USA TODAY US Edition
Ex-tyco CEO begs, but parole board says no
His appeal for mercy fails
Imprisoned ex-tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski begged for mercy from a parole board last week, before learning later that his plea had been rejected, a newly released transcript of the proceeding showed Wednesday.
“I am asking you for your mercy,” the 65-year-old disgraced former executive told a three-member New York State parole panel at the close of the April 4 videoconference hearing. “In fact, I am not too proud to beg you for your mercy here today.”
The panel denied Kozlowski’s parole bid, his first application, ruling that releasing him early would tend to minimize his crimes and affect public safety.
The rejection means Kozlowski will remain a prison inmate at least until a second parole hearing, expected in 2013. He’s in the 79th month of an 8z- to 25-year prison term for a 2005 conviction on charges he looted millions of dollars in bonuses, loans and other payments from the global products and services company he once headed.
The case against Kozlowski — which featured luxurious perks such as the $6,000 shower curtain that graced his $30 million Manhattan apartment — came to symbolize corporate greed during the bull market of the 1990s.
Kozlowski said he accepted responsibility for those crimes, the transcript showed.
“Back when I was running Tyco, I was living in a Ceo-type bubble,” he said. “I had a strong sense of entitlement at that time, and I had a sense of greed, and in doing so I stole money from Tyco.”
“I’m very sorry I did that,” he added.
Kozlowski said he had paid court-ordered restitution of $134 million, plus a $70 million criminal fine — payments he said forced him to sell the palatial homes, boat, stock investments and other assets he bought with his Tyco riches.
“I have very, very little left,” he said.
But he told the parole panel he tried to make the best of his downfall behind bars, by tutoring other inmates studying for their high school equivalency diplomas, obtaining a certificate of merit for completing a substance-abuse program, working as a prison laundry porter and reconnecting with family and a spiritual mentor.
Since Jan. 31, he’s been housed in a minimum-security correctional facility in Upper Manhattan, a less than 2-mile subway ride and a lifetime away from his home during his Tyco days. Under a work-release program, Kozlowski said, he spends weekdays in a clerical post for an e-learning company that trains former inmates and veterans for job interviews.
The panel told Kozlowski they would weigh those factors. But, apparently disregarding his claim that the sentencing judge had not deemed him a security threat, they unanimously ruled against releasing Kozlowski.