Patrick Byrne A concerned citizen who has been hunting the oligarchy and Deep State since 2004. My actions forced me to abandon recently my 2,000 colleagues at Overstock.com. Help them out by going to Overstock.com and making a purchase.

Rejecting a $1 Billion Bribe

10 min read

See note at end: Your vote needed.

I know the origin of the Russian Collusion story from its inception in July 2015 (it did not start in July 2016: that is a cover-up), and I know something highly significant regarding the corruption of a (former) senior federal official.  I know this because of some fishy interactions I had with the FBI from July 2015 until Spring of 2017, including some extremely fishy requests and reactions from them.  I did not come forward until two months ago because, once the Russian story emerged as a national political story in late 2017, I began expecting investigators would come tap me on the shoulder to find out what I knew. I waited, but they never did.

In December 2017 I was having lunch at the White House with General HR McMaster. As we parted he asked me, “What do you think of this crazy Russian scandal?” To my dying day I will always regret that I did not tell him, “Sir, I know a lot about it.” I regret that I did not because I might have saved our nation two years of anguish. Instead, I bit my tongue: I was in a White House under federal investigation, I had had a hand in the investigation, and the right thing to do was unclear. In the distant past I have been scolded by Men in Black for thinking for myself, and knowing the importance of the matters at hand, I thought the best thing was to play things completely by the book.  I hesitated, shrugged, gave a non-committal answer, and took my leave. It was a terrible error.

In any case, I was confident those seeking the truth would be in contact with me sooner or later. The months ticked by: 2018 January, February, March…. I became concerned: how could people looking into these matters not have come across me and contacted me already? April 2018, no contact. May 2018, with the nation starting to go mad, I began to think the right thing for me to do was to come forward to someone. The question was, To whom? There clearly was something nefarious afoot, and I did not know who was to be trusted and who not. Maybe it meant, “Going to the DOJ,” but with Jeff Sessions at the helm, and Rod Rosenstein…? The hell with that. Mueller had once been a distant hero of mine, but the fact that he had not contacted me already was disturbing (for reasons that are either already clear or will become so). I thought of going back to the White House, but knew that would be jumping into a washing machine. I thought about going to the press, but in 2005-2008, when I knew that the savings of America were being looted, had the details, and knew the system was going to melt down in a settlement crisis (precisely as Greenspan later testified), I had turned to the press and discovered of what a grab-bag of ass-clowns they were: a decade later I was not going to repeat that mistake.

In June 2018 I went to see a famous Republican lawyer in Washington, to ask him to help me come forward to someone. He listened to five minutes of my story and said, “Patrick, I can tell you now that I am not taking you to see anyone. You are out of your mind: if you come forward you are going to go to prison for the rest of your life. You are going home, you are keeping your mouth shut. That’s all you are going to do.” I suggested to him we go see Mueller. He told me, “This Mueller investigation is like nothing we have ever seen in America. He is a prosecutor on a tirade, and he will bury you if you come forward to him.”

A month later, in July 2018, I was in Atlantic City to give a talk on blockchain. That night, YouTube served me up some clips of Congressional hearings of senior FBI officials getting grilled. While flipping through them I came across one of a man of whom I had never heard, “Peter Strzok”. He used words that made everything click: I was watching the man who had been the source of the fishy requests I received from late 2015 until Spring of 2017.

As I have explained in an earlier post, I did not vote for Trump, and from the day he came down the escalator and announced his candidacy he was not my cup of tea stylistically (though I find myself in agreement with him sometimes). Still, when I watched those Congressional hearings, I started feeling like I was watching the kind of thing I have witnessed in the Middle East and across the Third World: the politicization of law enforcement and national security. All the pieces fell into place for me, and it became clear to me that I had been tricked into being used in a soft-coup.

Within 30 minutes I had a jet arranged to take me at first light to Washington, DC. I did this for two reasons. First, clearly I had a duty to go and tell someone in Washington what I knew. Second, I realized that I had a problem because the Deep State had a problem: somewhere in America that night, there were people saying, “That son-of-a-bitch Byrne now has enough missing pieces to put the whole puzzle together.” So I needed to get to Washington, DC and tell someone what I knew.  Perhaps doing so would reduce the chances that I would get iced. But as importantly, I had to leave things so that if I did get iced, they would know where to investigate.

The next morning, I was standing in a SCIF (a special room shielded from electronic surveillance) telling a noted and highly-respected politician, along with a senior military officer from the Special Operations community, precisely what was going on. I only had 55 minutes to do so, and I knew my story sounded crazy: for that reason I gave them as many names and dates as I could, so if I disappeared, they would know where to start digging. Among the things I told them was the truth about Maria Butina, of whom they had only a vague idea.  I told them that she would turn out to be central to the Russian Collusion story. We left things that they would subpoena me, then I could come forward and reveal what I knew.

Four days later Maria Butina was arrested. I waited for my subpoena, but it never came. August, September…. I checked every day for my subpoena, hoping for it, but it never came. I found out later that they were not able to subpoena me because, with Maria’s arrest, I had become a possible witness, and Congress cannot subpoena someone who may be a witness in an ongoing criminal matter.

In late October, 2018, about 14 days before the election of 2018, a federal officer came to Utah to deliver the following message:

Patrick, you need to understand that there are billionaires walking around this world that we made, and we are prepared to do the same for you. You just have to stay calm, you just have to stay quiet…. Through the election.

Within a day or two I was on a  flight back to Washington, DC. This time I had in the SCIF that same politician, the same senior figure from the SOCOM community, and in addition a senior figure from within the DIA. They let me know that they knew I was not a crazy off the street (though I had sounded that way when we had met three months previously), due to the arrest of Maria days after I had met them the first time, along with the fact that they had been able to check out some of the things I had told them in our first meeting. This time I walked them through a great deal more, including the comment about “billionaires walking around this world that we made” just one or two days previously. They told me that, as sad and unbelievable as it sounded, there was absolutely no one to whom to turn. We needed to wait until there was a real Attorney General, they said, and then I could come forward.

Because I was on the East Coast anyway, a few days later I flew up to see my Mom, who had turned 86 a few weeks previously, and who lives alone in New Hampshire, to tell her the story I wrote above.

Since the story I am about to tell may be implausible to those that do not know me or my Ma, I would like to flashback briefly on her in three stories:

===================================================

  • Sandy Gottesman, whom Warren Buffet calls, “the best stock-picker in America,” was once my boss (1992-1993).  He knew both my parents (my father died in 2013) and once told me, “Patrick, most people go through life hoping to win the lottery once. You won it twice the day you were born. You won the Connecticut State Lotto in your dad. But you won the Irish Sweepstakes in drawing the mother you did.”
  • Sometime in around 1995 or 1996, when I was 34 years old, a private equity fund offered me a package that would have amounted to a pay-off of about $25 million, to lead what was called, “ a roll-up IPO”. A roll-up IPO is when a private equity fund buys a few dozen mom-and-pop businesses such as, for example, mom-and-pop propane distributors. The fund stitches them together into one firm, creates a headquarters that centralizes such corporate functions as payroll, buying, and advertising, thereby eliminating duplicate expenses, then goes public as one entity. I was 34 years old, running a small industrial torch manufacturer in New Hampshire with about 30 employees. The chance to step up and make $25 million for a few years’ of work sounded attractive.

As is my custom, I wrote up a description of the choice I was facing and sent it to Buffett. A few days later he called me. Though he normally teaches via the Socratic method, this call was unusually succinct. “Don’t do it Patrick,” he said.

Why not? His first set of reasons dealt with the nature of “roll-up IPOs”. “They are scams,” he said. He explained that the alleged efficiencies of creating centralized corporate departments rarely materialized: when one went from having mom-and-pop doing things, to having a centralized corporate headquarters perform the same function, “You are lucky if together they stay anywhere close to as efficient as they were when it was just mom-and-pop running things,” he explained. But primarily, he continued, all they really are about is buying up earnings streams at 4-6 times cash flow, and selling them to the public for 10 X cash flow. “You are just promoting the public. Don’t have anything to do with things like that.”

I got it. His objection was a moral objection. I thought I was consulting him about it simply as a business opportunity, and had not understood that the question even had a moral dimension to it. I had simply bought the explanation of roll-up IPOs the private equity fund had given me.

Buffett concluded with a point I will never forget. “Patrick, I want you to remember something for the rest of your life. Whenever you are faced with a moral dilemma, ask yourself what your mother would do. Not your father, but your mother. Your mom would not touch something like this with a ten-foot pole. Your dad would just ask for more stock options.”

  • As reporters never tire of bringing up to me, my Pop stood against me during my fight with Wall Street in 2005-2008. When the entire rest of the world was standing against me, he went out of his way to give an interview to the Wall Street Journal, where he dissed me publicly. 

Interestingly, not once has a reporter asked me what my mother thought. It is time I tell the world.

When in 2006 the WSJ article appeared with my father dissing me, my mom called me up that very day. Speaking to me in a tone of voice I had never heard before, so angry and venomous was it, “Is this thing you are saying true, that somewhere in America grandmothers are eating dog food for dinner because Wall Street is stealing from them? And that the system is going to collapse?”

Startled, I thought for a moment then said, “Mom, I am sure of it.”

With a venom like I had never heard in my Mom’s voice, she said, “Then don’t you consider yourself a-member-of-my-family, do not consider yourself my son… if you back out of this fight. Do not even consider us related, if you quit. If-you-back-down-you-are-not-my-son.”

She went on to say, “I am so angry with your father I am not going to speak to him for a month.” Giving that he was then dying of cancer and largely bedridden, this was no small thing. And she stayed true to her word: my father spent the next month having meals brought to him by someone else, and my mom did not speak to him.

===================================================

Flashback over.

Now to return to what happened in 2018 with my mom. Once I had seen Peter Strzok on television in July 2018, and realized what I had been used in, I went to New Hampshire and started to prepare her that there was a nasty scandal going on in which I would emerge. Either it was going to eat its way to me, or I was going to go public and expose it.  So I sat her down in August, 2018 and explained to her that I had cooperated with federal authorities a couple times in my life, and let her in on enough of the story so she would not have a heart attack if and when she read about it in the papers. Characteristically, her concern was for “that poor Russian girl,” Maria Butina, who (whether she was just an idealistic kid, or Mata Hari, or something in between) had clearly had been the target of a stitch-up by the federal government (who had known about her from the day she arrived, watched her, let it all happen, and to some degree engineered it through me), and who was then sitting in a box the size of a shower stall (for what I was hoping would be only a week or two, but ultimately, would turn into a sentence of 18 months).

Then in late October, 2018 came the thing about “billionaires walking around this world that we made, and we are prepared to do the same for you… You just have to stay calm, you just have to stay quiet… through the election.” I went to Washington, DC and told three high-level people in government about it, then I went up to New Hampshire and sat with her. I walked her through it. That was the second time in my life I heard that venomous, angry voice from my mother.

She jumped to her feet (at 86) and began jabbing a finger in front of my face. Barely able to keep from retching, she said, “I–would–be-so-insulted. Who did you tell?! Who did you tell?!?!”

Suddenly I was an 8 year old again, completely backed up by my mom. “Who did I tell? What? I – uh – I – I told – uh – I -– wh-what do you mean?” I said.

“Well you told someone, right?” She spat out at me. Seething, she said, “You didn’t take it, did you?”

I was so shocked, it took me a moment to calibrate enough to realize what she was saying. “Are you kidding? Of course not. I got on a plane and went to Washington and told a Congressman and two Army colonels about it.”

“Good. OK,” she said, somewhat mollified, but she stalked off seething. Only then did I get where she was coming from. She was asking if I had taken a billion dollars to betray the US. It still kind of surprises me, actually, that she asked. I suppose that is the way of mothers: they are never off-duty.

 I could pass a lie detector on this claim: that moment, which was about 7 days after the bribe was offered,  was the first time the thought crossed my mind, You know Patrick, you could just say, “Yes.” With 100% honesty I can say the thought never occurred to me until Ma demanded that answer.

What had occurred to me? From the moment I heard the bribe offered, I had one and only thought running through my mind:

I. Got. You. I – got – you. I got you….you motherfuckers. I GOT you. I have searched for you for 13 years, I spent half my fortune, but I got you motherfucks cold. And I am going to blowtorch your goddamn world.

What I meant by that is going to have to wait until the DOJ acts.

I am going to leave a poll up on Twitter asking you to vote whether you believe this story or not. I know it’s true, and don’t need any validation. I am curious to understand how the public mind works, though.

Patrick Byrne A concerned citizen who has been hunting the oligarchy and Deep State since 2004. My actions forced me to abandon recently my 2,000 colleagues at Overstock.com. Help them out by going to Overstock.com and making a purchase.

Reflections on Overstock Q3 Quarterly Earnings

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73 Replies to “Rejecting a $1 Billion Bribe”

  1. Have you considered working to end solitary confinement in prisons in the US? Regardless of what people think about Butina it is a practice that should be ended. It is cruel for the sake of being cruel.

      1. I’m not sure that answers my question but it seems like that’s a no. Also there were 25 Russians indicted by the Muller investigation. Maria was the only one in the US.

        1. Indicted with no proof whatsoever other than allegations based within a narrative assumption that the staff of the listed Russian agencies must be guilty. Mueller knew he had no way to determine who had done what at these agencies and in fact when lawyers representing one of these agencies unexpectedly showed up at the initial court hearing demanding trial and deposition proceedings Mueller’s team, unable to produce any viable evidence, tucked tail and ran.

      2. I respect how you defend Maria… if she is part of the “plan”, or not… you continue to describe her exactly as she is/was in your environment.

        1. You know… I’m not really defending her. What I had to say about her I put in my three pieces on her. I really cannot say she was blameless. At the very least, she was dancing quite close to the line. She was taking guidance (at least) from Torshin. That made her actions quite dicey (whether or not Torshin was in cahoots with Putin, or just acting on his own). That is one question.

          There is an unrelated question: How did our organs of national security respond? The answer is: their response had 0 to do with national security, and 100% to do with using Maria to their own domestic political ends.

          Those two questions should not be conflated.

          Notice how 60 Minutes only addressed one, and did not touch the other? How odd. Odd, too, that 60 minutes did not reach out to me, though I know more about this issue than any American outside the government.

          Patrick

      3. Has anyone else noticed that both your press release about deep state FBI leaders and the whistleblower complaint were filed the same day? August 12????????!!!!!!!!

      4. Has anyone else noticed that both your press release about deep state FBI leaders and the whistleblower complaint were filed the same day? August 12.

      5. I believe you Patrick. I think the whistleblower complaint and impeachment inquiry was all in response to your press release on August 12….

  2. I already wrote you on twitter… but Dr Byrne thank you for penning this emotional piece…. *swallows the lump*

  3. I LOVE your Mom. Cherish the time you have with her. She was put in your orbit for a reason I think.
    And I believe you are telling the truth.

  4. Patrick !
    You have been amazing me for some time now…the story of your mother brought me to tears ! What a great human being !

    I even tried to sign up for your poll so i could add my vote you in your fight for truth n justice…regrettably it didnt work.

    Needless to say i know you are telling the truth.
    You are a true patriot indeed…
    Peace,
    Anil

  5. Patrick,I believe this story and I hope that you spend a lot of time with your Mom in the near future.

    God bless both of you.God Bless Everyone.

  6. Thanks for the blue balls. Now I feel like i did after the announcement of the Retail sale. Except that time you kicked me in the blue balls so hard. Repeatedly over many months. With the force that comes from a leg of a 6’7″ Irishman. And it hurt. So bad. Like really bad.

    Speaking of which, are you going to write about the Retail sale or did JJ politely ask you to zip it?

    1. Hey man. Last I heard people were kvetching because the bribe story won the Twitter poll, but I wanted to do Maria part three before she landed in Moscow.

      Yes, next story is the sale.

  7. Dr. Byrne, thank you for coming forward and sharing what details you can with us. Those of us who have been paying attention have known that something has been awry in our government for quite some time. After I saw the WL email of CitiGroup execs picking the Obama administration cabinet members, I knew it was real and not just a conspiracy. Many people, yourself among them, have risked their lives to get the truth to the people, and many of us are and will remain grateful for that. God bless you, sir, and please keep yourself and your family safe.

    Ashes to ashes, all fall down.

  8. The Watsa crew at The Corner of Berksire&Fairfax think you lost your marbles. I feel like the guy with Blue Balls above me. It feels like you promoted your public company as part of your personal exit strategy in the end. Will you be entitled to Whistleblower comp too, as part of this personal bribe, and the people who may go away to jail?

    Btw, Peter’s X, Mary Buffett, betrayed The Oracle in revealing the exact same multiple expansion by Berkshire as your PE roll up mom and pop story Why is or was it ethically or morally better for him?

    Regarding Butina, the 60 Minutes interview with damning emails made her appear bad, especially anti U.S.

    1. Yeah the fact that Berkshire does exactly the thing Buffet told Patrick not to do is very odd…then again every part of this is.

      Butina went to jail for exactly the thing she did. I don’t really see any controversy there. Patrick seems rightfully upset that she was put in solitary confinement (no one should be – ever). He wrongfully is mad that he told the FBI she was going to commit a crime and then she did. I’m not really sure what they were supposed to do. She did something illegal and got caught.

      1. I believe I came across something last week that validates my point. It was something about, in December, 2015, Hillary was briefed on the Russian threat to her campaign. That is the month that I earlier said I was jumping up and down Warning the men in black. What if it turns out that they briefed Hillary’s campaign, but not Rubio, Cruz, and Trump? (And by the way, I always say things in those order because that is the order Maria always used.)

        1. If it turned out that is what happened that would be shitty of the US government. If that’s true it certainly didn’t seem to help her campaign. It also wouldn’t negate that what Maria did was illegal.

          1. Anil,
            Thanks again. I cannot tell when stupid comments are posted, does the poster even mean them, or are they posted to get me irritated and waste my time answering stupid comments? It is so nice when someone smart just answers for me.

            Patrick

    2. Patrick, why did Watsa and Chou turn against you in the end selling their stock still higher than you did in the low-mid $20’s prior to $80, after everything they would have known especially your block chain incubator, most importantly tZero with all of its advantages that would have saved Watsa from having to run and hide on the Toronto Exchange while little “stevie” Cohen was attacking him to hell on NYSE circa 2006?

      What an ungrateful SOB that “Boner of the North” turned out to be in Canada including his Indian educated more pedigree roots. Comparing his $11B market cap company to Buffett(honing in on $600B soon)is a fable only consumed if one has snorted sufficient Indian curry in their food, and ironically, this Master Hedger who stops all his profits from accumulating over decades being so relentlessly bearish all the time, has a smaller market cap than CTL, who he once crammed down a toxic convertible when it was LVLT, pre merger, with a 15 percent interest, and 15 percent of the company hybrid security circa 2011. I called him The Usury Artist he is back then, but I digress.

      He sold out of that one seemingly early too, and considering where they seem to be heading(triple digit billion market cap), another “Bone Head” move by The Boner of The North in Toronto, Canada.

      Why he didn’t help you finance “block chain” or why didn’t you ask, remains another enigma knowing all the history he went through personally. Do you or did you once piss all the people around your board room table off, Patrick?

  9. Pretty Amazing. No doubt you’re a true patriot.

    But makes me wonder how many people out there have accepted those deepstate bribes.

    1. Those people are the whole reason we’re so deep into this mess. Simple human greed. Mr. Byrne, you’er a true patriot and I appreciate what you’re sacrificing to bring the truth to light.

    1. Third paragraph from the bottom. It’s in italics.

      Priceless. Wish there were more humans like Byrne on this planet that someone made.

  10. Knowing what you know now do you think you might take a closer look at the Ed Snowden saga? You made some comments in a past youtube interview that sounded like they came from ignorance of the details. I believe you both are of like mind on a lot of things and could be a powerful one two punch in the media..

    1. Personally, I think the Snowden affair was some sort of psyop by the NSA. Nothing of consequence occurred after his leak, the general public’s suspicions of government surveillance were confirmed but everyone just kept carrying on. I don’t think digging into it would produce much useful information besides what the NSA was trying to do – either root out actual liabilities or use the Snowden leaks to see which circles the information was going to

  11. Let’s see if I can answer the Buffett Ethics question dilemma posed by my lonesome, Dr. Byrne. When he used the term to you, “promoting the public,” I guess you meant him saying that those Private Equity Charlatans were going to pass a hot potato to the unsuspecting public–duping them in the end–in an unfavorable way by having ascribed a higher “multiple” to a group of mom and pops in the “public marketplace” vs. them standing alone and being valued more stingy like. At the same time, he knew that their centrally distributed management of those collective companies would hardly produce the expected results they may have been touting to The Street, except for lining their own pockets with management and other fees which would have been poorly earned.

    Uncle Warren, on the other, this GREAT STEWARD of managing Other Peoples Money including his own while taking a “hands on approach” after vetting quality companies in the private sector for a discount, and enabling those private managers to stay with the business if they preferred, remains a shrewd, savvy, more ethical than not, “STOCK OPERATOR” and “FINANCIAL GURU,” I won’t say “MAVEN” since Wrong Street is filled with too many of those charlatans, by folding underneath his PUBLIC HOLDING COMPANY those same private businesses at an overnight “MAGICAL MULTIPLE” for value purposes. Moreover, with Berkshire’s Stamp of Approval, those companies could and would be financed to Nirvana.

    How would you grade me on this summary, Dr. B?

    Have we not heard Munger enough equating The Berkshire Empire as the most efficiently run, decentralized corporate conglomerate distributing “autonomy” to its subsidiaries like no other company in the universe anytime before here to fro?

    This is why it sticks in my craw that your company, Overstock.com, has always been ignored by The Oracle, and even in your deepest despair, he couldn’t find a price that would make you happy. Thus became your personal exit strategy promoted to the public in real time a company that is seeming in free fall, attacked by those same Wrong Street Charlatans who haven’t let you out of their jowls for almost two decades straight.

    Very sad indeed, what is happening to your legacy, PB.

      1. You fat fingered scrolling to the tweet, clicking the dropdown, clicking delete, then clicking confirm? You must have some chubby fingers.

        1. A woman wrote me whom I had met 20 years ago in Durango Colorado. She tweeted a reply. I wrote a reply. She made her tweet disappear. I thought that perhaps that perhaps my reply had angered or embarrassed her. I went to make my reply disappear. When I did, the top poll had disappeared. WetWare error, I suppose.

  12. You should really have someone look into fixing up this site if you’re going to keep using it. It’s hard to keep up an appearance of trust when comments routinely disappear. You say you’re not removing them but you also deleted your Twitter poll.

      1. Patrick,
        Tried going to minds.com three attempts in an hour, site doesnt load (unless its blocked in this country where i am at the moment)
        Why not medium.com (in addition to minds.com) as some one else suggested ?
        Cheers,
        Anil

  13. How do you know that the congressman whom you confided in is a good person? (Ditto for the colonels.). How do you know that he is a white hat, as people say, as opposed to a black hat?

    There seems to be an ocean apart between someone like Nunes and someone like Schiff. I consider Nunes a white hat.

    My point being is how do you know that the people you have told your story to – the people you are trusting – are good people, when it sounds like so many in Washington are part of some giant corrupt deep state?

    1. I researched carefully. I found just the right Congressman. I looked into the backgrounds of a bunch of them, Democrat and Republican, and found the one whose background told me he could be trusted.

      He brought with him a guy with a SOCOM background.

      There is a story told within SOCOM: JFK gave a warning to them that is passed from Sergeant to Seargent: “Have your plan for the day when the federal government goes rogue, because it will be you fellows who save the country and restore the Constitution.” It has and they will.

    1. You know, believe it or not, I am giving you the whole story. Bite-sized pieces. I am going to hold a contest to write up one coherent version of this, with 1 Bitcoin as a prize. So start reading everything I wrote since August, so you will be ready. Even the thigns that seem unrelated (e.g., OSTK) may turn out to be related.

  14. I hope you aren’t saving the Etail sale story until after it is sold next Monday, and prior to earnings? Wasn’t it Jj who wanted to sell it, while you being as was written in your goodbye letter were more the encumbrance that kept any deals from getting done? After more than two years of “talk” baiting and switching quarter by quarter keeping owners on edge with expectations high, one really expects that to unleash some long overdue, unrecognized value asap. The only disappointment will probably be the “price,” I am sure.

  15. Dr. B,
    It’s been many years since I have posted, was just a low level player in the DTCC stock counterfeiting wars back in the day, but Warm Regards to you, you are in my prayers, and since I don’t use Twitter I can’t vote there so will vote here. I do believe you. WWG1WGA.

    Best,
    Jeremiah 9:24

  16. My Byrne. I have followed your efforts to expose the corruption in Wall Street since 2005. You had an excellent Power Point presentation on FTD’s (otherwise known as Naked Shorting) that I enjoyed immensely at the time. We all make mistakes in life with our associations. Associations with the corrupt, even unknowingly, can taint an individual… sometimes beyond repair. I admire you for standing up and saying metaphorically, “Let the chips fall where they may.” You Sir, are seen by many in my immediate circle as a hero. As, indeed, I believe that you are. Stay well, our friend.

  17. Patrick – You mentioned Jeff Sessions — I just read this headline (dated 11/06/2019) “Jeff Sessions, ex-attorney general forced out by Trump, plans to run for former Senate seat in Alabama”…Any thoughts on this? Sessions is/was a big part of the problem? no?

  18. The real ones who are suffering are the the shareholders of the company you brilliantly started and abandoned.
    However complicated you want to make the excuse you want to make. You were my hero against criminal naked short sellers that still very much exist like ISIS. I fight that war when ever I can. My clients are suffering shareholders of the firm you invented. Yes, I’am a registered advisor who believes that you can do right in this crazy business and help people get through it and help get their kids through college and retire. I fought through cancer myself. Man it wasn’t easy. But it has not been the same without you at Overstock.

    All the Best

  19. The only people suffering are the shareholder of the company you so brilliantly started and abandoned. However complicated excuses one wants to make. You were my hero against the criminal naked short sellers that still exist like ISIS in the marketplace.
    I still believe that you can help people get their kids through college and retire in this crazy business. Yes, I’am a Registered Advisor. I also fought cancer and man it wasn’t easy. Being in Overstock hasn’t been the same without you.

    All the Best.

    1. “Abandoned“? Talk to the board.

      For 20 years, I was the New England guy come to Utah, the outsider to my own company. For 17 years there had been an inappropriate relationship between the Board of Directors and some component or another of the executive team. It was never the ones actually responsible for running anything, or coming up with new ideas, but just the ones who spent a lot of time with the board, and who fought for things to be “reporting to” them, without ever actually being responsible for running anything, or coming up with ideas that moved things forward, etc. In other words, “staff”.

      Why did I put up with it? A mistake, surely. All along I was thinking that I should not be a tyrant, that my goal was to build something that would outlive me for the day I left (and given that I had numerous health problems for a decade, this seemed like the right plan). You have no idea of the political BS that got in the way of running the place, and the number of coups I have had to fight periodically, as a result of letting this persist. Staff guys who never had an idea of their own, never moved the ball forward an inch, conspiring with those board members who had never been executives themselves, and felt this was their chance to be “shadow executives”.

      All summer, executives close to me were warning me of something weird brewing. For one thing, evidently there were a lot of hedge funds lobbying along the lines of, “With this huge short position, if Patrick only retires, the stock will pop to $50.” As I wrote elsewhere, it seemed beneath me to lobby against that, to point out (again) all the ways it is dumb to try to manage a firm by listening to things like that. With one exception, the board seemed strangely impassive. But I dismissed the warnings as paranoia.

      Also all summer, my plan was to sell about 2%-4% of my holdings into the volume in mid-September, and then 10b5 the rest over 3-4 years.

      But then this insurance thing came along and surprised me. It did seem decisive in my eyes. I thought, “Well, that was an anticlimactic way for all this to end,” but being told it was “impossible” to get D&O insurance with me at the firm made it seem like there was nothing left to fight about anymore. So I immediately gave my resignation, announced it internally, made all the preparations.

      48 hours before I left, something started smelling like skunk. I started digging to get to the bottom of it. 24 hours before I left, I found out the insurance angle was a lie (one in which, incidentally, Marsh played along by doctoring some information: those are the deep pockets the lawyers should be suing). The CFO told someone that the chairwoman put him up to it (in which case, she did not act alone). He could well have been telling the truth, or he could’ve been lying. I don’t know. But it was like that day when you wake up after 20 years in a relationship with a narcissist and say to yourself, “You know what? I’ve got better things to do than play these endless games. The right way, the only way, to handle a narcissistic is to withdraw.” I had announced it internally, everything was all set for me to leave, having found out that this had been based on a lie I might have been justified to go back and reverse myself… But as I say, it was 17 years of these kinds of games. Never from anyone who was actually involved with running an operating unit and putting points on the board, always with staff executives who spend a lot of time with the board lobbying for promotions (e.g., various CFOs). They wanted me gone (they were riveted on this idea the stock would pop to $50), so I was gone. I could have done a Batman grappling hook over the transom and tried to save myself, but after 17 years of it, I decided to let them have their way.

      By the way, they confirmed guidance to me, and that the dividend was green light. I changed my instructions so that I would be selling all my shares in mid-September. Incidentally, I told every senior executive with the exclusion of JJ that I would be doing so: five of them individually, then those five in a room together (witnessed by two more people), then nine together in a lunchroom, and then four more on my way out the door (but there is overlap among all those groups, so you cannot just add them up). I did that so they would know that, while our projections showed Retail would cover Medici’s cash needs in 2020, they had a safety net to the tune of $30-$40 million from me if they needed it. I also instructed all of them not to share any inside information with me from that moment forward.

      Incidentally, I am confident that if I told those N people, (N – 1) of them will confirm that series of events (as will a stack of emails). The -1 is a two-faced suckbutt guy who (I have been told) has been anxiously going around to the others nervously saying, “Ah, you don’t remember Patrick getting us in a meeting room and telling us XYZ, do you? Do you?!?!” (In other words, trying to get them to change their memory.) Given that the others are all people of character, he is just looking more and more foolish to them, and it sickens them (I’ve been told) that they have to work with a half-man political fool like he.

      I did not tell JJ directly because I did not know what legal obligations it put him under, if he knew that his largest shareholder was about to sell everything. He asked, and my response was to tell JJ not to share any inside information with me. And later, when he sought me out about whether I was selling or not, I refused to answer his question. I was shocked when I saw him telling the press later that I was not selling: I did not know that it was the prerogative of CEOs to comment on the intentions of their largest shareholders. However, that was also the period where he made some comment about the SEC investigation being “dormant”: I think he had some nervous jitters, and after years of being in the navigator’s seat calling out errors of mine, discovered quickly how easy it is to make slips like that when one is actually in the pilot seat. I do not think he had any ill intent or desire to mislead. I think it more likely he learned that one can give a nuanced answer to a journalist, and see it come out in print in black & white, with no nuance. That is a guess only.

      In late September, I had my only substantive conversations with anyone about the Retail business since I left. JJ, and two others. What I gleaned was this: Around September 10 when they closed the August books things had slipped in freight more than they had estimated (in a way that may cost $1-$2 million per year); the D&O insurance had come in at a few million dollars more than had been expected (the difficulty had turned out not to be about me, but about blockchain: the CFO had been lying about that, perhaps at the direction of the chairwoman, but worse yet, Marsh had actually doctored their communication to the company to accommodate a request of the CFO); and most importantly, starting around Labor Day there had been a weakening in the furniture business across the nation, and OSTK vendors were letting the firm know it had happened suddenly across our competition too (e.g., Wayfair). That matched something I simultaneously heard from the real estate world as well: it is as though on Labor Day of this year the real estate market downshifted a gear across the nation.

      I do not know what $600,000 item you are talking about.

      I jiu-jitsued four of these in the past. The fifth time, I said, “The hell with it, if they want me out, I’ll let them shove me out. I cannot wait to see all the great innovations they come up with when it comes time to roll with the punches.”

      So that is precisely how things played out. If you want to call that, “abandon”, be my guest.

  20. Patrick, would you care to handicap the odds of OSTK going bankrupt any time soon or in the future without you at the helm?

    Assuming Jj hasn’t been mismanaging cash–oh God, he has taken way too much cash compensation over the years including most recently–the company had $3.27 per share in “CASH” as of June 30th fully diluted. As soon as you left and while your seat was still warm, the SOB grabbed 600K additional annual compensation from shareholders’ cookie jar.

    I always asked you about the “burn rate” including all “investees” but were ignored before earnings via emailed questions. However, considering that “Free Cash Flow” from core ETAIL operations have become illusory again since the most recent pre-earnings disappointment announcement, and these ongoing lawsuits that hit the business wire under Overstock’s name almost repeatedly every working Wall Street hour on the hour, certain to be a huge distraction by management in running the business, all while nobody is there to underwrite or finance OSTK’s ongoing cash needs, one sees what a pickle you created for this enterprise in real time.

    What a terribly sad legacy you seem to have left behind, good sir.

    1. You sound like one of those guys who was sure it would go to $50 if I could only be forced out.

      My “legacy”? My legacy ended the day the Board took (and/or engineered) the word of the CFO that they could not get insurance with me there, and so I had to leave.

      “Bankrupt”? Don’t forget that I am awaiting in the wings with another nice round of capital, should they need it. And will provide me appropriate terms.

      1. No Patrick Byrne. I am one of those guys who believes the stock could go to $100 and beyond((Just $3.7B?), when the block- chain tsunami rains hard into Overstock’s cash register as a result of iron clad patents and “execution” to penetrate sizeable addressable markets that were financed appropriately, but always hoping you were the lightning rod in the primary leadership role for getting it done! You are missed, and were always supported by this edgy owner to the exclusion of my hyper German critical eye being expressed from time to time.

        Leading into that potential success with you at the helm, I was happy investing in a boring Etail toaster, pillows, rugs and furniture discount business that produced $40M “free cash flow” to its owners in its sleep without trying very hard, and before that was screwed up……at least for the time being.

        So, for the time being, one must accept your comment and “back stop” capital being available when a 911 emergency call is made to you, so that bankruptcy is NOT an OPTION. Risk=0. Das ist gut, danke.

        CenturyLink(CTL) had a good day including earnings last night, so I am happy despite the unrealized drubbing of losses OSTK is handing us today. Take note of that one since it should be in or near the $100B market cap ZONE vs. the ridiculous $16B market cap it is sporting after today’s RUN. We will have our way with “THE STREET” on that one too, in the not too distant future!

        Then of course, THE GOLD STANDARD of PAPER MONEY is finally beginning to RISE towards that NEXT DOUBLE(ONE TRILLION MARKET CAP)after being an underperformer vs. the S&P the past eight years or so, even without your Rabbi shooting any ELEPHANTS on the Prairie yet. That makes us very happy too.

        By the way, does The Oracle pull out a Yamaka and place it on his head when you sit with him? 🙂 Peace out. Carl

  21. You make me work over time for you without compensation, Patrick, and great losses being carried from your block chain “TECH STACK!” Importantly, you confused another poster with my reference to Jj’s 600K new “draw” on company cash assets(raiding the cookie jar). Isn’t that what the prosecuting attorneys against Flynn are being accused by his defense attorney relating to your Deep State FBI guy Strzok?

    In any event, my memory was off and low by 25K, since Jj nailed 625K for taking over your warm seat upon resignation. Soon after, he threw shareholders a weak “insider buy” bone(r) of 2K shares by memory for about $32K.

    https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1130713/000113071319000065/a8-kpatrickbyrne20190822.htm

    1. That’s the first I heard of any of that. I did not know he raised his salary, I did not know he made an insider buy.

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