Marc Cohodes Buys Stock & Vanishes From Overstock CEO’s Smear Site

As of October, 23, 2017, two weeks after the Grant’s conference, it looked like this according to Google's cache (click on image below to enlarge):

The editing took place sometime between Sept. 29 and Oct. 23. The Grant’s conference, as noted, was on Oct. 10.

Observe that Byrne has changed “Marc Cohodes” to “[redacted].” This implies that his name was removed by some legal or official mechanism, when in fact his name was taken out to make Cohodes happy.

There was just one mention of Cohodes in that post. But there were numerous references to him in another smear job “Bethany McLean: Your Benefit of the Doubt is Hereby Revoked,” which quoted emails that were obtained through pretrial discovery in a lawsuit not involving Overstock. Its purpose was to show a conspiracy between Cohodes and McLean and it attacked the integrity of McLean, Roddy Boyd and Herb Greenberg (all investigative reporters). The three are sneeringly referred to as “journalists,” using scare quotes, and McLean, the principal target of this post, is attacked at length.

The Deep Capture post looked like this as of Sept. 29, 2017, according to the Wayback Machine (click on image below to enlarge):

But by October 22, twelve days after Cohodes did his pump job at Grant’s conference, and coinciding with his pleas to myself and others to shut up about Byrne, every reference to Cohodes was cut out of that post. It now appeared like this, according to Google's cache (click on image below to enlarge):

It was like that throughout the post. Rather than delete it entirely—he was still on board with the underlying conspiracy theory and attacks on journalists—Byrne removed Cohodes’ name from this Judd Bagley post, which turned a routine exchange between reporter and source into the convening of an evil cabal.

Byrne even retained the ridiculous suggestion that “the emails you’ve just read are the real reason Bethany McLean made a sudden departure from the world of business journalism earlier this year.” That’s a reference to her departure from Fortune to work for the prestigious Vanity Fair magazine. That would be considered upward mobility anywhere but in Byrne’s nutty world—and he still feels that way.

That nonsense was retained. McLean’s, Boyd’s and Greenberg’s names were retained. The attack on their integrity remained. Cohodes, however, was gone.

Another example is a crude 2008 Byrne smear job on journalist Roddy Boyd.

It still retained Cohodes’ name on Oct. 13, 2017, three days after the Grant’s conference, according to the Wayback Machine (click on image below to enlarge):

But sometime between October 13 and October 20, 2017, according to Google's cache, the article was edited to look like this (click on image below to enlarge):

Cohodes’ name was removed from the end of the sentence “Hedge funds can do no wrong, particularly if they belong to a small constellation whose brightest lights are Stevie Cohen, Dan Loeb, David Einhorn, Jim Chanos, and David Rocker.” He was retroactively removed from the conspiracy nine years after Byrne concocted this rubbish.

The same editing job took place in post after post in which Cohodes was negatively mentioned prior to becoming a Byrne fan and shareholder. In every instance he was gone by the latter part of October, after he had acquired shares and had become a Patrick Byrne cheerleader.

The only article I could find in which Cohodes’ name was retained was a 2009 Deep Capture post in which Byrne praised Cohodes while attacking his former partner David Rocker. But if Byrne was taking a shine to Cohodes as far back as 2009, or at least trying to drive a wedge between him and Rocker, why did he wait eight years before cutting his name out of Deep Capture?

What happened to cause this sudden removal of his name—as if we didn’t know?

Cohodes likes to make a big show of giving to journalism nonprofits, and he praises journalists he claims to admire. He sometimes beats his chest and “defends” reporters who have been intimidated by CEOs. But he does so in self-serving fashion on Twitter in conjunction with his attacks on short targets, whose CEOs he scorns even though most are not nearly as bad as Byrne.

He only seems to care about journalists, it seems, if they are not writing negatively about his favorite stock. If they do, they are “haters” and “bleacher bums.”

Ironically, Byrne did much the same thing over the years, praising some journalists while attacking others.

Deep Capture and Byrne’s obsession with critics

Even before Deep Capture was created in 2007, Byrne was obsessed with criticism of the company and, directly and through surrogates, viciously attacked critics and tried to co-opt them. He has never repudiated his tactics and continues to employ them to this day.

In a Fortune article, McLean revealed that Byrne taunted her in misogynistic fashion while she was researching the story, saying in an email “why exactly did you become a reporter? Giving Goldman traders blowjobs didn't work out?"

His vicious personal attacks on McLean continued when he established his Deep Capture fake news website in 2007, and they forced her to stop covering the company, as she recently told Columbia Journalism Review.

Byrne was believed to have advance knowledge of a 2006 SEC subpoena of journalists who wrote negative articles about the company. After an uproar, the subpoenas were later withdrawn.

When Bloomberg columnist Susan Antilla wrote a column on his smear campaign in early 2007, Byrne’s operative Judd Bagley attacked her viciously on a stock message board. Deep Capture was established later that year. Byrne has denied that it is run by Overstock, but he conceded that he is Deep Capture’s publisher and “ultimately controls what is published on the website” in sworn deposition testimony.

I have written frequently about Byrne and Deep Capture, as have many others. One of the most notorious episodes took place in 2009, when Byrne used Judd Bagley to pretextjournalists and critics (including me) to gather information about their family members (including minor children) and friends by setting up a phony profile on Facebook under the name Larry Bergman. That got Bagley kicked off Facebook. Barry Ritholtz wrote about it at the time, as did others. Even though it was a public relations disaster that would shame most CEOs, Byrne expressed no regret.

In February 2009, I exposed violations of accounting rules by that allowed it to fabricate a Q4 2008 profit rather than properly report a loss in that quarter and overstate its reported income in later quarters. Byrne retaliated by personally attacking me on a stock market chat board, during various earnings calls, and in the press, in an effort to discredit me. During that time, Judd Bagley injected himself into my divorce proceedings by contacting my former spouse, who ignored him.

Bagley’s illegal actions were a clear retaliation for my pointing out the company's accounting violations. My work was vindicated when, at my request, the Securities and Exchange Commission investigated and forced it to restate its financial reports to correct its illegal accounting practices.

Again, Byrne has stood by everything I’ve just described.

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I am a convicted felon and a former CPA. As the CFO of Crazy Eddie, I helped mastermind one of the largest securities frauds ...

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