| A video grab shows Kozlowski with women in togas at his wife’s week-long birthday party (Reuters)
New York, Oct. 29 (Reuters): Jurors in the trial of former Tyco International chairman Dennis Kozlowski were treated on Tuesday to a rare glimpse of one of the biggest corporate parties in recent memory — a $ 2.1-million birthday celebration replete with togas, chariots and torches.
Jurors were shown a 30-minute video of the 40th birthday party for Kozlowski’s wife as part of a case that accuses him and former Tyco finance chief Mark Swartz of looting the company out of $600 million.
Tyco footed about half the bill for the party in Sardinia, which featured an ice sculpture of Michelangelo’s David spewing vodka from his penis and a birthday cake in the shape of a woman’s breasts with sparklers mounted on top.
Those and other saucy scenes were edited out of the video shown to jurors, who instead saw Kozlowski welcoming guests, toasting his wife and dancing to a performance by singer Jimmy Buffett playing a cover of Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl”. Buffett was paid $ 2,50,000 for his appearance.
Shots of bare-chested, tanned and muscular men alongside stunning women in revealing togas were the raciest scenes in the video, which was pieced together from the weeklong event. At one point, an archer shot a flaming arrow that set off nearby sparklers spelling out “Congratulations Karen and Dennis.” “It’s going to be a fun week, sailing on the Endeavor, tennis, golf, eating, drinking. All the things we are best known for," Kozlowski says on the video to the 75 guests arriving for the festivities.
Jurors showed little reaction, and many in the crowded courtroom appeared bored by the cleaned-up video of the birthday party for Kozlowski’s second wife, Karen Mayo, at Sardinia's Hotel Cala di Volpe. For his part, Kozlowski watched the video, along with a 20-minute display of still photographs, on a small monitor from his seat at the defence table, smiling and nodding his head at several different points.
“Is it true that — in addition to networking — many Tyco programs were designed simply and purely as a reward'” Campriello asked. Again, Jacques said that was true.
Later, his defence attorney tried to bring out testimony that the party also included key business meetings and that Kozlowski had no knowledge of plans for “gladiators,” “chariots” or “dancing around a pool”.
After the video and still pictures were displayed, Austin Campriello asked former Tyco events coordinator Barbara Jacques whether it would “be correct to say that once the concept was given to you ... you ran with the ball without a lot of consultation with Dennis Kozlowski.” “That is correct,” said Jacques. Campriello asked Jacques about the purpose of the Sardinia event, along with Tyco functions in Hawaii and Scotland.
Kozlowski and Swartz are standing trial on a 35-count indictment in state Supreme Court in New York. The trial is expected to last several months.