DENVER (CBS4)– Reaction has been heated when former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio lashed out at those who put him in federal prison for insider trading in a rare interview.

Nacchio, who was released after serving 4 1/2 years and paying millions of dollars in restitution, spoke near his home in Florida with CBS4’s Rick Sallinger. It is the only interview Nacchio has granted with a Colorado reporter to date since his time behind bars.

Joe Nacchio talks with CBS4's Rick Sallinger (credit: CBS)

Joe Nacchio talks with CBS4’s Rick Sallinger (credit: CBS)

Nacchio predicted a bright future for Qwest when he was CEO of the Colorado-based telecommunications company. But its stock crashed in 2001.

He expressed sympathy for those retirees whose savings disappeared.

“Absolutely, absolutely. Look, I think it’s horrible what happened to people’s wealth and the company,” said Nacchio.

(credit: Kevin Moloney/Getty Images)

(credit: Kevin Moloney/Getty Images)

One viewer wrote to CBS4, “You locked up the 401K so we couldn’t get out. You owe me $250K.”

The frustration remains for the many retirees whose accounts have evaporated while Naccho sold his stock and made millions.

RELATED: Defiant Joe Nacchio Lashes Out At Those Who Sent Him To Prison

“They were very upset that he didn’t have to spend longer in prison. They are very upset that he continues to have tens of millions of dollars even after paying all the fines and proceeds from the sale of his stock,” said Mimi Hull of the U.S. West Retirees Association.

Nacchio admitted that he is quite wealthy, “They took $65 million but they didn’t take everything. I’m quite well off.”

Another CBS4 viewer wrote, “He still has so much money, even after he took “our” company down. It makes me physically ill.”


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