NEW YORK (AP) – Boy, for a while there the business headlines of 2005 started sounding uncomfortably like those of the 1970s. Oilmen hadn’t been looked upon with such scorn since the days of J.R. Ewing, as the outrageous price of gas was overshadowed only by the outrageous price of designer jeans. Luckily, it appears the worst of it was only a temporary flashback. By the end of the year, we were blissfully back in the brave new world, stuffing stockings with 21st century gadgets and stocking up on Tamiflu in case our true love gave us a partridge in a pear tree this year. But many of the big winners and losers of the business world in 2005 still have a noticeably retro feel, perhaps because some are old enough to have entered early retirement in the 1970s. Still, the younger ones showed that the new generation has found novel ways to work the system or go down in flames. So throw another barrel of crude on the disco inferno as we revisit this year’s wise men and whiz kids, its scrooges and stooges. And forgive us if we can’t get some of those ’70s tunes out of our head. WINNER: Richard Scrushy Sweet home Alabama sure was a sweet home to Richard Scrushy this year. The founder of HealthSouth Corp. was the first corporate executive to get his feet held to the fire under the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate-reporting law. He stood trial accused of leading a $2.7 billion accounting fraud. But Scrushy and his feet emerged unscathed in June after a jury on his home turf cleared him of all 36 counts. The Alabama getaway led many observers to question why the feds didn’t move the venue to a state where the skies aren’t so blue. And, perhaps, where the jury’s metaphors aren’t so mixed: “The smoking gun wasn’t pointing toward Mr. Scrushy,” Juror 538 said after the verdict. LOSER: Harry Stonecipher Harry Stonecipher came back to Boeing Co. just when the aerospace giant needed him most _ as it was trying to put a series of defense-contract scandals behind it. But Harry was not the bridge over troubled water that Boeing had hoped he’d be. Fifteen months into his tenure as CEO, Stonecipher was forced to resign in March over a new ethics scandal: an affair he had with a female Boeing executive. They say that breaking up is hard to do, but in Harry’s case it happened quickly: A few days after he resigned, and a month after his 50th wedding anniversary, Stonecipher’s wife filed for divorce. WINNER: Sheldon Adelson Someone must have forgotten to tell Sheldon Adelson that “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” The chairman of Las Vegas Sands Corp. wants to reproduce the Sin City strip half a world away, on the Chinese resort of Macau. He’s already raking in big bucks with his “temporary casino” in Macau now, but the Asian version of Vegas eventually will be centered on a huge, $1.8 billion replica of the Sands’ Venetian casino. Investors were giddy over the company’s prospects, sending shares of Sands up more than 60 percent on the day they debuted in late 2004. As a result, Adelson leapfrogged 291 spots on the Forbes list of billionaires this year, now sitting in the 19th spot with a net worth estimated at $15.6 billion. LOSER: Hank Greenberg Now some people call him a fraudulent conveyer. Some call him MRG. Some people call him Maurice. And he’s definitely a joker: According to a witness in the civil suit against him by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, the former CEO of American International Group Inc. had a good laugh after he asked an underling “are we legal?” and the employee responded: “If we were legal, we wouldn’t be in business.” But the alleged accounting hanky panky that Hank laughed at then eventually forced him from the throne of AIG, the insurance firm that was once jokingly referred to as “All is Greenberg.” WINNER: Alan Greenspan Maybe it’s the windshield-sized eyeglasses he wears, but this dude definitely sees things that the rest of us don’t. Greenspan famously liked to compare the economy to a bathtub, with his job being to tinker with the faucet knobs to make sure the water never got too hot or cold. Sure, things got a little warm in some spots over his 18-year tenure. And the Google guys have been hogging the rubber ducky lately. But there’s a reason that Greenspan’s critics are few and far between. As he heads off into the sunset, we reflect back on the long and winding road he led us on and think: The tub never got hot enough to fog up those specs of his. LOSER: Carly Fiorina For much of her career, Carly Fiorina’s fans were singing “nobody does it better.” But by the end, they were drowned out by the critics singing “you’re so vain,” accusing the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co. of spending too much time in front of the cameras instead of executing the board’s strategy. She was ousted in February, while HP’s stock was down two-thirds from its peak in 2000. WINNER: Mark Lanier Mark Lanier, you just won a $253 million jury award for the widow of a man who died from a heart attack after taking Merck & Co.’s painkiller Vioxx. What will you do next? Why, hire Dolly Parton to sing at a Christmas party, of course! That’s right, the year’s most high-profile attorney celebrated the season with a holiday hoe-down featuring the buxom blonde. We didn’t get a copy of the set list, but if we were in attendance we’d have requested her chart topper “Why’d You Come in Here Lookin’ Like That.” That one goes out to the losing plaintiff’s attorneys in the second Vioxx case in New Jersey. LOSER: Phillip Bennett Former Refco Inc. CEO Phillip Bennett tried to get by with a little help from his friends this year, borrowing close to half a billion bucks from an Austrian bank to cover $430 million in bad debt he allegedly hid from regulators and shareholders of the commodities brokerage. But it didn’t work. Refco’s customers and investors fled when the scheme was uncovered in October. In a flash, Refco’s stock was kicked off the NYSE and lost nearly all its value, while the company headed to bankruptcy court. Bennett, who was indicted in November, will have to face the music in the form of federal securities fraud charges. WINNER: Niklas Zennstrom Any eBay user who pays the “buy it now” price is sure to get some positive feedback from sellers on the site. Unfortunately for eBay Inc. CEO Meg Whitman, Wall Street does not work the same way. Whitman had some explaining to do after eBay announced it was buying Niklas Zennstrom’s Internet phone company in a deal that could be worth more than $4 billion. Zennstrom’s company, Skype Technologies SA, had just $7 million in sales in 2004. While enjoying the windfall, Zennstrom, a 39-year-old Swede, will retain his CEO position at Skype (rhymes with “hype”) and join eBay’s senior executive team. LOSER: Robert A. McCormick Christmas came early for the New York tabloids this year when Santa gave them Robert McCormick, the CEO of telecom firm Savvis Inc. who resigned in November over a $241,000 bill he charged to his corporate card at a New York strip club. It must’ve been a fabulous night for a lap dance. The 2003 bacchanalia came to light when American Express sued Savvis for not paying the bill. Savvis insists the tab is McCormick’s to pay. Maybe the club will let him work it off by washing dishes. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!