Dennis Kozlowski to Stay in Prison

The ‘poster boy’ for American greed and corruption, Dennis Kozlowski, will stay in prison.  A New York court rejected his request for a new parole hearing Tuesday.  His last parole hearing was in 2012, and he was denied.

Kozlowski, who is now 66, and Tyco’s chief financial officer, Mark Swartz, 52, were sentenced in 2005 for 8 and 1/3 years in prison, with a maximum of 25.  America watched, and wished a lengthier sentence could have been applied.

The two men are in a prison facility, but it is minimum security.  Lincoln Correctional Facility in Harlem is what many label a ‘white collar’ prison.  Both men are eligible for another parole hearing in September.

Kozlowski and Swartz took huge amounts of money from Tyco.  Kozlowski was charged with embezzlement of 100 million dollars.  After his arrest, reports of lavish expenditures were exposed, including a $6,000 gold-threaded shower curtain, his $15,000 umbrella stand shaped like a small terrier and a $2 million birthday party he threw for his wife on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia.

Kozlowski’s attorney, Alan Lewis, said he will appeal the parole board’s hearing.  “We respectfully, but strongly, disagree with the appellate division’s decision and instead think that the lower court was entirely correct about the flaws in the Parole Board’s decision,” he said in a prepared statement.

Kozlowski remained defiant, claiming he had done nothing wrong until his parole hearing in 2012.  Seven years in prison, away from his ultra-luxurious life style, which included several mansions, appeared to have softened the once brash criminal.  He told the parole board:  “I stole money from Tyco, and I stole a lot of money, and … I’m very sorry I did that,”

The parole board called his crime a “glaring violation of shareholder’s trust,” and that giving him an early release from his sentence would be disrespectful to the law.

Dennis Kozlowski, Mark Swartz, Kenneth Lay, and others who thought they were above the law, and that money would keep them out of prison, were sadly mistaken.  (Kenneth Lay did not go to prison; he died before he was sentenced).  At least Kozlowski will remain in lock-up for a while longer.  It can’t be long enough.

Alfred James reporting    OP-ED


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