Mays Business School
Bottom Line Ethics
31Jan/142

Barry and Me

Barry Minkow is a classic rags-to-riches American story. Or maybe it’s more like a rags to riches to orange jumpsuit to crime fighter to clerical collar to fraudulent short-seller to multimillion dollar church embezzlement story. He is currently serving a sentence for insider trading related to false accusations against homebuilder Lennar Corp. that drove its stock down while he shorted it. But he also pled guilty last week to embezzling $3,000,000 from the church he pastored, San Diego Community Bible Church. Even now, after all I have known about Minkow through the years, his chutzpah floors me. He was able to convince the court that he committed the Lennar fraud to fund his addiction to Oxycontin, potentially shortening his sentence because of his participation in a drug treatment program. If I was a guard, I would be checking his cell every thirty minutes.

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7Nov/131

A Step Back in Time

I often write about establishing and maintaining values, but I rarely speak about passing on values. Last weekend afforded me a remarkable opportunity to observe what values have been passed on to my children, and made me reconsider who I need to be today. My wife and I gathered with our five children to attend a University of Nebraska home football game, something we had not done since I was an assistant professor there 20 years ago.

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12Apr/13175

Redemption

Helen Sharkey is a felon. That sentence seems in every way to be wrong, even as I write it. Helen Sharkey is a mom of Tae Kwon Do twins, a loving wife, a faithful friend. She is a diminutive dynamo, energetically expressing truth, thoughtfully responding to questions. She is a star, a top accounting graduate of Southwestern University with a Big 4 pedigree who had a rising career in the energy industry. But, there it is again. Helen Sharkey is a felon.

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4Apr/13120

Rush to Judgment

As an NBA fan, officials are not high on my favorites list. As a San Antonio Spurs fan, one official in particular draws the ire of all Tim Duncan supporters: Joey Crawford. Crawford is famous for throwing Spurs star Tim Duncan out of a late 2007 season game against the Mavericks for laughing at his officiating calls from the bench. But the referee was suspended for the rest of the season and playoffs, apparently for challenging Duncan to a fight in the confrontation. Crawford has recently said that the event caused him to reevaluate the way he refereed and to seek more extensive counseling to deal with anger management.

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22Jan/13135

Gullibility and sincerity

I have hesitated to write about this past week’s revelations about Manti Te’o and Lance Armstrong until I had some time to process them, and until I gave the Te’o story a little more time to play out. What these two stories have revealed is remarkable in a lot of ways. But the two words I keep returning to are gullibility and sincerity.

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Filed under: Athletics 135 Comments
26Nov/12136

Can you teach ethics?

One of the most frequently encountered questions for an ethics professor is the basic one: “Can you teach ethics?” This, of course, is mildly threatening if you are a self-interested prof whose very role depends on the answer to that question being “yes.” How can anyone teaching ethics answer that question objectively?

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Filed under: Family 136 Comments
4Nov/12104

Trying to control the uncontrollable

Would you like a recipe for driving yourself crazy if you are a control freak? Then follow your fantasy football team on the Sunday before a national election. It is hilarious for me to think that I have any control over how anyone on my fantasy football team will perform.

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27Sep/12148

The line

The picture in this post looks innocuous enough. Students are often in line—waiting to get into an exam or a class, waiting for tickets to a football game, waiting for a bus. But this line was different.

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Filed under: Texas A&M 148 Comments
30Apr/12118

Why I teach ethics

For six weeks I am the conductor, not so much of an orchestra as of a train. I set the thing in motion in a direction, and a number hop on for the whole ride. As I look in my mirror, I can see others bailing out of a boxcar and rolling down the embankment along the tracks. I even get the occasional call from someone who was left behind in the station.

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Filed under: Texas A&M 118 Comments
11Apr/12132

Tick, tick, tick

I have written on multiple occasions about the tendency in our society for competence to trump integrity. Highly skilled individuals who accomplish the goals of those who hire them are regularly given free rein to succeed by whatever means necessary.

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Filed under: Athletics 132 Comments