Monday, July 28, 2008

What is Mark Mitchell Hiding About Himself, Deep Capture, and Overstock.com?

Mark Mitchell, a washed up former journalist who is now a paid shill for Overstock.com (NASDAQ: OSTK) CEO Patrick Byrne's private vendetta web site called "Deep Capture" is afraid to answer my questions.
For example, Tracy Coenen and I heard that Mark Mitchell was escorted from the building when he left his former employer, Columbia Journalism Review. According to Tracy Coenen’s blog:
This is also a good time to mention that the guy "from the Columbia Journalism Review" is apparently Mark Mitchell, Byrne's paid shill. According to a confidential source, Mitchell was escorted from CJR under mysterious circumstances.
Meanwhile, Patrick Byrne has taken steps to separate his Deep Capture smear web site from Overstock.com while admitting that he founded it. According to the Deep Capture web site:
Deep Capture is not part of Overstock….
However, the Deep Capture web site goes on to direct the reader to click on a link (http://www.overstock.com/?TID=deepcapture) to purchase merchandise at Overstock.com and 5% of the purchase goes to support Deep Capture.
According to Gary Weiss, Patrick Byrne has taken pains to cover up his ownership of Deep Capture. As of April 20, 2008, High Plains Investments LLC, owned by Patrick Byrne and a major shareholder of Overstock.com shares, was listed as the manager of Deep Capture LLC. By June 19, 2008, Judd Bagley, a former spokesperson for Overstock.com, and Evren Karpak, another former Overstock.com employee replaced High Plains Investments LLC as managers of Deep Capture LLC.
Judd Bagley is a nauseating cyber stalker who as an Overstock.com employee, originally set up an anonymous web site called antisocialmedia.net to stalk, intimidate, harass, smear, and blackmail critics of Patrick Byrne. In January 2007, New York Post reporter Roddy Boyd exposed Judd Bagley as the person behind the anonymous antisocialmedia.net web site. Bagley continues to run that web site and further stalk, intimidate, harass, smear, and blackmail critics of Patrick Byrne using anonymous aliases on internet message boards.
Evren Karpak is an internet message board troll hired by Patrick Byrne to work at Overstock.com after stalking, intimidating, harassing, smearing, and blackmailing Byrne's critics, like Bagley. Both Karpak and Bagley recently claim to have left Overstock.com and they are now paid shills for Patrick Byrne at Deep Capture with Mark Mitchell.

Originally, Mark Mitchell, like Judd Bagley, tried to hide his cyber stalking connection with Byrne. Gary Weiss caught Mark Mitchell pretexting (not disclosing his employment by Byrne) and lying about what Weiss said to him.

Mark Mitchell was heavily criticized for naivete and poor performance when he was a CJR editor, and violated journalism ethics by signing a letter from an anti-naked shorting organization while employed by CJR and researching an article on that subject. Mitchell has not denied that he is the "Mark Mitchell" listed as a signatory of that letter.

In a post on the Yahoo message board, I asked Mark Mitchell about him being escorted from the building. He emailed me the following:
From: Mark Mitchell [mailto:mitch0033@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, July 25, 2008 4:58 PM
To: Sam E. Antar
Subject: Questions
Mr. Antar,
You asked me this question: "Have you ever been forcefully escorted out of any building as a result of your behavior?"
Would you care to explain how you came to ask this very specific question? Do you have information about any instance of my being subjected to force or violence? If so, what is the source of your information?
Mark Mitchell
This is obviously a sore subject for him. I responded:
From: Sam E. Antar
Sent: Friday, July 25, 2008 6:18 PM
To: Mark Mitchell
Subject: RE: Questions
I'm asking the questions, not you.
To Mark Mitchell:
I'm asking the questions, not you.
Do you admit or deny it? Yes or no.
Sam E. Antar
Mark Mitchell's strange response asked me whether I have information about a mugging in which he was supposedly a victim.

Having not received any response from Mark Mitchell specifically denying that he had been escorted out of Columbia Journalism Review's office, I decided to ask him questions about Deep Capture and its relationship to Overstock.com and Patrick Byrne.

For example, Item 404, "Transactions with Related Persons, Promoters and Certain Control Persons" of Securities and Exchange Commission Regulation S-K requires disclosures of certain related party transactions and I was attempting to determine why Overstock.com has not made any disclosures relating to Deep Capture. In addition, I wanted Mark Mitchell's opinion about Judd Bagley's cyber stalking for Patrick Byrne and Overstock.com's continuing violations of SEC Regulation G. See my email below:
From: Sam E. Antar
Sent: Saturday, July 26, 2008 12:54 PM
To: mitch0033@gmail.com
Subject: Additional Questions
To Mark Mitchell:
Please answer each question separately and provide complete and unambiguous details:
  • Who are the current and past owners of DeepCapture?
  • Who are the current and past executives and managers of DeepCapture?
  • Who are the current and past employees of DeepCapture?
  • What is Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne's affiliation with DeepCapture?
  • Does your employment for DeepCapture include posting messages on internet web sites such as Yahoo or InvestorVillage?
  • What is DeepCapture's relationship with Overstock.com, High Plains Investments LLC, Haverford-Valley, L.C., and or any entity affiliated with Patrick Byrne?
  • How much compensation is DeepCapture paying you?
  • How is your compensation structured at DeepCapture?
  • Have you ever received direct or indirect compensation from Patrick Byrne, Overstock.com, High Plains Investments LLC, Haverford-Valley, L.C., and or any entity affiliated with Patrick Byrne?
  • Before your employment at DeepCapture did you ever receive any compensation or gifts from Patrick Byrne, Overstock.com, High Plains Investments LLC, Haverford-Valley, L.C., and or any entity affiliated with Patrick Byrne?
  • Who hired you to work at DeepCapture?
  • How often do you communicate with Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne?
  • Please name each person who has a current or past role in setting editorial policy for DeepCapture?
  • Who indemnifies you for the content of your stories on DeepCapture?
  • Have you ever discussed the contents of any story published on DeepCapture with Patrick Byrne?
  • Has Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne ever instructed you to write any story on DeepCapture?
  • Have you ever posted messages on any internet chat sites, message boards, blogs, or other internet sites using an anonymous alias?
  • If the answer to the above question is yes, please provide details of each and every posted message including the name of the web site?
  • Please provide all aliases that you may have used on the internet?
  • What is your opinion of your colleague Judd Bagley's spying on and stalking of critics?
  • Do you believe that CEOs should obsess about their critics?
  • Do you believe that CEOs should stalk, intimidate, harass, and/or smear their critics either directly or indirectly through proxies such as Judd Bagley?
  • Do you consider yourself to be a proxy for Patrick Byrne's agendas?
  • What is your opinion of Overstock.com's continued violations of Securities and Exchange Commission Regulation G?
  • What is your opinion of Overstock.com's overstatements of EBITDA in violation of Securities and Exchange Commission Regulation G by improperly not reconciling EBITDA to net income and improperly removing stock-based compensation expenses from EBITDA?
Please note that any references to Patrick Byrne above is specifically intended to mean Patrick Byrne (CEO of Overstock.com) and any references to DeepCapture is intended to mean Deep Capture LLC and/or DeepCapture.com.
Regards,
Sam E. Antar
Mark Mitchell has not responded. What is he hiding?
To be continued....

Written by:

Sam E. Antar (former Crazy Eddie CFO and a convicted felon)

Update (New Email from Mark Mitchell):
From: Mark Mitchell [mailto:mitch0033@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, July 28, 2008 11:40 PM
To: Sam E. Antar
Subject: request correction
Dear Sam,
Your blog is false. You know very well that I was not "escorted" from the Columbia Journalism Review.
Please post a correction.
Thank you,
Mark Mitchell
My public response:
To Mark Mitchell:
I was simply reporting what I heard, unlike you who reports what he has not heard. I see no reason to change the specific item you are referring to.
Respectfully,
Sam E. Antar (White Collar Fraud Blog Reporter)
Note: Read Gary Weiss's latest blog post on Mark Mitchell.

Disclosure: Not long or short Overstock.com

Additional Information: For additional up to date coverage of Overstock.com, please read Tracy Coenen.
Index of White Collar Fraud Blog Posts