Patrick M. Byrne
| It doesn't stop|
at the water's edge
“”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|
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.
In business naked short selling 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.
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.
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.
Byrne is also convinced that Bitcoin is the economic salvation of America. Overstock was the first major retailer to accept Bitcoin, via a payment processor. The company's Bitcoin holdings lost about $100,000 in 2015. As of August 2018, Overstock's cryptocurrency subsidiary tZero is now worth more than Overstock itself, which could be a bad sign for Overstock, or the sign of another cryptocurrency crash.
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".
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). His rantings led to Overstock.com's stock tanking and to his resignation as CEO.
- Airport police: Overstock CEO arrested for having gun in luggage by Jasen Lee (Jan 17th, 2013 @ 11:12pm) KSL.com
- Wall Street – Fact is stranger than fiction by Mark Cuban (August 12, 2005) Blog Maverick: The Mark Cuban Blog.
- Overstock’s Cryptocurrency Subsidiary is Now Worth More than the Entire Company by Josiah Wilmoth (August 10, 2018 21:11) CCN.com.
- Maria Butina and Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne Were 'Romantically Involved': Lawyer by Julia Arciga (08.15.19 4:18PM ET) Daily Beast.
- 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.
- Overstock Stock Plunges Amid CEO’s Wacky 'Deep State' Claims by Tracy Connor (08.14.19 11:44PM ET) Daily Beast.