Ex-Overstock.com CEO Sells $90m In Shares, Says ‘Deep State’ Out To Get Him

Patrick Byrne, then CEO of Overstock.com, sits for an interview with Vice News in March 2018.
September 20, 2019 11:33 a.m.

Ex-Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne made waves last month by claiming to have had a relationship with Maria Butina, one that he alleged the FBI encouraged him to rekindle after Donald Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee in 2016.

Now, he’s sold off $90 million in Overstock shares, a move he acknowledged looked a little fishy.

“The riff-raff will tell you that my departure and sale were from a lack of confidence” in Overstock, he wrote in a post on his website.

But that wasn’t the case, he assured readers. Instead, he quickly returned to the subject that first brought him into the headlines last month, culminating in a cable news blitz: The deep state.

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Byrne resigned as Overstock CEO after saying publicly that he’d had an affair with Butina and passed information about her to federal law enforcement. After subsequently seeing the public testimony of since-fired FBI agent Peter Strzok, Byrne said, he he came to the conclusion that his relationship with Butina had been part of a larger “political espionage” effort. He described Strzok as an “errand boy.”

Byrne claimed that his “Omaha rabbi,” Warren Buffett, convinced him to go public with his story.

“I know enough to fry the Deep State to ashes,” he wrote of the stock sale, adding: “If I had stayed at Overstock or even remained a large owner of OSTK, they would try to break Overstock as a way of crippling me.”

Instead of Overstock shares, Bryne said, he’d invest the money in gold, silver and “two flavors of crypto,” in case of a recession or “The Big One.”   

Byrne made some outlandish allegations during a rapid-fire string of cable news interviews and elsewhere last month, but official reaction to his claims has been muted. There’s been minimal interest from Congress in running down his story and the intelligence community apparently hasn’t seen a huge need to respond publicly.

Asked about Byrne’s allegations that it had directed “political espionage” against Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz in 2016 — and that James Comey, Andrew McCabe and others were aware of the efforts — an FBI spokesperson declined to comment to TPM.

Still, Byrne promised in his post that he is not yet done with his public pronouncements.

“Shellac’ is too weak a word for what I intend to do to the Deep State,” he wrote. “Sit back and enjoy the show.”

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