Today, we have a war being conducted by Patrick Byrne (CEO of Overstock.com) against almost anyone who does not fit into his agenda of deflecting from the poor performance of Overstock.com. If you mess with Patrick Byrne, watch out, his anger seems to know no bounds.
As a convicted felon I understand Patrick Byrne’s war of intimidation, smears, and deflection from the personal experience of my own vile criminal actions. Below, I outline some of Patrick Byrne’s actions and some of those persons who work in concert with either him or Judd Bagley (Director of Social Media at Overstock.com).
For more information, I suggest reading the O-Smear blog which in great detail shows the vile despicable actions of Patrick Byrne, Judd Bagley, and their collaborators. In addition, I suggest that you read Gary Weiss’s blog.
Patrick Byrne seems to believe he can control the subject of discussion of Overstock.com on the Investor Village Overstock.com message board
When Patrick Byrne started posting on InvestorVillage Overstock.com message board he wrote (message # 668) the following on August 8, 2006 under his alias Hannibal:
And if you had not guessed, yes I am posting here to try to help Investor Village steal share. When the hordes of bashers show up (Guess We'll have to be on the lookout for them) we want to have our powder ready to eject them.
In late August 2006, he quietly hires his “friend” Judd Bagley to become Director of Social Media at Overstock.com. Shortly, thereafter, on September 8, 2006 Judd Bagley forms an anonymous web site antisocialmedia.net and begins a vile, malicious, and vindictive campaign against Mr. Byrne’s critics and their families.
For many months neither Patrick Byrne nor Judd Bagley would acknowledge who was behind this vile hate spewing web site.
In a taunting post on Investor Village (message # 2426) under his alias Hannibal on November 26, 2006 Patrick Byrne writes:
(Full disclosure: I am not behind antisocialmedia.com, but I could speculate who is.)
Is it bad?
He would issue threats to his critics on Investor Village (message # 2964) while denying rumors of his “friend” Judd Bagley’s involvement in it. On December 23, 2006 he writes:
Can everyone sense these guys sweating? They seem to be getting nervous, don't they? Hence the posts full of non sequitors and picking of nits about unimportant details. They apparently hope that they can confuse the average reader, as long as that reader does not go and read the original antisocialmedia.com material exposing (with screeen shots and IP addresses) these bullies.
But the average reader may still ask, Why are they so nervous, and why now? The answer is, it is because the bullies know what is coming, they know where this antisocialmedia stuff is heading, in a way that the average reader does not. They are flailing in an attempt to derail it.
By the way, since they seem so concerned about these issues, and conflate all their unknowns and half-truths into one steady stream of invective, let me help them out:
1) I know Judd. He has become a friend in recent months, but that is not why we hired him. We hired him to work on a project that should reach fruition pretty soon. That project is completely unrelated to any of this controversy. When you see it, you'll think it is pretty cool.
2) I am not behind antisocialmedia.com, offer it no support, it has nothing to do with overstock. Technically, I do not "know" who out there is behind it (the person who is behind it has made an effort to shield me from that knowledge), though admittedly, I have a very good idea.
That same day in another post on Investor Village (message # 2976) under the alias Hannibal he reiterates:
Overstock has no resources supporting antisocialmedia.com. It is someone's hobby.
On January 2, 2007 Roddy Boyd of the New York Post in an article entitled “Overstock.com Lashes Out at Critics on Web” exposed Overstock.com Director of Social Media Judd Bagley as being behind the smear web site:
Internet retailer Overstock.com's war against its critics is taking an ugly new twist, as a Web site aided and supported by its management is leveling sharp charges against two Internet message board posters. The site, AntiSocialMedia.net, launched bitter attacks last week on the message board critics, accusing them of participating to various degrees in a conspiracy to malign the anti-naked short selling movement that Overstock.com supports….
ASM's work has been vocally supported by Overstock's controversial Chief Executive Patrick Byrne in at least a dozen of his Web posts on the InvestorVillage Internet message board and Judd Bagley, another Overstock executive.
Shortly, thereafter Judd Bagley attached his name to the anonymous smear web site antisocialmedia.net.
Patrick Byrne would try to justify why he claimed not to know that Judd Bagley was behind this smear website. In posts on Investor Village Patrick Byrne later claimed plausible denial as a reason for not knowing who was behind the smear web site and reiterated his support of Judd Bagley’s activities in smearing critics:
On January 29, 2007 (message number 4179) under his alias Hannibal, Patrick Byrne writes:
By way of general response, I will mentioned that I am proud of both mine and Judd's behavior unravelling the charade of miscreants.
On January 31, 2007 (message number 4287) under his alias Hannibal, Patrick Byrne writes:
Oh yes: somewhere in there (after Judd was already working for us) I became aware of ASM. I asked him about it: he suggested that he had a right to expect a "Don't ask don't tell" policy regarding his research and writing. I pointed out to Judd that, if he were involved, he could not be doing anything on our company time, and that he must refrain from doing anything to discuss Overstock from and investment point of view. Only a month or two later, when it began to draw attention, did he confirm his involvement to me. All the questions about "Do you know this guy in Orem who knows this guy and do you fund this or that" are all non-starters. Overstock and I have precisely 0 to do with AntiSocialMedia.
Except for the fact that I am an avid reader and raving fan. In the past, I did not know what was going to go up on ASM before it went up. However, I have sat with Judd and learned about all the ammo he has held in reserve. So I do know, now, what COULD go up, but not necessarily what WILL (or, in fact, if anything else will).
However, Patrick Byrne’s explanation into his knowledge of Judd Bagley’s activities seems quite flimsy. The wall of separation between Overstock.com and the web site antisocialmedia.net is even flimsier.
Was the “Don’t ask don’t tell” policy he referred to above a concocted reason to have plausible deniability of Judd Bagley’s actions? Was Judd Bagley at the very least (if you accept Patrick Byrne’s explanation) lying or being deceitful to his “friend” and boss?
In late September 2006 while Patrick Byrne still had denied knowledge of who was behind the web site antisocialmedia.net, Judd Bagley anonymously posted the following to the site:
….As I feared, my recollection of Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne’s past experiences with Linda Mack (aka SlimVirgin) did not get it quite right.
Byrne recently emailed me a fuller, written version of the story which I intended to add as a comment on the original post; however, due to its length (and quality), I’ve opted instead to publish it here.
After reading Byrne’s account, all I can say is: my version really sucked and you owe it to yourself to read what follows, in its entirety.
Antisocialmedia.net then publishes a letter from Patrick Byrne signed “Humbly submitted, Patrick.” Patrick Byrne claims he did not know that letter went to Judd Bagley (Director of Social Media at Overstock.com) who was at the time running the web site antisocialmedia.net anonymously.
On October 22, 2006 Judd Bagley writes in an exchange with another person who posted comments to one of his smear attacks “Patrick Byrne says hello, too.”
Even after Roddy Boyd’s New York Post article exposing that Judd Bagley was behind the antisocialmedia.net web site, Patrick Byrne continued to assert that Overstock.com has nothing to do with Judd Bagley’s activities on that site.
On January 22, 2007 in a post on Investor Village (message # 4287) under his alias Hannibal he writes:
Overstock and I have precisely 0 to do with AntiSocialMedia.
In fact, given the insistence of my boss, CEO Patrick Byrne, that any continuation of my nearly one year old research be strictly and unambiguously limited to my own time, there’s no question but that my current employment has hampered my progress.
Judd Bagley seems to have as much freedom as necessary to conduct his smear campaign on both his antisocialmedia.net smear web site and posting under multiple anonymous aliases on internet message boards. Judd Bagley has at times posted his messages during regular week day office hours at Overstock.com
In a post on Investor Village (message # 3566) on January 14, 2007, under his alias Hannibal, Patrick Byrne writes:
STRANGE GUY, KEEPS HIS OWN HOURS, COMES IN SOME NIGHTS, STAYS AWAY FOR DAYS. HE HAS BEEN LEADING THE DEVELOPMENT EFFORT OF A NEW PROJECT FOR US. IT IS PRETTY COOL: A SOCIAL MEDIA SYSTEM THAT WILL NOT GERMANATE OR HARBOR TYRANTS.
As to his posting during normal weekday business hours, Judd Bagley posted the following answer on Yahoo (now deleted) under his previously anonymous alias "antsaresocialinsects" around February 8, 2007:
Sam, if I have posted between 8-5 it's either been on a day off, or during lunch using my PDA....
So let’s get this straight. Judd Bagley who Patrick Byrne has described as a “Clark Kent” type, needs to post vile messages during normal office hours. So, he takes a “lunch” break, leaves Overstock.com premises and changes into “Superman” to conduct his smear campaign? After he is finished with his quick smear on the blogs or internet message boards, he turns back into "Clark Kent" as goes back to work?
If you criticize Patrick Byrne or Judd Bagley you may be subject to vicious attacks on the web site antisocialmedia.net which is run during the so-called spare time of Judd Bagley (Director of Social Media).
If an employee of one of Byrne's adversaries (Gradient Analytics, Rocker Partners, DTCC) was found to be running an anti-Byrne or anti-Overstock site in his "spare time," Byrne and his supporters would be claiming involvement by those companies.
Both Patrick Byrne and Judd Bagley like to use other message board participants to further their agenda by direct communication with them. They will exchange e-mails and private messages with them. They will track your posts and report back to them.
For example, in one post on Investor Village (message # 4954) Judd Bagley under his alias De Daumier-Smith on February 19, 2007 he writes:
Back when I first put Sammy on ignore, I asked Evren to let me know if he (Sammy) ever said anything worthwhile.
Some accomplices have spewed hateful venom on message boards.
One person in particular Edward Manfredonia seems to be Judd Bagley’s new war time consigliore. Like Patrick Byrne, who is known for his now infamous Sith Lord conspiracy, Mr. Manfredonia is no stranger to conspiracy theories himself. Edward Manfredonia likes to accuse certain people he apparently dislikes (including government officials and the press) of covering up murders, perjury, rape, and other vile crimes.
Judd writes fondly about Edward Manfredonia in a post on Investor Village under his alias De Daumier-Smith (message # 6052) on April 2, 2007:
Re: sam, are you really nuts?
As I told Embraceyourinnerhillbilly, Ed may have a quirky way of communicating in writing, but I can assure you he's one of the more knowledgeable people I know. Ed has been enormously generous in sharing his knowledge of how Planet Wall Street works (both in theory and in practice) with me.
If Ed and I spent more than five minutes talking about you or Gary or anything else from this or any other board I'd be shocked.
This was Judd's reply to me when I asked him about Mr. Manfredonia. Judd, sorry about posting a PM, but I felt in this case it was warranted. "I have had MANY lengthy conversations with Ed. He is a very good and principled man. But he seriously lacks the ability to communicate effectively. "
"Weiss is a liar, thief, perjurer and racist. It cannot get worse than that." Sure it can, if Weiss was also pedophile.
Edward Manfredonia in a post on Investor Village under his alias Ed Manfred (message # 6117) on April 3, 2007 writes:
I talk to Judd.
I send Judd e-mails.
But 95% of the discussion has nothing to do with Overstock. I have talked about short sales. I have discussed that some people never borrow the stock and that the brokerage houses do not care.
I talked about the puts and some crossed trades
But I have stated one important fact: Gary Weiss shall do everything possible to make certain that Overstock fails- whether Overstock is a viable company or not….
Edward Manfredonia has been writing anti-Semitic and hateful posts against Gary Weiss (an investigative reporter and frequent Byrne and Bagley critic on his blog), me, and just about everyone else he dislikes. Mr. Manfredonia has posted multiple libelous claims, vile, anti-Semitic, and hate messages on both the Yahoo Overstock.com board and Investor Village Overstock.com board.
For example, in a post on Investor Village (message # 6023) on April 2, 2007 under his alias Ed Manfred, he writes:
To Sam the Scam:
But Tzaddik Morgenthau covered up rape, narcotics smuggling, money launderng, etc. at the American Stock Exchange.
Arthur Levitt and Robert Morgenthau conspired to protect the American Stock Exchange.
Note: Tzaddik means "righteous person" in Hebrew. Mr. Manfredonia uses the Hebrew term "Tzaddick" to associate Manhattan District Attorney (who is of the Jewish faith) with covering up for "rape, narcotics smuggling, money launderng...."
I once accompanied Weiss to a restaurant, Sweet n' Tart, in Chinatown. Weiss ordered pig's blood. It looked scary.
But Weiss consumed the pig's blood with glee. Speaking of treyfe.
On April 2, 2007 on Investor Village (message # 6041) under his alias Ed Manfred responding to another person he believed was me he wrote:
Tam, aka Sam the Scam, violated Shabbos.
Edward Manfredonia was upset as evidenced by this post on Investor Village (message # 6046) on April 2, 2007 he wrote:
Sam, why are you so interested in my conversations with Judd Bagley?
He would continue smearing Gary Weiss and I with multiple posts such as this one (message # 6075) on Investor Village:
I have stated that I have never been promised compensation. I have never asked for compensation.
Nor would I ever work for Overstock.
Just because Sam is a crook and Weiss a perjurer and thief, does not mean that everyone else is on the take.
So there has never been and never will be compensation or any type of reward- except the knowledge that I have exposed several liars.
Sam Antar is an Orthodox Jew, yet he had no qualms about stealing hundreds of millions of dollars.
This is merely a new scam by Sam the Scam.
I do not believe that Sam has repented. Sam is a thief.
On December 3, 2006 Judd Bagley had written on Investor Village (message # 2571 – now deleted by the board administrator, recreated on the O-Smear blog) under his old anonymous alias AntiSocialMedia:
The guy's name is Ed Manfredonia, his website is wallstreetscandals.com, and yes, he fell off his rocker a while ago.
But while his version of reality and the objective observer's version will likely differ, I don't get the impression that he's actively being deceitful...he's just a bit...touched.
Still, if just 10% of the facts he cites are faithful to reality (and in my opinion, it's much higher than that), well let's just say it fits the larger pattern we're all seeing emerge.
Despite the fact that Judd Bagley writes that Edward Manfredonia “fell off his rocker a while ago” and is “touched” he claims that “...I can assure you he's one of the more knowledgeable people I know. Ed has been enormously generous in sharing his knowledge of how Planet Wall Street works (both in theory and in practice) with me.”
Judd Bagley (Director of Social Media at Overstock.com) denies being an anti-Semite despite his relationship with Edward Mandfredonia. In a post on Investor Village (message #5941) under his alias De Daumier-Smith:
"I'm about as pro-Semitic a goy as you'll meet...."
If you mess with Patrick Byrne you may be accused you of selling your soul
Joe Nocera (New York Times) wrote two columns about Patrick Byrne: On February 25, 2006: Overstock.com’s Campaign of Menace (subscription required) and on March 10, 2007: TALKING BUSINESS; Revisiting Overstock.com And Utah (subscription required). The same day Joe Nocera’s column was published, Judd Bagley (Director of Social Media at Overstock.com) under his alias De Daumier-Smith on Investor Village (message # 5430) wrote the following in a brutal reply:
I pity Joe Nocera:
Joe Nocera's skewed take on this issue can no longer be attributed to mere differences in human perceptions. He has sold his soul. And I guarantee you he hates himself for it. Certainly, whatever he's getting in return helps to numb the pain, but that stuff never lasts.
Therefore, if you write a column that does not fit into Patrick Byrne’s agenda like Joe Nocera, perhaps you should expect one of his surrogates to say you have “sold your soul.”
If you mess with Patrick Byrne details of your marriage and divorce are subject to misrepresentation and innuendo
On February 21, 2007 Susan Antilla (Bloomberg) wrote a column entitled "Overstock Blames with Creepy Strategy." On February 22, 2007 Judd Bagley posted his response on Investor Village (message # 5017) under his alias De Daumier-Smith:
A wee bit of context on Susan Antilla
I just wanted to point a couple of things out about Susan Antilla...you know, add some color to her commentary.
The conventional wisdom has been that her husband, Dennis H Leibowitz , is with Credit Suisse First Boston. Wrong. In 2002 he left SCFB (misspelled should be CSFB) to start his own hedge fund….
One problem with that post was that Susan Antilla was long divorced from her husband. When asked about it by other message post posters Judd Bagley published the following on his web site antisocialmedia.net (before later “editing” it):
I went on to spend about 10,000 moments online searching for evidence of that divorce, yet found no record of the dissolution of the Antilla-Leibowitz union. In fact, I’m on the verge of advising Miss Antilla to ask her divorce lawyer for her money back.
He goes on with his latest smear of Susan Antilla in the same post on antisocialmedia.net:
That’s the bad news. The good news is: during my search, I found something even better.
In 1994, Antilla was a New York Times business writer. In the fall of that year, she learned of a rumor suggesting Robert Howard, head of Presstek, might actually be Howard Finkelstein, a convicted felon known to use various aliases, including “Robert Howard”. Antilla would not reveal the source of the rumor, other than to acknowledge that it came from a short sellers of Presstek stock.
A quick word about good journalism.
There’s an easy way to discern a responsible journalist from an irresponsible one: irresponsible journalists are willing to write about rumors. Responsible journalists may investigate rumors, but insist on reporting facts.
Following interviews with 30 people, including Robert Howard himself and his son, in which Antilla found nothing to support the Howard-as-Finkelstein rumor, she opted to write anyway…about the rumor.
Judd Bagley spent “10,000 moments" online in an obsessive search for evidence of just that divorce.” That is probably over 166 hours researching the issue of her divorce over probably at most a 5 week period.
Certain other message board posters had found out about her divorce in less than twenty minutes by doing a simple web search.
In addition, Judd Bagley seems to have missed or neglected to say an important fact about Mr. Howard. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission web site:
The Securities and Exchange Commission today filed a Complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against Robert Howard and Robert E. Verrando, the Chairman and President, respectively, of Presstek, Inc., a Hudson, New Hampshire-based manufacturer of printing press technology and related products. Without admitting or denying the allegations in the Complaint, Howard, 74, and Verrando, 66, consented to the entry of final judgments of permanent injunction against them that also require them to pay a total of $2.9 million in civil penalties. In a related matter the Commission issued a Cease-and-Desist order against Presstek by consent. (Source: Securities and Exchange Commission)
If you mess with Patrick Byrne your personal information is up for grabs
Judd Bagley and/or others working in concert with him have been accused of implanting tracking software on their message board posts and “private messages” in an attempt to extract critic's IP addresses and other personal information. (See: O-Smear Blog Label Spyware and Gary Weiss Blog Label Spyware.)
If you post on an internet message board anything that does not fit Patrick Byrne’s agenda, you risk having your personal information (including home address) posted on Judd Bagley’s web site antisocialmedia.net. Your home address is not sacred and may not be sacred to Patrick Byrne and his surrogate Judd Bagley.
If you mess with Patrick Byrne even your wife may be subject to scrutiny
If you publish a blog like Gary Weiss and question the actions of Patrick Byrne and Judd Bagley you risk having every aspect of your life under a microscope. Your wife is not sacred to them but mere fodder for an attack. Details of about your wife will be posted. They will post false or misleading information about you or your family members. See Gary Weiss Blog: January 12, 2007 - Judd Bagley Fesses Up.
If you mess with Patrick Byrne he may help orchestrate a government investigation of you
On February 15, 2007 Herb Greenberg (MarketWatch.com & Wall Street Journal columnist, blogger, and CNBC contributor) wrote the following on his blog in a post entitled "Overstock's Byrne: Thanks for the Memories"
On Feb. 10 of last year, three days after the SEC subpoenaed several members of the press in connection with the investigation -- but weeks before I ever made my subpoena public -- I received this email from Overstock (ostk) CEO Patrick Byrne:
I write in the spirit of our little sideline chats of the past. If you are not open to this, let me know.
I am just sitting here with a glass of wine in my hands, reflecting on what a really bad week you and your friends have had. The last two days in particular will likely prove to have been life-ruining events for certain people. As I take a sip, I find myself curious: do you guys know? Are you sitting somewhere, blithely oblivious, still chuckling about Whacky Patty, and all that? Or do you understand now that this is going to end badly for you?
The signs are that you guys do understand, as some of your cronies are starting to make desperate-seeming mistakes. Do you understand what is happening in your world? How do you rationalize it? How do you tell yourselves it will work out? Do you ask yourself if you should have done something differently? I don't suppose you would tell me what it feels like: even were you in a panic, you'd probably write something like, 'Anything you say Patrick!' But you guys cannot be completely oblivious about the meetings that are going on, the questions that are being asked, the documents being drafted, the stories that are being told, the people who are listening. Someday people will be asking you what it felt like, to be where you fellows are now, and I am mildly curious to know: I hope you record the thoughts for posterity, if only as a cautionary tale. And if you would care to send me a letter, I would keep it private if you so desire.
Who knows, I might even be in a position to do you a favor someday.
One has to wonder whether Patrick Byrne instigated or encouraged the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The SEC started investigating a research firm Gradient Analytics. Their problem was that they published research reports critical of Overstock.com’s business model and certain accounting practices.
Overstock.com and others sued Gradient Analytics and the hedge fund Rocker Partners. So if you are a hedge fund and your trades do not fit into Patrick Byrne’s agenda, watch out too. You may be sued.
Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission dropped its investigation into Gradient Analytics but continued its investigation into Overstock.com.
When the Securities and Exchange Commission first began its investigation into Overstock.com Patrick Byrne celebrated receiving his subpoena. He attempted to spin the situation into the SEC looking into Overstock.com as a means of them going after Gradient.
The Overstock.com web site states:
Was Overstock behind the SEC subpoenaing business journalists?
Has Overstock been subpoenaed?
Yes. We received a subpoena from the SEC on May 9, 2006. Prior to receiving the subpoena, we were already cooperating fully with various agencies, including the SEC.
Is Overstock being investigated by the SEC or other agencies?
The SEC is conducting an investigation on Overstock.com (see previous question). We are not aware of other investigations by any other agencies."
Are the subpoenas an infringement on these journalists' First Amendment rights?
Again, Overstock is not behind the subpoenas and we do not know what the subpoenas are about.
Notice that the Overstock.com web site states “Again, Overstock is not behind the subpoenas and we do not know what the subpoenas are about” despite the threatening e-mail Herb Greenberg received from Patrick Byrne.
In addition, the web site states “investigation on Overstock.com” rather than “investigation of Overstock.com.”
One has to wonder why the SEC investigation of Overstock.com continues after they dropped the Gradient investigation.
According to Overstock.com's most recent 10 - K filed for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2006:
On May 9, 2006 we received a notice of an investigation and subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission, Salt Lake City District Office. The subpoena requested a broad range of documents, including, among other documents, all documents relating to our accounting policies, our targets, projections or estimates related to financial performance, our recent restatement of its financial statements, the filing of our complaint against Gradient Analytics, Inc., the development and implementation of certain new technology systems and disclosures of progress and problems with those systems, communications with and regarding investment analysts, communications regarding shareholders who did not receive our proxy statement in April 2006, communications with certain shareholders, and communications regarding short selling, naked short selling, purchases and sales of our stock, obtaining paper certificates, and stock loan or borrow of our shares. We have responded to the subpoena.
Why you should not mess with Patrick Byrne
If you publish anything that does not fit into Patrick Byrne’s agenda watch out. Anything from your past may be subject to smear, innuendo, and misrepresentation. Your family members may come under attack too.
You may be subject to vicious attacks on the web site antisocialmedia.net which is run during the so-called spare time of Judd Bagley (Director of Social Media).
As a criminal I knew how to instill fear when I had to. So be afraid of Patrick Byrne. Stay away from him since he and his surrogate Judd Bagley know the smear game all too well.
When I look at the actions of Patrick Byrne and Judd Bagley I am reminded of my own criminality. Sometimes when I look in the mirror I see Patrick Byrne.
The only real transparency you can get from Patrick Byrne is the ugliness and maliciousness spewed by his actions against those who do not fit into his agenda.
Sam E. Antar (former Crazy Eddie CFO & convicted felon)
Other Blog Posts:
February 26, 2007 - Controlling the Discussion about Overstock
February 26, 2007 - AntiSocialMedia's False Start
February 27, 2007 - Illegal Computer Access?
Gary Weiss Blog:
March 19, 2007: Ordinary People Versus Corporate Bullies
March 25, 2007: The Overstock Meltdown Continues
April 2, 2007: Overstock.com Finds a Ten Year Old
December 10, 2005: Weekend Reading: Conspiracy of the Jews?
December 23, 2005: Conspiracy of the Jews? Part II
December 26, 2005: A Necessary Correction