Dear Mr. Scrushy:
Congratulations on beating the rap
in your $2.7-billion accounting fraud trial. That is no mean feat.
However, there are a lot of people who are coming to terms with your acquittal, not ready to attach "innocence" to your name. Just ask Michael Jackson, who beat his charges, but was labelled as a "probable pedophile
" by one of the twelve who set him free.
So, here are some things I recommend you do to repair your public image:
1) Be Gracious
. Avoid speaking ill of anyone who wished you the worst. Keep the focus on you and your family. And take a vacation.
2) Don't storm the citadel at HealthSouth
. Yes, it's your baby. Yes, as far as the law is concerned, you've been vindicated and have every right to reclaim your office. Don't. They will make your return ugly
. Express your relief that HealthSouth is on better financial footing. You can go home again, but don't sour your public persona by running back inside today. That would look too greedy.
3) Do not cancel your "Morning Viewpoint" show.
Too many people saw this show as a transparent ploy to recast your image. Prove them wrong.
4) Re-invest in the community
. Yeah, a lot of organizations were quick to pull your name off those schools and buildings and streets and libraries that carried your name. That's not what you need to re-approach. Let your next wave of philanthropy be quiet -- let word of mouth carry the day. As long as you don't appear to be "buying" good will, you'll succeed. You lost a lot of people at once, you need to get them back one at a time.
As I write this, you are already putting some of this advice to use. I heard you say something to the effect of "We give all the glory to God, who gave me and my wife the strength to endure this torture..." It's not enough to say the right things... you've got to live them over time. Just use the same discipline
you did in the pre-trial phase.
Just be content to re-cast a new legacy. Leave the old one behind. There was too much baggage there anyway.
Trying to be fair, your pal...
(p.s. -- some of my friends reading this may have other advice for you too. They'll add it to the comments section.)