Patrick M. Byrne

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Byrne's 2013 mugshot[1]
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Never before in the history of Wall Street has a single conference call mentioned the following topics: Miscreants, an unnamed Sith Lord he [Byrne] hopes the feds will bury under a prison, gay bath houses, whether he is gay, does cocaine, both or neither, and an obligatory, not that there is anything wrong with that, phone taps, phone lines misdirected to Mexico, arrested reporters, payoffs, conspiracies, crooks, egomaniacs, fools, paranoia, which newspapers are shills and for who, payoffs, money laundering, his Irish temper, false identities, threats, intimidation, and private investigators. All in 61 minutes.
—investor Mark Cuban in 2005 regarding an Overstock.com shareholder meeting led by Byrne[2]
Byrne raised his hand to talk. He stood up and turned around to face Herschmann. "You're a quitter," he said. "You've been interfering with everything. You've been cutting us off."

"Do you even know who the fuck I am, you idiot?" [then-Senior Advisor to the President, Eric] Herschmann snapped back.

"Yeah, you're Patrick Cipollone," Byrne said.

"Wrong! Wrong, you idiot!"
—The Trump presidency going further and further off the rails as evidenced by this meeting on December 18, 2020[3]

Patrick Michael Byrne (1962–) is an American businessman, founder and CEO (until 2019) of Overstock.comWikipedia and libertarian kook.

Byrne does a lot of jawdroppingly weird stuff in the name of Overstock, and seemed to be allowed to do so by the board as long as he kept making money.

Naked shorting[edit]

In business naked short sellingWikipedia is essentially the process of selling shares or assets without actually owning them. Of course accusing a person or company of naked shorting is a serious allegation, one that most people would not make without a lot of good evidence, but Patrick M. Byrne is not most people. Byrne has, through his company Overstock, filed two lawsuits against the Rocker Partners and the Equities Research Firm claiming that they both short sold his company and payed for negative press to artificially drive down prices of Overstock.com. As if that weren't enough Byrne also believes in a sort of banking conspiracy out to destroy his company. He has said, "there's been a plan since we were in our teens to destroy our stock, drive it down to $6--$10 ... and even a plan for how the company would then get whacked up." He has even referred to the leader of the conspiracy as the "sith lord", but for some reason he was unwilling to name any names[4].

Education policies[edit]

As a libertarian Patrick M. Byrne supports a number of questionable economic policies, including a restriction requiring all public schools to spend 65% of funds on "class education." Unfortunately librarians, school nurses, school lunches and bus drivers don't count as class education meaning that schools would have to cut a number of programs that largely benefit poorer students.[5] Huh.

Also in the field of education Byrne has come out as a strong supporter of vouchers for private school education, strongly criticizing Jon Huntsman for not supporting the voucher program as much as Byrne had hoped.[6]

Bitcoin[edit]

Byrne is also convinced that Bitcoin is the economic salvation of America.[7] Overstock was the first major retailer to accept Bitcoin, via a payment processor.[8] The company's Bitcoin holdings lost about $100,000 in 2015.[9] As of August 2018, Overstock's cryptocurrency subsidiary tZero is now worth more than Overstock itself,[10] which could be a bad sign for Overstock, or the sign of another cryptocurrency crash.

Other nuttery[edit]

Patrick Byrne is a notable gun nut. At one point he was arrested for trying to carry a loaded gun through airport security; Byrne claimed that the incident was purely accidental. When asked how he could accidentally put a gun in his bag he responded, "I keep the gun next to my bed every night". Guns are just like slippers, perhaps? Or...something?

Just before being pushed out of Overstock.com, Byrne claimed to have been fucking convicted Russian spy Maria Butina, and that she should become the next president of Russia.[11] Byrne admitted to funneling cash to Butina at some point after she was released from prison and deported to Russia in 2019 and before she was elected to the Russian parliament in 2021.[12]

Ex-CEO[edit]

Byrne made several conspiracist claims, including his own involvement in the deep state and men in black (supposedly meaning the FBI and not the usual Ufology).[13] His rantings led to Overstock.com's stock tanking and to his resignation as CEO.[14]

Contributing to Trump's bullshit electoral fraud claims[edit]

See the main articles on this topic: 2020 U.S. presidential election and 2021 U.S. Capitol riot

On December 18, 2020, days after the Electoral College had certified Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, a group of high-level kooks showed up at the White House. The kooks were were not officially invited but were let in by a junior staffer and gained access to Trump anyway. The kooks included Byrne, Trump's bogus election fraud lawyer Sidney Powell, felon/Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, disbarred Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and others. What ensued was a prolonged and heated exchange between the kooks and White House lawyers. The kooks managed to convince Trump that by various connivances the election could be overturned even though they knew this would have been illegal and/or unconstitutional. Trump was convinced by the kooks and sent out the notorious "be there, will be wild" tweet in the early morning hours of the 19th, setting the stage for incitement of the coup attempt on January 6th, 2021.[15][16] At the meeting, Byrne advocated that the "the National Guard re-run the elections in those six states" (meaning, of course, the six states where Trump lost by the closest margin) and spouted conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton.[17][18] Byrne was a primary source for funding and fundraising for a May 2021 farcical "recount" in Arizona, run by an inexperienced, Trump-worshiping company known as "Cyber Ninjas".[19][20] In June 2021, Byrne produced a "film" and other assorted media entitled "The Deep Rig" with yet more promotions of Trump's bullshit fraud claims. [21] Unsurprisingly, in spite of his Overstock.com wealth, Byrne also has no qualms at grifting the "true Trump believers" for some of their hard earned cash. [22]

Due to Byrne's prominent role in making these bullshit claims, on August 10 2021, Dominion Voting Systems filed a lawsuit claiming that Byrne (along with Newsmax and One America News Network) defamed the company, seeking 1.6 billion dollars in damages. [23]

References[edit]

  1. Airport police: Overstock CEO arrested for having gun in luggage by Jasen Lee (Jan 17th, 2013 @ 11:12pm) KSL.com
  2. Wall Street – Fact is stranger than fiction by Mark Cuban (August 12, 2005) Blog Maverick: The Mark Cuban Blog.
  3. Off the Rails: Inside the craziest meeting of the Trump presidency by Jonathan Swan, Zachary Basu (Feb 2, 2021) Axios.
  4. https://archive.today/20120710222214/http://news.com.com/Overstock+CEO+reflects+on+Cramer+debacle/2100-1030_3-6171494.html
  5. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/04/education/04solution.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
  6. http://www.ocregister.com/articles/school-518947-schools-friedman.html
  7. http://www.wired.com/2014/02/rise-fall-rise-patrick-byrne/
  8. http://www.coindesk.com/overstock-opens-bitcoin-sales/
  9. http://www.coindesk.com/overstock-reports-over-100k-in-bitcoin-losses-for-q1-2015/
  10. Overstock’s Cryptocurrency Subsidiary is Now Worth More than the Entire Company by Josiah Wilmoth (August 10, 2018 21:11) CCN.com.
  11. Maria Butina and Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne Were 'Romantically Involved': Lawyer by Julia Arciga (08.15.19 4:18PM ET) Daily Beast.
  12. Patrick Byrne, the pro-Trump former Overstock CEO admits funneling cash to his ex-lover Maria Butina, the glamorous spy expected to be elected to Russia's parliament by Alia Shoaib (Sep 23, 2021, 1:35 AM) Business Insider.
  13. Overstock Ex-CEO's Bonkers Rant to Fox Business: I'm Part of 'Deep State': Patrick Byrne teared up when he said he felt his involvement in a Deep State conspiracy was partly responsible for the recent mass shootings in the United States. by Justin Baragona (Updated 08.23.19 4:01AM ET; Published 08.22.19 7:18PM ET) Daily Beast.
  14. Overstock Stock Plunges Amid CEO’s Wacky 'Deep State' Claims by Tracy Connor (08.14.19 11:44PM ET) Daily Beast.
  15. Here's every word from the seventh Jan. 6 committee hearing on its investigation (July 12, 20226:32 PM ET) NPR.
  16. Who is Patrick Byrne, former Overstock CEO and election denier? by Eugene Scott (July 13, 2022 at 1:48 p.m. EDT) The Washington Post.
  17. "Inside the craziest meeting of the Trump presidency" by Jonathan Swan and Zachary Basu, Axios, 2021 February 2
  18. "Former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne describes bluffing his way into Trump’s White House" by Lee Davison, Salt Lake Tribune, 2021 February 2
  19. "Experts or ‘grifters’? Little-known firm runs Arizona audit" by Nicholas Riccardi, Associated Press, 2021 May 23
  20. "Patrick Byrne: pro-Trump millionaire pushing election conspiracy theories" by Peter Stone, Guardian, 2021 May 29
  21. "The ‘shadow reality world’ promoting the lie that the presidential election was stolen" by Rosalind S. Helderman, Emma Brown, Tom Hamburger and Josh Dawsey, Seattle Times, reprinted from the Washington Post, 2021 June 24
  22. "Overstock Founder Will Sell You Election Fraud for $5 Per Month" by Will Sommer, Daily Beast, 2021 May 24
  23. "Dominion sues Newsmax, One America over U.S. election fraud claims" by Jan Wolfe and Tom Hals, Reuters, 2021 August 10