The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. The American author F. Scott Fitzgerald once opined, "The rich are different than you and I." To which Ernest Hemingway replied, "Yes, they have more money." Shareholders in Nortel Networks are unlikely to be called rich these days, but they may be inspired by the two literary lions. They can either drink themselves to death or shoot themselves in the head. The astounding decline in the fortunes of the telecom giant has greatly altered the economic landscape. At one time, the high-flying Nortel stock was distorting the results of the TSE 300. Now it is a drain upon the markets.  What is truly remarkable is how CEO John Roth has emerged unscathed from this debacle. Here is a man who has presided over a 91 per cent decline in share price, a loss of nearly US$24 billion in one year and the dumping of thousands of people, dismissals that were handled so badly they have created much ill will towards the company. His alleged leak of bad financial results on a webcast, in advance of formal public notice, has drawn a class action lawsuit.  Stockwell Day has been pilloried for less. But Roth is permitted to draw his US$100 million in salary, bonuses and stock options (not that they're worth much these days). By next spring he will saunter into retirement, no doubt taking a healthy pension with him.  Through it all, Roth has been viewed as someone with incredibly bad luck, rather than being held responsible for the crash of a Canadian corporate icon. Apologists point to the decline throughout the telecom sector. While other firms are hurting as well, take a look at Nortel rival Cisco. It is debt-free and boasts US$17 billion in liquid assets. Some analysts expect it to start slashing prices in an attempt to bid farewell to its northern competitor once and for all.  Roth should heed history when it comes to bad administration. The week he announced the disastrous second quarter results also marked the 83rd anniversary of Czar Nicholas and his family being brought to answer by the Bolsheviks. And look at what happened to them.