Thursday, January 17, 2008

Which Version of the Truth is True?

I've never said anything like this before, but I really envy the SEC. Its Salt Lake City office is investigating and its CEO, and imagine the fun they are having!

Take the latest wrinkle from the Overstock train wreck. I call it "Which Version of Jason Lindsey's Resignation is True?"

Here is Overstock's disclosure of its president's resignation, as filed with the SEC in an 8-K on Jan. 2. It says that he resigned on Dec. 31, effective immediately:

But in a sworn declaration dated Jan. 12, filed in connection with Overstock's junk lawsuit against Rocker Partners and Gradient Analytics, Lindsey swears, under oath, that he resigned on Jan. 2.

Sam Antar's blog has more observations on this. Sam believes, and I tend to agree, that this is proof that Lindsey backdated his resignation letter.

In a separate item, Sam discusses a recent motion by Overstock directors to strike a countersuit filed by Rocker (renamed Copper River Partners), in which they claim that Overstock's smear campaign against its critics is protected by the First Amendment, and that, besides, they didn't know anything about it. They also claim that they didn't even know about the lawsuit that they've been dragged into.

Gee, these guys just didn't know anything, did they? Hey, they're just a rubber stamp. An office implement cannot be expected to know much about a company, after all.

That's Overstock for you -- ignoramus directors and a president who can't get his story straight.

Clearly the documents I've quoted above can't both be true, and as I pointed out previously, there is additional evidence that Lindsey's resignation was backdated. Something else I presume the directors of the company know nothing about.

One thing perplexes me: why do such a blatantly stupid, reckless thing as lie in an SEC filing?

I really don't know, and given the sheer weight of the sliminess of this company, it's hard to figure out whether one lie is more important than another lie, or why liars lie. Perhaps just for the sake of lying? One thing I do know: those SEC investigators must be having a field day.

© 2007 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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