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Extraordinary Circumstances. The Journey of a Corporate Whistleblower. Edition No. 1

  • ID: 2219888
  • Book
  • April 2009
  • 416 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
The longer WorldCom Chief Audit Executive Cynthia Cooper stares at the entries in front of her, the more sinister they seem. But the CFO is badgering her to delay her team's audit of the company's books and directing others to block Cooper's efforts. Still, something in the pit of her stomach tells her to keep digging. Cooper takes readers behind the scenes on a riveting, real-time journey as she and her team work at night and behind closed doors to expose the largest fraud in corporate history. Whom can they trust? Could she lose her job? Should she fear for her physical safety?

In Extraordinary Circumstances, she recounts for the first time her journey from her close family upbringing in a small Mississippi town, to working motherhood and corporate success, to the pressures of becoming a whistleblower, to being named one of Time's 2002 Persons of the Year. She also provides a rare insider's glimpse into the spectacular rise and fall of WorldCom, a telecom titan, the darling of Wall Street, and a Cinderella story for Mississippi.

With remarkable candor, Cooper discusses her struggle to overcome these challenges, and how she has found healing through sharing the lessons learned with the next generation. This book reminds us all that ethical decision-making is not forged at the crossroads of major events but starts in childhood, "decision by decision and brick by brick."

At a time when corporate dishonesty is dominating public attention, Extraordinary Circumstances makes it clear that the tone set at the top is critical to fostering an ethical environment in the work-place. Provocative, moving, and intensely personal, Extraordinary Circumstances is a wake-up call to corporate leaders and an intimate glimpse at a scandal that shook the business world.

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Dedication vi

Introduction vii

Acknowledgments xi

CHAPTER 1 A Dark Cloud 1

CHAPTER 2 Graduation Day 12

CHAPTER 3 New Beginnings 26

CHAPTER 4 Hotlanta 41

CHAPTER 5 The Turnaround 50

CHAPTER 6 Coming Home 60

CHAPTER 7 Building A New Life 71

CHAPTER 8 King of the Resellers 82

CHAPTER 9 The Hottest Company in Town 91

CHAPTER 10 Nowhere to Go But Up 105

CHAPTER 11 A New Era 123

CHAPTER 12 The Glass Sieve 137

CHAPTER 13 The Tide Comes In 145

CHAPTER 14 The Minnow Swallows the Whale 151

CHAPTER 15 Finding Balance 163

CHAPTER 16 Top of the Mountain 167

CHAPTER 17 A Double-Edged Sword 174

CHAPTER 18 A Titan Stumbles 184

CHAPTER 19 The Rule of Ten 202

CHAPTER 20 What is Prepaid Capacity? 217

CHAPTER 21 Growing Suspicions 229

CHAPTER 22 A Surprise Visit 242

CHAPTER 23 The Confrontation 251

CHAPTER 24 A Desperate Search For Counsel 265

CHAPTER 25 Washington Attorneys Visit the Deep South 280

CHAPTER 26 Navigating the Storm 296

CHAPTER 27 A Visit to Federal Court 322

CHAPTER 28 The United States Versus Bernard J. Ebbers 338

CHAPTER 29 The Judgment 351




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Cynthia Cooper
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