Patrick Byrne punks Jon Stewart, fires Auditors, mocks SEC – what’s next?
November 17, 2009 by William K. Wolfrum
It’s been another busy week for perennial Fox News guest Patrick Byrne. The Overstock CEO has appeared with Neil Cavuto, bewailing potential CEO pay caps. And in a move that was more Martin Prince than Martin Eisenstadt, Byrne stood tall recently and admitted that it was he who gave Daily Show host Jon Stewart a controversial tape of CNBC’s Jim Cramer.
Aside from leaving Stewart with an eye fairly blackened, Byrne was just starting his rampage.
Already under investigation for the second time by the SEC – not that Fox News viewers would have any knowledge of that – Byrne decided to really see if the “Enforcement” part of the SEC means anything. Yesterday, Byrne announced he had fired his auditors and handed in my latest late SEC homework assignment without it being audited. From Gary Weiss:
Now, very much in the open, the company has jumped off a cliff, proverbially speaking. This afternoon, the company belatedly announced that it fired its auditors on Friday, and today it filed an unaudited un-vouched-for, late Form 10-Q in violation of a host of SEC regulations.
So now Overstock is not current with its filings, which means that its access to the capital markets is essentially crippled. No big thing. Bad companies are often not current what their filings. What is amazing is that Overstock went ahead and filed its 10-Q without an auditor reviewing it. Even the most sleazebucket penny stock outfits, even Bernie Madoff, manage to get some accountant somewhere to review their filings before sending them in to the SEC. I have never heard of even the most irresponsible company filing an unreviewed financial statement.
This is the second time in less than two years that auditors have had fall outs with Byrne. In Dec. 2007, Ray Groves, who once ran Ernst & Young, resigned as the head of Overstock’s audit committee.
Byrne has already made it abundantly clear that regardless of how badly he manages Overstock and screws their investors, he’s going to blame naked short spellers and the Russian mafia for all of it. And some people will say that Byrne is a victim in all this and that his fight against Naked Short Sellers is a heroic one. Others, of course, have said he’s a crook and a “cokehead.” I’d never say that of course, but it’s been said (“And Channel B I put information down that I was a coke head,” – Patrick Byrne)
What would I say? Well, considering the pride Byrne showed in his Mormon accounting team …
“Our accounting department is a bunch of square Mormon eagle scouts, and their orders are to be as straitlaced as possible.”
… I’d say Byrne needs a good Molly Mormon to come into his life to help him through these obviously difficult times.