Although Gary Weiss has been on to him months, Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne admitted to “pulling a Mackey” last night, writing on the Overstock website that, like Whole Foods CEO John “Rahodeb” Mackey, he posted on company-related message boards pseudonymously.
Byrne’s admission comes in response to this New York Times article, where he told reporters that unlike Mackey, “he never hides his true identity and always signs his name when he posts under his online handle, ‘Hannibal.’” But it appears that Byrne has occasionally let the sobriquet stand alone. Last night, Byrne wrote in an open letter to Times reporter Brad Stone,
Please provide a citation for this claim: “Mr. Byrne said that he never hides his true identity and always signs his name when he posts under his online handle, ‘Hannibal'”. Is it your claim that I used the words “always” and “never” in some message board post (and if so, please cite that post), or is it your claim that I stated this in our interview? I know for a fact that the claim is false as regards our interview, and believe it to be false with regard to any online posting, but I stand ready to be corrected.
DealBreaker readers probably need no introduction to Overstock.com and the shenanigans of its officers. Frankly, we’ve left off talking about the faltering company because it had almost succeeded in making mockery impossible. What do you do when a CEO is complaining about “Sith Lords” and a company is bleeding board members like a European royal with a paper cut. It’s such a joke that there aren’t any more jokes to make.
But just when we thought that things could get much worse over there, things get much worse. Gary Weiss brings to our attention the most recent activities of Overstock’s chief propagandist, Judd Bagley. It seems that Bagley has been threatening to out a message critic of Overstock in an effort to chill criticism of the company. (After the jump, read Bagley’s blackmail-ish letter).
And now he’s made good on the threat. Embarrassingly for Overstock, however, the critic they’ve outed is not exactly a member of a cabal of Wall Street short sellers who have it out for Overstock. He’s just a regular guy from Connersville, Indiana who went public with his opinions about the company. Does Overstock.com Have a Board of Directors? [Gary Weiss] This Week’s Threats [O-Smear] THE LATEST: Hoosier daddy? ScipioAfricanus uncovered in Indiana. [Antisocialmedia.net]
In a recent open letter– seriously– to Eliot Spitzer and Andrew Cuomo, Gary Weiss goes to bat for Dick Grasso, claiming he deserved (and deserves) “every penny” of his compensation package, and that Cuomo should drop what Spitzer started. (Weiss also brags about how he “used to slam [Grasso]…in Business Week” before it was fashionable to do so and calls him a “bald little man,” which we think is kind of uncalled for and somewhat counterintuitive but won’t pass judgment on at this time). Weiss would also, apparently, like Cuomo to focus his attention on the securities arbitration system, pump and dump fraud, hedge funds, and naked short-selling conspiracy theorist CEOs. When he finally has him where he wants him, Weiss takes Cuomo to task for using the phrase “different time” twice–twice!– in a recent interview. Then he signs his name in letters cut out of magazines and newspapers, and encloses a picture of Cuomo’s bulldog Maude, who, suspiciously, has recently gone missing.* Dear Eliot, Dear Andrew [Forbes]
*Okay, fine, no. But we’ve only seen the online edition– this could have legitimately happened in print.
Gary Weiss, author of Wall Street Versus Americapoints out that today is the close of the comment period for the Securities and Exchange Commission rule proposal on “fails to deliver” securities—basically, the anti-naked short regulation.
As he notes, the National Coalition Against Naked Short Selling—described by Weiss as an “”astroturf’(phony grassroots) group pushing the agenda of penny stock promoters and CEOs of foundering companies”—has submitted a 23 page comment letter. We were just about to pull it up to see exactly what NCANS were going to say, but fortunately Weiss saves us the trouble.
…I was looking forward to seeing that evidence when the anonymous NCANS said on its various anonymous websites it has got 1,100 actual people to send in their signatures to the SEC. I said to myself, “Surely these people are going to scribble in a note about what happened to them!”
But when I saw what the NCANS was sending in, all I saw were signatures below a statement saying that “The undersigned have been negatively affected by delivery failures of equity securities in the U.S. markets, and by the crediting of security entitlements in quantities far in excess of the issued securities they claim to represent.”
Just name and address. No space for “what happened” or “what stock I owned that got counterfeited or naked shorted or stuff.”
So they still haven’t provided a single example of a company being hurt by “stock counterfeiting” or “naked short selling.”
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