'Club Fed' a positive experience for disgraced CEO

David Paulin
Joseph Nacchio, the former CEO of Qwest Communications International Inc., was recently released from a minimum-security Federal prison -- and it seems that jail time had a positive experience on him. Whether he's rehabilitated is another question, however. Unrepentant, he still blames the National Security Agency for his legal troubles, claiming the feds targeted him for insider trading after he refused to turn over customer phone records in 2001.

A jury convicted Nacchio of selling $52 million of stock as Qwest's finances deteriorated when the telecom boom went bust in the early 2000s. He paid a $19 million fine and forfeited $44.6 million. Even so, Nacchio says he's still got plenty of money and owns several residences.
In a fascinating article about Nacchio and his life in prison, The Wall Street Journal relates:   

Former telecommunications company chief executive Joseph Nacchio entered prison in 2009 out of shape, depressed and anxious.
 
Fifty-four months later, Mr. Nacchio, 64 years old, who once ran Qwest Communications International Inc., has emerged physically unrecognizable from his pre-incarceration life.
 
Prison appears to have shaved years off his looks. He has broad shoulders from a daily regimen of lifting weights and 5-mile walks and runs. He has a goatee and his head, formerly covered with black hair, is completely shaved and tan. He says his blood pressure and cholesterol are lower than when he entered prison and his body fat has dropped dramatically. He thinks he looks like actor Edward Norton on his federal Bureau of Prisons identification card.
 
Prison also offered the CEO, who once was surrounded by highflying telecom executives before his prosecution for insider trading in 2007, a new set of peers: drug offenders Spoonie and Juice, and a bunkmate named Spider.
 
"I trust Spoonie and Juice with my back. I wouldn't trust the guys who worked for me at Qwest," said Mr. Nacchio, in his first interview since he was fully released from custody Sept. 20.

The article by The Journal's Dionne Searcey goes onto say that Nacchio regarded prison as a sort of "Lord of the Flies" for adults.  He spent most of his sentence in two Pennsylvania facilities called "camps," which have no perimeter walls or bars. But unlike minimum-security facilities in the 1980s, there apparently were no swimming pools or tennis courts or access to golf courses -- amenities that the feds have since eliminated.

For work assignments, Nacchio said he earned 6 cents an hour doing laundry and subsequently got a tailoring job for 12 cents an hour. With friends he made among former drug dealers - muscular men with tattoos - he said he'd play practical jokes on new white-color inmates. In the TV room, he's sit next to a "newbie," and then "Spoonie" and another inmate would rush in and pretend to beat up Nacchio as he begged for mercy.

So what does the future hold for the former CEO? The Journal related:

Mr. Nacchio has no firm plans for the future. He said he has had overtures from private-equity firms to be an adviser or consultant.
For now, he's focusing on shopping two books to publishers. One will be about what he says is Americans' loss of liberty based on his experiences with the NSA and other agencies. Another will be based on his incarceration and is "a little bit like Woody Allen and Mel Brooks go to prison."

The rich are different than the rest of us, to paraphrase F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the same might be said for inmates who serve time in minimum-security federal prisons, as opposed to those who serve time in prisons with bars. --end it--



Joseph Nacchio, the former CEO of Qwest Communications International Inc., was recently released from a minimum-security Federal prison -- and it seems that jail time had a positive experience on him. Whether he's rehabilitated is another question, however. Unrepentant, he still blames the National Security Agency for his legal troubles, claiming the feds targeted him for insider trading after he refused to turn over customer phone records in 2001.

A jury convicted Nacchio of selling $52 million of stock as Qwest's finances deteriorated when the telecom boom went bust in the early 2000s. He paid a $19 million fine and forfeited $44.6 million. Even so, Nacchio says he's still got plenty of money and owns several residences.
In a fascinating article about Nacchio and his life in prison, The Wall Street Journal relates:   

Former telecommunications company chief executive Joseph Nacchio entered prison in 2009 out of shape, depressed and anxious.
 
Fifty-four months later, Mr. Nacchio, 64 years old, who once ran Qwest Communications International Inc., has emerged physically unrecognizable from his pre-incarceration life.
 
Prison appears to have shaved years off his looks. He has broad shoulders from a daily regimen of lifting weights and 5-mile walks and runs. He has a goatee and his head, formerly covered with black hair, is completely shaved and tan. He says his blood pressure and cholesterol are lower than when he entered prison and his body fat has dropped dramatically. He thinks he looks like actor Edward Norton on his federal Bureau of Prisons identification card.
 
Prison also offered the CEO, who once was surrounded by highflying telecom executives before his prosecution for insider trading in 2007, a new set of peers: drug offenders Spoonie and Juice, and a bunkmate named Spider.
 
"I trust Spoonie and Juice with my back. I wouldn't trust the guys who worked for me at Qwest," said Mr. Nacchio, in his first interview since he was fully released from custody Sept. 20.

The article by The Journal's Dionne Searcey goes onto say that Nacchio regarded prison as a sort of "Lord of the Flies" for adults.  He spent most of his sentence in two Pennsylvania facilities called "camps," which have no perimeter walls or bars. But unlike minimum-security facilities in the 1980s, there apparently were no swimming pools or tennis courts or access to golf courses -- amenities that the feds have since eliminated.

For work assignments, Nacchio said he earned 6 cents an hour doing laundry and subsequently got a tailoring job for 12 cents an hour. With friends he made among former drug dealers - muscular men with tattoos - he said he'd play practical jokes on new white-color inmates. In the TV room, he's sit next to a "newbie," and then "Spoonie" and another inmate would rush in and pretend to beat up Nacchio as he begged for mercy.

So what does the future hold for the former CEO? The Journal related:

Mr. Nacchio has no firm plans for the future. He said he has had overtures from private-equity firms to be an adviser or consultant.
For now, he's focusing on shopping two books to publishers. One will be about what he says is Americans' loss of liberty based on his experiences with the NSA and other agencies. Another will be based on his incarceration and is "a little bit like Woody Allen and Mel Brooks go to prison."

The rich are different than the rest of us, to paraphrase F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the same might be said for inmates who serve time in minimum-security federal prisons, as opposed to those who serve time in prisons with bars. --end it--