Monday, August 15, 2005

Jeff Matthews - Dolt, Or Making Things Up...? (AMENDED)

NEW SECTION - This morning, Mr. Matthews amended his blog and struck his false and misleading accusation that Ms. Simon was an "exotic dancer", after running it for 3 days and being cited as a credible commentator by national media (all of course those highly critical of Overstock). No apology was issued for the protracted libel campaign, nor any explanation as to why it took me exposing his "error" for him to retract his contention. His claim is that he just received the book I discuss and simultaneously discovered his error. What astoundingly fortuitous timing. Now, if I sound annoyed, it is because this guy is held out by those sympathetic to the short attack on OSTK as a legitimate source of information, when in fact he is clearly highly biased, and is either dishonest in the extreme, or so inept at basic diligence that his opinion shouldn't be solicited for anything more important than "would you like fries with that?" Yet he is treated with reverence by the hedge fund media hacks, and will be on Kudlow this evening, presumably to share his wisdoms with the world. My opinion is that if you are shown to be dishonest or stupid, then your credibility should correctly be flushed down the toilet. Apparently there is a movement on to make Jeff a credible pundit, so that his venomous attacks will have more impact. I find it despicable that he is afforded any face time, given what we now understand as to his tactics. END NEW SECTION

Normally, I'd say that a guy who spends a third of his blog commentary on smarmy innuendo needs to get himself some sort of stimulation other than his computer. In Jeff's case, however, I would almost be more tempted to say that he's either a liar or an imbecile. I'll give you, my humble readership, the facts, and you can decide which is the more charitable interpretation of his fine work.

On August 13, Mr. Matthews published a screed at his blog, titled, "The CEO, the “Exotic Dancer” and the Lawsuit", which apparently purported to be an accurate description of the history of Stormy Simon, Senior Vice President of Overstock.com, and her checkered past as an exotic dancer.

Now, there's a few things one needs to know about Jeff Matthews before we continue. First, he used to work for David Rocker, who's being sued by Overstock, and is accused of engaging in damaging business practices to harm the company and its shareholders. Matthews is also an acquaintance of Marc Cohodes (also being sued), and Herb Greenberg, another Rocker/Cohodes familiar and alleged "financial journalist". Matthews runs a hedge fund (Ram Partners) and is short Overstock (via put options), and bashes the company at least once a week. He also censors my posts on his blog, ostensibly because his delicate sensibilities are offended by my ethics - this, from a hedge fund hack who scribbles hatchet jobs about his short positions while silencing dissenting views from your's truly.

Jeff holds himself out to be a smart guy, savvy, ostensibly smarter than most and more thorough in his research, as he is managing other peoples' money - and that carries a certain responsibility. He is so taken with his own views and ability to accurately dig down and get at the truth, that he shares those views via his blog, which implies that they are in brisk demand. He's had some help with touting his site, as it's trumpeted by many of the bashers on the Yahoo message boards, and by Herb Greenberg, and by Carol Remond, and by the NY Post, and the Motley Fool - all of which have been attacking and criticizing Dr. Byrne for being delusional, and Overstock for being a terrible company.

So here we have his awesome research and cognitive powers displayed for all to admire, namely by "discovering" that Stormy Simon was an exotic dancer - a stripper, in the vernacular. This revelation caused quite a few titters on the message boards, and had the critics of the company howling, and Mr. Matthews' supporters giving one another high fives.

The only problem is that it's dead wrong.

Couldn't be more false.

How is that possible, you ask? How can this lofty being, ostensibly renowned for his superiority to we mere mortals, have gotten it 100% wrong?

Simple.

He went the cheap route. And he failed to do necessary, basic diligence to confirm his find.

Apparently slandering a VP in a misogynistic, sexist manner is OK in Jeff's book, as it certainly doesn't warrant any heavy lifting to ensure that it's accurate.

Sloppy and lazy, in my lexicon.

The court papers he cites are from findlaw.com, which is commonly understood to be the Weekly World News of legal search engines by anyone that does serious research. It's handy for quick skims, but is no more appropriate for doing any meaningful digging than reading a two page pamphlet is for learning to perform surgery. The reason it's considered as such is because the data is not updated nor current, and thus is periodically wrong.

Like here.

I smelled a rat when I read his piece, and so, in about 10 minutes, located the actual court document: http://www.utcourts.gov/opinions/supopin/mead.htm

Imagine my surprise when it didn't contain the language that Jeff said it did. I read it twice. It doesn't. Read it yourself.

Huh.

And people trust this guy with their cash? One can only imagine the level of acumen he wields in more demanding research and analysis, if this is an example of his work.

Which it is.

And which he is so proud of, it deserves a position of prominence in his rhetorical kingdom.

Are you starting to understand why he doesn't want adults posting at his little propaganda party, which is a string of "Jeff, oooh, you're so smart, thank you for enlightening us" cooing from the same 5 or 6 quislings and suck-ups? Apparently he's correctly concerned that he will be debunked, and exposed as either an arrogant buffoon, or a liar so consumed with advancing his agenda that the truth can be discarded in favor of, well, making things up. That's my opinion.

I can appreciate why he wouldn't want that to get out - it's hard to be a media pundit when you're dead wrong on your flagship piece.

Anyone interested in knowing more about the case, which was apparently a sensation in Utah at the time, and fostered a book about it, can go see and order the book at: http://www.overstock.com/cgi-bin/d2.cgi?page=proframe&prod_id=1408382.

Jeff did a sloppy job, and IMO libeled a woman, and didn't bother to check his work to verify that what he posted was right. Or, someone sent him that ready to be printed, and they might have known it wasn't the latest, but just didn't tell him. Or, he knew it wasn't right, and printed it anyway, wanting the headline value. Either way, IMO he has libeled the Senior VP of a publicly traded company using provably false and misleading information, with a profit motive at heart for doing it. That is despicable and should be condemned. I hope Kudlow asks him about it tomorrow, but I doubt it. These guys want Jeff touted as the next Herb for their purposes, IMO. Why let a little libel and false and misleading information get in the way of your agenda?

I'll leave you with Jeff's own condescending and hubris-laden words from his aforementioned screed, and point out that his endorsement of Mr. Rocker and Mr. Cohodes can be taken with the same assurance of thorough understanding and accuracy that his take on Ms. Simon contains. Which is to say none at all.

"So in this latest round of high-stakes poker by Doctor Patrick Byrne, you can put your money on the CEO who apparently entrusted his company’s marketing campaign to a woman described as having been “an exotic dancer.” Or you can put it on two of the hardest-working, smartest and least-likely-to-be-intimidated-by-a-hokey-lawsuit individuals I know, David Rocker and Marc Cohodes. Mine’s on David and Marc. "

Thank God that Jeff doesn't get to gamble with my cash - I wonder if his investors understand his decision-making and research skills when they entrust him with their's? Because "his money" is on David and Marc - or maybe I should say his investors' money is.

Best of luck with that.

7 Comments:

Blogger turk142 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:17 PM  
Blogger turk142 said...

Sorry, jumped the gun. His comment remains (see below):

"mfairview": I have proof they are the same person, and if you Overstockians ever got off your rear ends and did some work you could do the same. All it took was a simple phone call. But, what the heck, it's easier to sit there and post all day on the message boards than do real work.

10:19 PM  
Blogger ladeda12345 said...

Bob, seems like you scored a point. Jeff changed his story and retracted the Stormy Simon references. He even says 'you're absolutely right'.

Now if he only saw the light wrt his other errors. But I guess that's too much to ask.

7:21 AM  
Blogger bob obrien said...

Jeff conceded a point reluctantly, and only after I, who he decries as lacking credibility and ethics, pointed out that he was either lying, or grossly inept, in making the exotic dancer accusation. And I did the research he should have, which is why it isn't still up, besmearching Ms. Simon's good name.

I'm afraid I have a hard time working up much enthusiasm for a guy who censors me on the grounds of my tactics, when he is given attention in the national media and is publishing now proven false and misleading information. How gracious of him to admit to being caught red-handed, and alter his hatchet job, without issuing any apology to anyone for libeling Ms. Simon, or misleading his obviously all too gullible readers.

What a prince among men.

Anyone that gives this creep the time of day now baffles me. I could make a point of spending my days highlighting his errors and ommissions, but frankly, if after this, you aren't forewarned enough to understand that anything you read there is likely to be more fiction than fact, then you are entitled to the results you get.

8:54 AM  
Blogger n-tres-ted said...

bob,

I read the item re FOI suit by Washington Legal Foundation v. SEC as relating to short selling combined with stock manipulation by bashing, rather than as related to naked shorting. Right?

10:32 AM  
Blogger turk142 said...

Bob -- Equally spurious is Jeff's second claim regarding Eydeas. It is too much to ask, apparently, to read the purchase agreement (where Overstock is indemnified against claims from Edeas) before posting nonsense. I guess that would require "real work". LOL

10:47 AM  
Blogger bob obrien said...

Like I said, I could make a life out of debunking his idiocy.

But why bother when anyone with opposable thumbs can do it with ease?

7:14 PM  

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