|An Overstock Critic Silenced |
Sam Antar, a reformed felon who was mastermind of the Crazy Eddie stock scam, has been performing a real public service lately. He's donated his time to shareholders of Overstock.com by posing pointed questions at Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne at the Investors Village messgae board, which Byrne regularly uses to smear critics and justify his actions.
It's been a valuable service, not just for investors but for securities regulators, who I happen to know are following the cat-and-mouse game between Antar and Byrne very closely. Overstock, after all, is a very public transgressor of corporate norms -- with much of that being played out on message boards upon which Byrne obsessively posts.
As I noted in a post that I updated yesterday, some of Byrne's admissions, in his comments, have been incredibly damaging.
That valuable dialogue has been squelched, however, by the crackerjack management team of Investor Village, which has knuckled under to pressure from Overstock loyalists by squelching Antar. IV has limited his ability to post on IV, while giving Byrne, Bagley and their sockpuppets free reign to spread their poison.
That's hardly a surprise, since it has happened before, with Overstock critics gagged on flimsy pretexts.
By running an ostensibly neutral message board that restricts posts by company critics, IV has turned its boards into stock-hyping forums. That creates a nice set of legal entanglements down the road for IV -- or at least, I certainly hope it does.