Leonard Dennis Kozlowski (born November 16, 1946) is a former CEO of Tyco International, convicted in 2005 of crimes related to his receipt of $81 million in unauthorized bonuses, the purchase of art for $14.725 million and the payment by Tyco of a $20 million investment banking fee to Frank Walsh, a former Tyco director. He is currently serving 8.33 to 25 years at the Mid-State Correctional Facility in Marcy, New York. He is scheduled for release on parole as soon as January 17, 2014. According to New York state inmate directory he has been granted conditional release at Lincoln Correctional Facility in New York City.
Kozlowski was born in Newark, New Jersey. His mother, Agnes (née Kozell), worked for the Newark Police Department and as a school crossing guard, and his father, Leo Kelly Kozlowski, worked for the Public Service Transport. His parents were second-generation Polish-Americans. Kozlowski attended Seton Hall University, a Catholic university.
Kozlowski joined Tyco in 1975, becoming CEO in 1992. With Kozlowski at the helm, Tyco massively expanded during the late 1990s. The company consistently beat Wall Street's expectations and through a series of strategic mergers and acquisitions, ushered in a new era 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, Ruth Jordan – who sided with Kozlowski – later claimed that she was threatened by a member of the public. 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 of crimes related to his receipt of $81 million in purportedly unauthorized bonuses, the purchase of art for $14.725 million and the payment by Tyco of a $20 million investment banking fee to Frank Walsh, a former Tyco director. 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.
Kozlowski, New York State Department of Correctional Services # 05A4820, is in Mid-State Correctional Facility.
His aggregate minimum sentence is 8 years and 4 months, and his aggregate maximum sentence is 25 years. In April 2012, Kozlowski was denied parole; his next parole hearing will be in late 2013. His parole eligibility date and his parole hearing merit release appearance are on January 17, 2014. His conditional release date is on May 17, 2022. His maximum expiration date is September 17, 2030.
Commenting on his trial
Kozlowski, 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."
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 denied 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 and $15,000 "dog umbrella stands".
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. He also purchased a multi-million dollar oceanfront estate on the island of Nantucket.
Tyco paid $1 million (half of the $2 million bill) for the 40th birthday party of Kozlowski's second wife, Karen Mayo Kozlowski. The extravagant party, held on the Italian island of Sardinia, featured an ice sculpture of Michelangelo's David urinating Stolichnaya vodka and a private concert by Jimmy Buffett. 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. Kozlowski said his wife visited him in prison just once – and that was to tell him that she wanted a divorce, and that she wanted money. She married a Baltimore property developer shortly thereafter.
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