four Seasons Hotel and you'll witness the latest in a long line of extraordinary events to be staged in the city since its former corporate darling, Enron, imploded

Damian Wild, AccountancyAge

Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins, lead counsel in the shareholder
action to recover cash lost in the energy giant’s collapse, is hosting a meeting
in the hotel and will be on hand to help anyone looking to join its suit.

So if you bought Enron-related stock between 1997 and 2001, you (and about
1.5 million others) could be eligible for a share of the $7.2bn (£3.6bn)
recovered so far.

The firm will even pay for your parking while you fill out the required
forms.

To some, Coughlin, which has led the recovery process, is the ambulance
chaser’s ambulance chaser. To others it’s performing a valuable service.

Like the rest of us, it’s waiting to hear whether US district judge Melinda
Harmon will approve distribution of the recovered money. It is also keenly
waiting on news of whether the $688m it is claiming in fees will get the green
light too.

As you might expect the claim has come in for no small amount of criticism.
One investor representative has called the lawyers’ fees, an affront to every
working person in this country’.

Coughlin sees it differently, of course, stressing its 9.5% no-win-no fee
claim is far lower than the 33% most lawyers get in similar cases. In its
defence, it has taken on a case as complex and risky as the financing structures
that were Enron’s undoing.

And compared to the $5.4m spent on photocopying alone in the bankruptcy case
(where fees topped $725m) it looks like something of a bargain.

Damian Wild is editor in chief of Accountancy Age

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