The Association of U S West Retirees



Nacchio conviction "a long time coming" 
By Will Shanley, Staff Writer
Denver Post
Friday, April 20, 2007

Some former Qwest shareholders and workers rejoiced Thursday following the guilty verdict in the insider-trading case against Joe Nacchio.

Other metro-area residents described the outcome as "shocking" or expressed sympathy for the disgraced chief executive.

"I'm so excited," said JoLynne Whiting, a former Qwest worker who laughed almost uncontrollably during a telephone interview with The Denver Post.  "This is just marvelous.  Thank goodness."

Whiting, who said she lost more than $100,000 in retirement savings when Qwest's stock tanked earlier this decade, described the verdict as vindication.

"It has been a long time coming," said Whiting, who worked for Qwest and its predecessors, US West and Mountain Bell, for a total of 29 years across several departments before retiring in 2000.  "He destroyed billions of dollars in people's retirement savings so that he could profit."  The jury of eight men and four women found Nacchio, the former CEO, guilty on 19 counts of illegal insider trading.  Nacchio faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine for each of the counts on which he was convicted.

"He got what he deserves," said Thomas Kittridge, 78, who said he lost about $50,000 as a result of Qwest's stock decline.  "He hurt a lot of people.  I would have been disappointed if he had gotten off clean."

After the guilty counts were announced, a spectator in the back of the courtroom muttered, "This is beautiful."  The man declined to provide his name when asked by a Post reporter.

Bruce Conant, a retired government worker who frequently attended the trial, said he was not surprised at the outcome considering the jury's lengthy deliberation.  He said, however, that he did not agree with the outcome.

"If I were on the jury, I would have found him not guilty," said Conant, 57.  "I'm not sure the government proved Nacchio's state of mind."

A key part of proving illegal insider trading is proving that a defendant had sold stock based on material information not known to the public.

For people such as Bruce Shibles, an attorney, the outcome could bode well for corporate America.

"The more you can get corporations to act ethically, the better off the economy will be," said Shibles, 48, a Fort Collins resident who works in Denver.  "I think corporate America has to be held accountable."

Casey Duncan, 23, said the verdict surprised him.

"I thought he would get away," said Duncan, who works as an office administrator.  "He has a lot of cash backing him up.  That helps a lot of the time."

Michael Radden of Denver said the guilty counts mean little.  He said other world events are far more important, pointing to the shooting deaths this week at Virginia Tech.

"That is a little more important than this guy," said Radden.  "He's still going to live the life of luxury, even if he goes to jail."

Sarah Sparks, who worked for Qwest from 1995 to 2001, said she has sympathy for Nacchio's family.

"If he is sentenced to prison, I don't think that anything is served," said Sparks, who said she lost $50,000 after exercising Qwest stock options that ended up declining in value.  "His family needs him."

Sparks said she does not blame Nacchio for her investment losses.

"I made my own investment decisions," said Sparks, 54.  "I'm convinced that he is guilty, but you can't blame Nacchio for losing money."

Staff writer Will Shanley can be reached at 303-954-1260 or

Other reactions

"He had people telling him that those one-time sales were drying up.  We felt he had months of information.  We felt that to a common investor, that was crucial.  We felt in good conscience that it wasn't possible that he didn't know, not a man of that intelligence.  The fact is, those one-timers were never divulged."

Terrell Joseph Dye, juror from Littleton

"Twelve courageous jurors sent a message all the way to Wall Street. ... Joe Nacchio got that message loud and clear today."

Colleen Conry, prosecutor

"For anybody who has ever made a call from Qwest's 14-state service area, 'convicted felon Joe Nacchio' has a nice ring to it.  Make no mistake, my friends, this is an overwhelming determination of guilt."

Troy Eid, U.S. attorney for Colorado

"I'd be pleased to have the court do that."

Joe Nacchio, in response to whether he wants the judge or a jury to determine how much of the $52 million in ill-gotten gains he'll have to forfeit

"I was really grateful to the trial team for finishing the job."

Bill Leone,
former U.S. attorney who spearheaded the Nacchio investigation


"There's a time of justice for everyone.  Today is that day for Joe Nacchio.  Insider trading is not a victimless crime. ... There are victims here, a lot of whom lost their hopes and dreams."

Cliff Stricklin, lead prosecutor

"We will certainly appeal."

Herbert Stern, lead defense attorney