The Problem With Overstock.com's Latest Problem
Byrne: Tried to pull a fast one in his SEC filing
In my blog item yesterday about the corporate street thugs at Overstock.com, I pointed out that that there was a problem with the "notice of late filing" that these child-stalking douche bags quietly slipped into the SEC's files a few minutes before deadline.
Leave it to Overstock.com to have a problem with a problem. Of course, to use the word "problem" in the same sentence with "Overstock.com" is a bit of an oxymoron in itself. Well, as promised, here's the problem with the problem: It lies.
Hey, they don't call Overstock.com's financial statements the "Quarterly Lie" for nothing. Today's installment, described in Sam Antar's blog this morning, is that Overstock slipped in "new previously undisclosed material violations of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and other Securities and Exchange Commission disclosure rules."
The problem is that Overstock specifically says these were not previously undisclosed issues.
If you turn to "Part III - Narrative," Overstock's chief can't-count-to-save-his-life officer, Stephen J. Chestnut, recounts a bunch of "errors" that need to be fixed before these geniuses can file their 10-K for 2009. Chestnut prefaces this list of goofs by saying, very nonchalantly, "As announced on January 29, 2010, Overstock.com, Inc. . . "
He then goes on to list some serious GAAP and disclosure issues that weren't announced on Jan. 29.
Overstock.com's wack-a-do CEO Patrick Byrne has been hiding under his desk while all this is going on, dodging a demand by Sam Antar that he apologize for lying about Sam correctly identifying Overstock's fraudulent accounting.
Not only that, but Byrne attacks Sam on the Overstock website, as Sam describes in his blog today.
That's a pretty clear case of issuer retaliation. I wonder if the SEC will wake up long enough to take action against these hoodlums? Banning its management from ever coming within 500 feet of a public company would be a good start.
UPDATE: Barry Ritholtz and Jr. Deputy Accountant weigh in. Love that graphic.
© 2010 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.