Monday, February 11, 2008

Department of 'Oh My Goodness!'

In his column on corporate sleaze-factory Overstock.com some months ago, Joseph Nocera of the New York Times observed that CEO Patrick Byrne's "Internet ramblings have lost much of their 'oh my goodness' factor, so they don’t get the attention they once did."

Accordingly, Byrne and his nauseating paid stalker, the hideous Judd Bagley, have had to ratchet up the shrillness of their attacks on critics to divert attention from Overstock's accounting shenanigans. Yet still he is ignored, and Byrne has complained about that on several occasions.

Bagley no longer pretends that he is "director of communications" -- he rarely signs off on press releases -- and spends most of his days posting to an anti-Wikipedia website. Quite a popular man at Overstock, particularly among the hard-working employees paid less than him, I would surmise.

Forensic accounting expert Tracy Coenen today has a dispatch from the "oh my goodness!" front, concerning a falsehood-laden attack by Byrne on his most potent critic, fraud fighter Sam Antar, who was mastermind of the Crazy Eddie stock swindle.

Sam’s. . . a good target because he doesn’t back down. He has seen financial statements that stink over at Overstock, and he’s not letting go of the issue until his questions are answered. And mind you, these aren’t just Sam’s questions. They’re also the questions of many in the investing community.
Byrne's latest missive, used in waste of shareholder resources on the Overstock website, calls Sam Antar a "crook" -- an expletive he has directed at me, Herb Greenberg, and pretty much every one else who disagrees with him. Only this time -- oh my goodness! -- Byrne is right.

Sam Antar is a crook!

In fact, Sam says so pretty much every time he opens his mouth or posts on his blog. He logs thousands of hours flying around the country at his own expense, lecturing law enforcement on how to avoid crooks like him. He is a recognized expert on such things, warranting a lavish recent Fortune magazine article that infuriated Byrne.

What bothers Byrne is not that Sam is -- oh my goodness! -- a crook, but that he is honing in on this SEC-investigated, slimy company's accounting.

He knows that Sam is on to something, and that he has absolutely nothing to gain from what he is doing, except to atone for his past crimes.

The title of Tracy's post puts it well: "Overstock.com, what are you hiding?" As if we didn't know.

© 2007 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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