Gary Weiss has a most excellent post on his blog about an apparent cover-up in progress by Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK).
Here’s the deal: For a couple of years now, Patrick has been ranting and raving about conspiracies and Sith Lords and secret fax machines and other oddities related to Naked Short Selling. (Just type “sith lord” into the search box to the right to get a flavor of what I mean.) He is going to be the savior of the investing world, and DeepCapture.com is his “journalistic” endeavor related to this.
In the process of “investigating” this big conspiracy, Patrick Byrne has hired a team of weird people to smear and stalk a few select people. Anyone who has a negative opinion of the perpetually-failing business of Overstock.com and dares to speak publicly about it is fair game for the stalkers. (For example, I apparently receive secret instructions from a Sith Lord who tells me what to blog and when to blog it. I am receiving some secret money that I never saw for secretly participating in this secret conspiracy to secretly bring down Overstock. Yes, it really does get that silly.)
For some time, the smear-meisters have apparently been on the payroll of Overstock.com, and customers of Overstock could be pleased to know that 5% of their purchase was going to the Deep Capture “cause”. Who knows how much of Overstock’s resources were diverted to this pet project of Patrick’s. And whatever the amount, I think the stockholders of Overstock.com were cheated.
Patrick Byrne’s story of the attacks on Overstock.com critics changes over time. First, he claimed that these attacks were only coincidentally done by Overstock employees, and he kinda sorta didn’t know anything about anyone like Judd Bagley doing anything like having a website called AntiSocial Media, used to stalk and harass critics.
Then Patrick decided to be more up front, and started the attacks via the Deep Capture site, which is hosted on the Overstock.com servers. There is even an entity called Deep Capture, LLC, which was registered with the Utah Department of Commerce, with a manager of High Plains Investments LLC (owned by Patrick Byrne).
Now Byrne is back to hiding and deflecting. Deep Capture LLC now lists the managers as Judson Bagley (yes, stalker Judd) and Evren Karpak (paid attacker). The Deep Capture domain name registration is also no longer seen to be in Patrick’s name at Overstock. It now shows DomainsByProxy, which is a site that keeps registration information private. (i.e. The public will now not be able to see that Patrick owns Deep Capture.)
So the question is, why is Patrick now hiding his ownership and control of Deep Capture? Only time will tell, as I’m sure that this will go down as some wacky, frequently-changing story that no one can really make sense of. But assuredly, it all makes sense in the warped mind of Patrick Byrne.