Dennis Kozlowski

Leo Dennis Kozlowski (born November 16 1946, Newark, New Jersey) is a former CEO of Tyco International, convicted of misappropriating more than $400 million of the company's funds. He is currently serving at least eight years and four months in prison.

Tyco International

Kozlowski joined Tyco in 1975, becoming CEO in 1992. Credited with Tyco's massive expansion in the late 1990s, Tyco consistently beat Wall Street's expectations and through a series of strategic mergers and acquisitions, ushered in an entirely new generation of mega-conglomerates. Kozlowski left Tyco in 2002, amid a controversy in regard to his compensation package.

Scandal, trial, and conviction

Kozlowski has been tried twice. The first attempt was a mistrial as one of the jurors - who sided with Kozlowski - later claimed that she was threatened. Kozlowski testified on his own behalf during the second trial, stating that his pay package was "confusing" and "almost embarrassingly big", but that he never committed a crime as the company's top executive.

Kozlowski was convicted on June 17 2005 for misappropriation of Tyco's corporate funds, among other charges. The prosecution won a total of 22 counts of grand larceny for $150 million in unauthorized bonuses. He was convicted of fraud against the company shareholders for an amount of more than $400 million.

On September 19 2005 he was sentenced by Judge Michael Obus of the Manhattan Supreme Court to serve from eight years and four months to twenty-five years in prison for his role in the scandal.

Commenting on his trial

Many have commented that Kozlowski received a light sentence for his criminal convictions, including those who made important business decisions based upon the financial figures that Tyco was releasing at the time.

Kozlowski himself, commenting on his trial in a March 2007 interview with the CBS television newsmagazine 60 Minutes, told Morley Safer, "I was a guy sitting in a courtroom making $100 million a year [a]nd I think a juror sitting there just would have to say, 'All that money? He must have done something wrong.' I think ... it's as simple as that."

Kozlowski, however, asserted his innocence by stating, "I am absolutely not guilty of the charges... . There was no criminal intent here. Nothing was hidden. There were no shredded documents... . All the information the prosecutors got was directly off the books and records of the company."

Kozlowski is not the only one to question his conviction. Writing in Forbes at the end of the second trial, Dan Ackman said :

It's fair to say that Kozlowski and Swartz abused many corporate prerogatives and that they invented new ones just so they could abuse them. They acted like pigs, as a lot of CEOs act like pigs. Still, the larceny charges at the heart of the case did not depend on whether the defendants took the money--they did--but whether they were authorized to take it. Questions of authority are, by nature, legal questions, not questions for jurors. Much has been made of how the second Tyco trial was less of a circus than the first one. That's true, but only by comparison.

On November 15, 2007, the appellate division of the New York State Supreme Court ruled to deny Kozlowski's appeal in a unanimous decision.


Kozlowski became notorious for his extravagant lifestyle supported by the booming stock market of the late 1990s and early 2000s; allegedly, he had Tyco pay for his $30 million New York City apartment which included $6,000 shower curtains.

According to Forbes, Kozlowski also purchased several acres in the private gated community, "The Sanctuary", in Boca Raton, Florida, while he was CEO at Tyco International.

Tyco paid $1 million (half the bill) for the 40th birthday party of Kozlowski's wife, Karen M. Kozlowski. The extravagant party, held on the Italian island of Sardinia, featured an ice sculpture of the Statue of David urinating Stolichnaya vodka. This birthday bash was disguised as a shareholder meeting in order to get corporate funding. In a camcorder video, Dennis Kozlowski states that this party will bring out a Tyco core competency - the ability to party hard. Subsequently, this shareholder meeting/birthday party became known as the Tyco Roman Orgy.

On July 31 2006, Karen Kozlowski filed for divorce in Palm Beach County, Florida. No specific reasons were cited, but the motion asks the court to equitably distribute the couple's assets and liabilities and asks that gifts Karen received be declared marital property. She also seeks a lien on the couple's Boca Raton mansion. Finally, the motion requested alimony.


See also

External links

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