Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Gift That Keeps on Giving


What can you do on a day when the Dow falls 226 points? Well, you can weep bitter tears, drown yourself in alcohol or chocolate, or you can enjoy the latest Patrick Byrne sleaze!

Yup. It has only been a day since the most recent news from Byrne's World, and Corporate America's most wretched CEO has already outdone himself. He is truly the gift that keeps on giving. The O-Smear blog, run by a sleaze-averse techie, has the scoop in a post today.

Seems that Overstock.com's CEO has been caught with his pants down, again, and as usual he has his own big mouth to blame.

In an online post on July 12, Byrne reprinted a note he said he had sent to a New York Times reporter:

"Incidentally, it may be neither here nor there for your story, but in case you are interested, there is a Yahoo poster who uses the names “netmargin15” and “can_i_use_this_alias” who both pumps Amazon and bashes Overstock. The first is the smart sock-puppet, the second is the basher. I know:

  • He or she is an Amazon employee.
  • He or she is of a rank high enough to have access to Amazon’s VPN service.
  • He or she displays a very high level of business knowledge, commensurate in my experience with a senior executive.
As a journalist, I cannot reveal my source for this information. But you can also ping this person through Yahoo."
Now, every time Byrne has referred to himself or his nauseating paid stalker, director of communications Judd Bagley, as "journalists," the nausea has been such that the eyes usually glaze over. So naturally most persons reading this post would not have inquired further. But O-Smear has a strong stomach, and has discovered just how Byrne got that information.

It seems almost certain that Byrne obtained information from spyware planted by Bagley.

O-Smear has all the damning details, so I'll not repeat them here. But I will repeat some questions that I have raised before:
  • Does Overstock.com have a board of directors? Not a competent board, or a board with independent directors, but any kind of corporate governance whatsoever?

  • What brand of sleeping pill is being used by the enforcement division of the SEC? It has got to be a whopper.
Chris Byron once said that the media is the "seeing eye dog" of the SEC. In this case, it is blogs like O-Smear that are doing the scut work while the SEC snoozes.

© 2007 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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Wall Street Versus America was published by Penguin USA on April 6.
Click here for its Amazon.com listing and here for more information on the book, from my web site, gary-weiss.com.

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