top of page

Why did the DOJ pursue EBS Employees?

The book "Securing the Network: F. Scott Yeager and the Rise of the Commercial Internet" tells the story behind the creation of key concepts behind the media-rich commercial Internet of today.

Buy it now on Amazon

A (not so) Small Case of Perjury

Our justice system and the legal structure of the evidence, sworn testimony, and trial by jury is supposed to be about getting at the truth of a situation, not obtaining a conviction at any cost. Yet, we have a prosecutor determined to do just that by their own admission. Not to obtain a just conviction on provable wrongdoing, but to extort underlings with a threat of years in prison if they do not lie under oath.

     For the most part, those targeted for "legal extortion" lacked the financial means to defend themselves. They faced choosing between losing everything they owned, total impoverishment, and prison, or perjuring themselves in court to support the prosecutor's false claims. Very few possess the wealth necessary to hire the legal teams essential to resist such prosecutorial abuse.

Bill Collins
    The first interview was with Bill Collins. Kroger describes that interview on Page 388. "On a hot day in August 2002, I sat down with Bill Collins in a sleek high-tech conference room at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Portland, Oregon. Collins was in his forties, a little portly, with sandy hair and large, owl-like glasses. He had been hired by Enron to help develop its telecommunications business model, and he had had close and frequent contact with most of EBS's top executives."
     But Collins had a huge ax to grind. He had long been developing a deal with Microsoft, and he believed that the new "BOS" software and the new relationship with SUN's Scott McNealy threatened that deal. In the infamous "Lipstick Memo," Collins wrote: "We can forget about doing a deal with Microsoft where we cache or streams serve WMP off of Solaris. Shawna and others have been mentioning this but we need to nip this thinking in the bud. There are lots of ways I'm sure it'd make your life simpler -- but a better approach may be to ask the question: why not do everything on Windows 2000? We are not going to be a Microsoft platform of reference running on streamsserveSolaris --- nor are they going to buy streams to be hosted on Solaris. This is a major issue and not one we are going to be able to somehow magically resolve by telling Microsoft to get over it -- nothing is more central to their objectives than getting W2000 into the core of our network -- and at the expense of Solaris boxes from Sun."

     Thus, Bill Collins' ire at the BOS and the SUN announcement threatening his Microsoft deal came to the forefront, and his venting about it to Kroger formed the basis of his launching the prosecution. Had Kroger bothered to expend time and effort on the real evidence, including the reams of documents and hours and hours of video, he would have understood Bill's motives and perhaps not taken his venting at face value.

     In an email of Jan 2, 2000, Collins explains that he left Enron to make more money, contradicting what he said on the stand. "Right after we were last in Seattle I got a tremendous offer that was too good for me to refuse - the chance to be a senior exec in an e-commerce company going public in 3 mos. working with old friends. It's the quintessential opportunity in this day and age."

     So, we have a disgruntled employee who was bitterly angry because he felt that a deal he had spent months developing was being undercut and marginalized by the new "Broadband Operating System" and an as-yet-unannounced major deal with Sun Microsystems. So, he leaves Enron for another company, and when interviewed by Kroger, dumps all over Enron, claiming the BOS was "Dead Meat."

     Later, in July 2001, before the fall of Enron, Bill Collins wrote an apology letter to Yeager saying he was unjustly and unfairly mad at Scott. He said Scott was the only one who treated him fairly. This admitted anger and unfairness should have been allowed as evidence, but the Judge denied the admission of the evidence, which could have shown he was unfairly angry at Yeager.

Shawna Meyer

     After that initial interview with Bill Collins, Kroger interviewed Shawna Meyer, who backed Bill's view. As he tells it on Page 390, "A few days later, I flew to Silicon Valley to meet with Shawna Meyer, whose name Bill Collins had supplied. Meyer had been EBS's director of product engineering, working directly with the Enron network, and she was thus a crucial witness. I expected her to tell a very different story from Collins. Instead, she confirmed every one of Collins's facts and then some. 'The company was a disaster,' Meyer told me. "All the engineers used to joke about the so-called intelligent network software because it didn't exist. We called it secret sauce or pixie dust. You just sprinkle a little of it around, and like magic, you have the world's best network. When we met with potential customers, we had to tap-dance around the facts, like the little frog with the cane and the top hat you see on TV."
    This statement is very much at odds with the video clips where she discusses Media Cast. Therein, she touts the performance goals and praises the success of such projects as the Drew Carey experiment and the Country Music Awards, which, as noted above, was a massive event for which paid Enron $40k per month. Pretty impressive for a bunch of "dead meat."
    However, she left Enron, along with Bill Collins, and went to work for Vectrix, a competitor. Later, when the court discovery documents uncovered documents from Meyer and Collins, the FBI offered into evidence a CD-ROM with Enron's BOS and Media Cast software, including source code. Somehow when these two left Enron, they seemed to have taken a copy of BOS with them.

     If it didn't work, why would they have it in their possession? Was this purely an accident? Did they steal it? We do not claim to know how it came into their possession, and the reader is left to draw their own conclusions.
    Other allegations abound, but the fundamental issue is that Meyer and Collins were disgruntled ex-employees who vented their ire in the prosecutor's ear and then went on to contradict under oath previous favorable statements that they had made publicly. Moreover, they did so apparently at the behest of the prosecution. Their testimony immeasurably harmed the company and fellow employees. Yet, rather than recognizing that these people were not being honest and making an effort to get at the truth, the prosecutor leveraged their malfeasance to pressure others, to force them to perjure themselves under the threat of bankruptcy and jail time.
    Joe Hirko's wife died of a heart attack in his arms in prison, in which he pleaded guilty so she would not have to go through another awful trial. So Joe was blamed for things not working, but prosecutors willfully made an inaccurate and wrong accusation.
    Rex Shelby passed away from cancer. Rex was a good man and did nothing wrong. He pleaded guilty to a non-crime after the first trial. Unfortunately, his attorney correctly believed that the media (Houston Chronicle) had convicted them in the public eye. They had polluted the jury pool (80% said they were guilty before any facts), and he went to prison because corrupt prosecutors refused to look at the facts and only cared about convictions. How much did all this harm his ability to fight off cancer? We will never know.

The prosecutors knew these people were innocent and did not care. Their only motivation was to win at any cost. That they destroyed people's lives and wantonly prosecuted innocent people was of no concern.

In this video, Shawna Meyer introduces herself and expresses her excitement at working with Enron and the company's vision and technology. Money Quote: Enron was the network by which all the competitors were measured. Meaning Media Cast worked and had demonstrated its performance.

In this video, Shawna Meyer discusses the two live events, the Country Music Awards, and the Drew Carey event, two different technologies on Media Cast, Windoes Streaming, and Real Player. Now they have integrated satellite networks. She was glowing about the success of these events.

bottom of page