Jurors saw a videotape Tuesday of dancing women, half-naked male models and “Margaritaville” singer Jimmy Buffett at a $2 million party that L. Dennis Kozlowski, former CEO of Tyco International, threw for his wife’s birthday on a Mediterranean island.
Prosecutors maintained the party, more than half of which was paid for with company money, was a “stark example” of how Kozlowski and former chief financial officer Mark Swartz looted hundreds of millions from Tyco for their personal benefit.
“It’s going to be a fun week,” the tape shows Kozlowski telling about 75 guests arriving to celebrate Karen Mayo’s 40th birthday on the Italian island of Sardinia on June 11, 2001. “Eating, drinking, whatever. All the things we’re best known for.”
The tape shows five young women in scantiaphanous frocks cavorting around a swimming pool, half-naked male models posing in snapshots with female guests and a performance by music legend Jimmy Buffett.
The jurors saw 21 minutes of what had been a four-hour videotape. State Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus, who is presiding at Kozlowski and Swartz’s larceny trial, ordered some segments removed, saying they could prejudice the jury against the defendants and were irrelevant to whether they had committed any crimes.
The portions removed include shots of an anatomically correct ice sculpture of Michelangelo’s “David” urinating vodka, two men dressed as ancient Romans carrying Kozlowski’s wife over their heads, and a scene in which a man drops his pants for the camera.
Tyco party planner Barbara Jacques testified that singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett and his group were flown in at a cost of $250,000.
Defense lawyer Austin Campriello conceded that the party was held as a birthday celebration, but he said Tyco business was taken care of as well.
The lawyer also got Jacques to acknowledge that several weeks before the bash, she and Kozlowski discussed the party’s cost. She said she estimated the total at about $2 million and said Kozlowski guessed his share would be about $1 million.
Outside court, Kozlowski smiled and said, “Wasn’t that tape boring?”
Kozlowski and Swartz are on trial in Manhattan’s state Supreme Court charged with grand larceny and enterprise corruption for allegedly stealing some $600 million from Tyco. Each faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.
Prosecutors say the two stole $170 million from Tyco by taking and hiding unauthorized pay and bonuses, raiding company loan programs and forgiving loans to themselves. They say the defendants made another $430 million on their Tyco stock by lying about the conglomerate’s financial condition from 1995 into 2002.
Defense lawyers say Kozlowski and Swartz earned all the compensation they got from Tyco and all the appropriate overseers knew about their compensation and loans.