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

Cohodes dissembles to protect Patrick Byrne

Cohodes has said that he “bets the jockey, not the horse.” Until recently he viewed Byrne as a crazy fool. During deposition testimony in a lawsuit between Overstock and Goldman Sachs, Cohodes described Byrne as a nut who was not fit to run a public company (click on image below to enlarge).

Cohodes now says he has changed his mind. He has not explained, either publicly or privately, what facts support his view that Byrne is not crazy, never has been crazy, and is and was fit to run a public company. That’s because there aren’t any.

Byrne has not changed one bit. Even his widely debunked naked short selling conspiracy theory has been cited by Byrne in explaining his widely ballyhooed effort to replace Wall Street’s clearing mechanisms with blockchain technology.

Cohodes has claimed on Twitter—without disclosing his Deep Capture vanishing act—that concerns about Byrne’s character and his attacks on the media are all “legacy bullshit” dating back “thirteen years”.

Here is a typical recent Cohodes tweet pumping Overstock, slobbering over Byrne, disparaging his victims as “haters,” and hyping a new Overstock that suddenly materialized after he took a position in the stock.

This kind of cynical behavior is amoral and insulting to Byrne’s numerous targets, including myself, his ex-partner David Rocker, other short-sellers, bloggers, analysts, and journalists like Carol Remond, Joe Nocera, Herb Greenberg, Gary Weiss, Roddy Boyd and Bethany McLean, all of whom are currently under attack on Deep Capture.

By whitewashing the past, dissembling about the present, and mocking Byrne’s victims, Cohodes has misled investors about a risk factor that is unique to Overstock: its CEO, whose behavior has damaged Overstock’s reputation.

Cohodes has every right to have his own opinion about Byrne. But as Daniel Patrick Moynihan once put it, “everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

Byrne’s smear site is alive and well. Not a word on Deep Capture—or any of the other venues Byrne and his surrogates have used to spread their lies—has ever been repudiated by Byrne. He has not recently created fresh posts smearing journalists and critics for the simple reason that his tactics work.

There hasn’t been any negative media coverage of Byrne since November 2015, when M.L. Nestel wrote an article on Byrne and chairman Jonathan Johnson for the Daily Beast. As he prepared that article, he sent over to Overstock some questions that Byrne did not like. As a “shot across the bow,” Byrne’s aide Mark Mitchell attacked Nestel on Deep Capture, saying he had gone over to the “dark side.”

Byrne renewed his attacks on the media in an interview with Jesse Ventura on the Kremlin’s RT network on November 3, just three weeks ago. Byrne surrogate Evren Karpak, a Byrne hireling since 2007 and now a Deep Capture “partner,” unleashed a vicious personal attack on investigative journalist Gary Weiss and myself on a stock message board on November 23, just four days ago.

Byrne is also vigorously fighting the libel suit that I mentioned earlier, which resulted in a lengthy judgment so scathing that even the Utah newspapers reported it. The judge dissected in detail Byrne’s deployment of lies to attack his victims. An appellate court hearing is scheduled for January 2018.

Byrne has never withdrawn his vicious lies concerning the plaintiff in that libel suit, Altaf Nazerali, never apologized, never retracted the blog posts that smeared him. Instead he is fighting that suit tooth and nail, even though his case was so thin that he didn’t produce a single witness in his behalf.

Clearly an active corporate attack site, with a staff ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice, a Byrne surrogate smearing a journalist just four days ago, and a team of lawyers fighting a libel suit at a hearing scheduled for January 2018—none of this is either “legacy” nor “bullshit,” and is happening now, not “thirteen years ago.” Opposing such a CEO does not make one a “hater.” The correct word is “rational."

Cohodes likes to brag about how he has “skin in the game” while Byrne’s critics are “in the bleachers” and are “bums.” That of course turns ethical behavior on its head, by saying that only people who have a conflict of interest have a right to speak out about corporations and CEOs. People with no conflict of interest, in Cohodes’ view, occupy “cheap seats.” (That would include, as I noted earlier, all of the journalists Cohodes seeks to cultivate.)

But when it comes to Byrne’s smear campaign, the Overstock CEO saw to it that Cohodes no longer has skin in that game.

Deep Capture has been used for blackmail

The libel suit I referred to above, brought by Canadian businessman Altaf Nazerali, revealed in detail how Byrne and his surrogates systematically published fabrications on his Deep Capture site. It also exposed how Byrne sought to use the site for blackmail.

According to pretrial deposition testimony cited in the court judgment:

After his telephone conversation with the plaintiff, [Byrne surrogate Mark] Mitchell emailed Mr. Byrne “this is going to be fun” and “I am going to talk to him on Friday and see if I can meet him in person”, and also “unless you [Byrne] have objections I am also going to suggest to him (I can do this in a roundabout way) that while I consider the facts to be correct, I am open to changing the story if he can provide other verifiable information that would be valuable”, and “I might even suggest that I will be willing to remove his name from the story altogether if he were to provide me with, say, trading records of global terrorist Yasin al- Qadi”, and lastly “if Nazerali agrees, nothing lost, after he gives me the information I will just put him back in the story. Sleazy, but, well it is what it is”; (Emphasis added)
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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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