it reminds me of Bre-X Minerals, and the fate of geologist Michael De Guzman Former Enron Executive Commits Suicide, Police Say By C. Bryson Hull HOUSTON (Reuters) - A former senior Enron Corp. executive who railed against the murky transactions that ultimately drove the energy giant to ruin apparently shot himself to death on Friday, Texas police said. J. Clifford Baxter, 43, was found with a single gunshot wound to the head on Friday, said police in Sugar Land, a suburb southwest of Houston. Baxter was found inside his Mercedes with a suicide note and revolver at his side, said police spokeswoman Patricia Whitty. There were no apparent signs of foul play and he had Enron identification in his wallet, she said. The car was parked on a median strip in his affluent neighborhood. ``We feel that it is a suicide, but we are taking all precautions that are necessary,'' Sgt. Truman Body said. He declined to divulge the contents of the note, saying that the investigation was still open despite the initial findings. Body said an autopsy was expected shortly. Enron said it was ``deeply saddened by the tragic loss of our friend and colleague, Cliff Baxter. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.'' Baxter was vice chairman of the collapsed energy trader when he resigned in May, ostensibly to spend more time with his family. He had reportedly feuded with then-Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Skilling over the propriety of off-balance sheet transactions that hid billions in debt and ultimately triggered the once-mighty Houston company's spiral into the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history. ``Cliff Baxter complained mightily to Skilling and all who would listen about the inappropriateness of our transactions with LJM,'' Enron whistle-blower Sherron Watkins wrote to Chairman and CEO Ken Lay, who resigned on Wednesday, in an Aug. 14 letter. His complaints targeted the LJM and LJM2 investment partnerships managed by then-Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow, who earned $30 million for that work in addition to his Enron salary. Fastow declined to comment through a representative, while a spokeswoman for Skilling did not immediately return a call seeking comment. SUED FOR STOCK SALES Baxter was the subject of lawsuits that targeted 29 of Enron's top directors and insiders, accusing them of cashing in on inside information at the expense of stockholders. According to court records and securities filings, Baxter earned some $35.2 million by exercising Enron stock options, including $9 million in 2001 alone. His role at Enron, people familiar with his career there say, was primarily in mergers and acquisitions. He helped engineer the purchases to build up Enron's failed water venture, Azurix Corp., and of Oregon utility Portland General Electric. in 1997. A native of Amityville, N.Y., he joined Enron in 1991 after a career as an investment banker and serving as a U.S. Air Force captain. He earned his bachelor's degree from New York University and his MBA from Columbia University, where he was valedictorian of his class. He was named chairman and CEO of Enron North America, the energy trader's then-powerful trading division, before being named chief strategy officer. In October 2000, he was promoted to vice chairman. He was not, despite the title, second-in-command. That role went to Skilling, who assumed CEO duties from Lay in February 2001, before resigning unexpectedly six months later.