From the Desk of Blair Lovern

Darwin Deason caught up in national stock options scandal

By Blair Lovern
Tuesday, January 2, 2007

The Wall Street Journal recently looked into the curious life of Darwin Deason, the extravagant chairman of the board at Affiliated Computer Services, Inc., who has attracted several wives, gobs of money and now federal prosecutors. (The link may be tricky, because of a quirk on the WSJ site, and you may have to click it twice.)

In the 1980s, as well, Affiliated Computer Services was investigated for stock options scandal. ACS paid a fine and grew into a $5 billion company. After that, Deason paid $3.75 million to settle a lawsuit against a bankruptcy trustee, who said Deason took money from another company and used it for personal expenses like plastic surgery and dry cleaning.

The CEO and CFO of Affiliated Computer Services resigned this past November. Reports the Journal about Deason on December 30:

Now he is in the spotlight again, caught up in the billowing national scandal over backdating of stock options. Although Mr. Deason, who retired as CEO in 1999 and is still ACS's chairman, received two option grants dated on extremely favorable days, two internal probes didn't find evidence that Mr. Deason knew about or took part in any backdating. But federal officials are looking at his conduct and that of other ACS figures, according to someone familiar with the matter.

The backdating scandal has focused attention on CEOs from corporate giants like UnitedHealth Group Inc. to small firms. But few have the colorful history of Mr. Deason, 66, or his record of bouncing back from controversy.

D Magazine profiled Deason in 2003 after some sort of crazy yacht chef incident (just read it, I can't explain it.)


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