NEW YORK, N.Y. – A former business titan convicted more than a decade ago in a notorious corporate fraud case that featured headline-grabbing tales of excessive spending is now board chairman of a New York City non-profit that helps ex-prisoners re-enter society, the group announced Tuesday.
Ex-Tyco International CEO L. Dennis Kozlowski, who served 6 1/2 years behind bars after he and another executive were convicted of looting millions of dollars from the security systems company, said he was honoured to lead The Fortune Society’s 31-member board.
“I was fortunate where I had a support system and was able to have family and friends to help me land on my feet,” he said. “But most people don’t have that and most people need a lot of help.”
The group serves about 5,500 formerly incarcerated people every year with help getting jobs, housing, health services, education and anything else they need.
JoAnne Page, the group’s president and CEO, touted Kozlowski’s business experience and passion for the work, saying in a statement he “has already proven himself to be an inspirational leader.”
An inquiry into whether Kozlowski evaded paying millions of dollars in taxes on art turned into a sprawling investigation into his use of Tyco funds for lavish spending, including a $6,000 shower curtain.
Prosecutors also detailed a $2 million toga party he threw on an Italian island in 2001 — complete with an appearance by Jimmy Buffett and an ice sculpture of Michelangelo’s “David” urinating vodka.
Kozlowski and Tyco’s chief financial officer were convicted on charges related to accusations that they collected a combined $150 million in unapproved compensation and improperly made $430 million more by manipulating Tyco’s stock value.
Kozlowski, who told a parole board in 2013 his crimes were motivated by greed, said his only desires now are to run his own general business consulting practice and help The Fortune Society.
“I’ve moved on from all of that,” he said of the 2005 scandal.