Nacchio enters Pa. prison for six-year term
The former Qwest CEO may get bail if the Supreme Court decides
in June to review his insider-trading conviction.
By Andy Vuong
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Updated: 04/15/2009 12:38:03 AM MDT
Former Qwest chief executive Joe Nacchio arrived Tuesday at a
federal prison in
in the back seat of a sport utility vehicle to begin a six-year
It was nearly two years after his conviction for illegal insider
"It's nice to see justice served," said Al Kogler, a spokesman
for the Communications Workers of America District 7, which
represents about 15,000 Qwest employees.
Nacchio, 59, will serve his time at the Schuylkill
minimum-security prison camp in Minersville, about two hours
from his $3 million home in Mendham, N.J.
He surrendered on a gloomy, rainy day, 30 minutes before his
check-in deadline of noon.
Shortly after, it was disclosed that a U.S. Supreme Court
justice denied Nacchio's
final attempt to remain free on bail while the high court
decides whether to review his conviction. His
incarceration is a victory of sorts for thousands of Qwest
retirees and employees, many of whom blame him for scores of
lost jobs and vastly diminished retirement accounts.
"His actions have caused pain and suffering for Qwest, and
shareholders and employees as well," Kogler said.
Denver-based Qwest flirted with bankruptcy at the end of
Nacchio's five-year tenure in 2002, stung by an accounting
scandal and saddled with $25 billion in debt.
Still, Nacchio reaped more than $200 million in stock sales,
bonuses and salary. His wife, Anne Esker, is listed as the owner
of a mansion in Florida valued at $6.2
A woman who answered the phone Tuesday at Nacchio's home in
Mendham promptly hung up after a reporter identified himself.
In April 2007, Nacchio was convicted on 19 counts of illegal
insider trading and acquitted on 23 counts. The jury
determined that Nacchio sold $52 million in Qwest stock in early
2001 based on private warnings that the company was in financial
Since the conviction, the case has been on a legal roller
coaster. A federal appeals panel overturned the conviction in
2008, only to have the full 10th Circuit Court of Appeals
reinstate it in February.
Nacchio was ordered to report to prison in March, only to have
that date delayed amid a flurry of filings by his attorney to
allow him to remain free on bail.
Tuesday's ruling by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer means
Nacchio will probably remain behind bars at least until June,
when the court is expected to decide whether to review his
If the court reviews the case, Nacchio could be awarded bail.
Some of the $71 million in forfeitures and fines Nacchio has
been ordered to pay may ultimately be distributed to investors
who bought Qwest stock from 1999 to 2002.
Andy Vuong: 303-954-1209 or