Monday, April 14, 2008

Patrick Byrne Fails to 'Celebrate' Lawsuit

Displeasure in the executive suite at

Patrick Byrne, the CEO of and the clown prince of small-company charlatans, had a minor meltdown in reaction to an announcement by Gradient Analytics that it is filing a libel suit against Byrne.

Compare that to a taunting Overstock press release in March 2006 that urged Gradient to take action against his company.

So why has he not "celebrated" the libel suit, the way he once "celebrated" an SEC subpoena?

Gradient is the independent research firm that was targeted by Byrne after it published accurate, but damning, research exposing the company's financial weakness. Any kind of criticism sends Byrne off the deep end, and the accuracy of Gradient's research is indicated by Byrne's reaction, which was filing a baseless lawsuit against the company and a hedge fund.

As noted in the Salt Lake City Tribune article, an SEC investigation of Gradient, paralleling Byrne's accusations, was dropped by the SEC, but a probe of Byrne by the SEC is still pending.

Byrne then went on a campaign portraying himself as a "victim of hedge funds," even though he used to be in the hedge fund business himself, has a brother who runs a hedge fund, and a hedge fund ("High Plains Investments") is the entity through which he owns Overstock shares. Hypocrisy, of course, is one of Byrne's more flattering characteristics.

The Business Law Spot blog weighs in:

As I've said before, the "Litigation Road to Success" business model is at best highly questionable and should be avoided (Ask Darl McBride.). If your company is bleeding cash, your time is better spent fixing your company, not riding off on crusades.

UPDATE: A fine follow-up in, replete with a link to the suit.

© 2008 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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