Friday, December 09, 2005

Big News In OSTK vs. Gradient/Rocker Lawsuit

What would you say if your lawyer quit, after he had been telling everyone what a fine upstanding lad you were, and how you were as honest as the day is long, and how you were being victimized by a harsh society that didn't understand your motives nor actions?

That is sort of the question Gradient must be asking today.

I just got word that Gradient's attorneys, Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale & Dorr filed a motion with the court in Marin County, indicating that they were resigning as counsel for Gradient and the individuals within Gradient named as defendants in the Overstock lawsuit. You can view the motion here.

I have cautioned against jumping to conclusions in this case, and advised that we as a group should exercise Solomon-like restraint and wisdom in our interpretation of the details - let us know the facts as they become known, has been my policy. There have been those who would try the case in the media, and certainly there has been no shortage of slimy press who are quick to paint Dr. Byrne and OSTK with a negative brush, pre-judging the facts, and dismissing the serious allegations against the hedge fund and the research entity as nonsense. They have called Dr. Byrne every imaginable name. And they have even said nasty things about the Easter Bunny.

And then the lawyer quits.

I am not making this up.

So, if you are not an attorney, you probably have a host of questions. Like:

Is that bad?

I mean, your lawyer ups and quits (or is fired, but wanna bet that isn't the case?) without giving anyone in the press any notice - is that bad?

Because it looks kinda bad to me.

I can't really imagine a set of circumstances where that would be good. I mean, maybe he wants to spend more time on the sailboat, or the firm has decided that taking money to defend against "specious" allegations is dirty, or that they are above this sort of thing.

Some other questions are, well, why did they quit, assuming they did? Did they learn enough to decide that the case is indefensible? Did they find something out that they don't want to be a part of? That is hard for me to even imagine, knowing the attorneys I know - I mean how bad does it have to be to not take the 500 jings per hour to listen to the mewling whining of your client's "Ah din't do nuthin'" mantra? That's kind of what you do for a living, right? One of the board posters at Yahoo posited that they didn't get paid, but wouldn't you think that they would have taken this on contingency, as OSTK's attorneys did? I mean, these were the same lawyers that were issuing press releases about how Byrne can't read, and how they were going to sue everyone - wouldn't you think that if all these counter-suits were going to have a shot, that they would have taken it on the come? So I can't imagine that they quit because Gradient stiffed them - the money sounded like a sure thing from their press releases - I mean what attorney isn't going to take a sure thing?

Unless that was all hyperbole and posturing, and the counter-suits don't stand an ice cube's chance in hell.


I'm sure there are innocent explanations for this, and would celebrate the might of the media machine that has been so relentless in attacking Dr. Byrne being applied to finding out why Gradient's attorneys just quit. If this happy holiday rodent's little furry paws can hammer out an op-ed in minutes, surely the Post or Motley Fool or the WSJ or Barron's or Fortune or any of the rest of these giants can get a straight answer to the question, "why did you guys quit?"

Roddy Boyd of the NY Post claims to have gotten an answer (in the comments section of this entry), namely that they quit over a conflict of interest between clients related to naked short selling - although what that conflict could be isn't clear, as the OSTK suit does not mention naked short selling anywhere (and Dr. Byrne has gone to great lengths to avoid saying that Gradient or Rocker are involved in naked short selling). So that explanation seems a trifle nonsensical - how could defending Gradient be about naked short selling, thus creating a conflict? Unless Mr. Boyd has some information that is non-public about the OSTK suit being about naked short selling, or the attorney has some information that leads him to believe that naked short selling is a real issue in the case, the whole explanation creates more questions than it answers - I find it illogical.

But that is the info we have at present. It is what it is.

Gradient's lawyers quit, and the only explanation advanced by someone purporting to have spoken to them is that it was over a conflict involving naked short selling.

Huh. Maybe the attorneys know more than we do. Who knows? They are nothing if not inscrutable, those lawyers are.

Stay tuned for yet more melodrama here in the next installment of, "As The Bunny Turns."


Blogger mfairview said...

I remember OSTK got a lot of flack about releasing bad news on a friday not too long ago. I wonder if the same people (some were journalists) will be as nonpartisan.

4:43 PM  
Blogger bob obrien said...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Yeah. I'm sure they will be writing away all weekend. Digging for the facts.

Wanna bet you don't hear a peep?

This is almost too much fun now. How obviously corrupt does the system have to be shown to be before our Congress gets off its ass and hands these parasites their heads?

4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this saga...

Is there better entertainment to be had anywhere?

It would be so much more entertaining though if we weren't talking about the oncoming complete collapse of confidence in our financial markets... or is that very danger what makes it all so compelling?

I can't decide, and I can't get enough.

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there anybody in the Congress who acts on the principle that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?

They are a pack of firefighters waiting for enough people to insist the house is ablaze.

5:57 PM  
Blogger bluesbum said...

Could any of the comments the law firm made be Slanderous?
Or would ignorance of the facts behind the statements they made be protected behind shield of client privelege?

6:43 PM  
Anonymous financial_circus said...

SPIN TIME! Don't worry they will spin this as a positive event and all of the involved media will concur. This was done to drag the process out. Part of the game plan. I wonder if they will claim their safety was threatened? HAHAHA! Burnell has indicated he has been threatened in the past as have others on the opposing side.

7:03 PM  
Blogger mfairview said...

Let's hope for their sake that these lawyers didn't witness something criminal (e.g. shredders and what nots). Let's not forget the SEC is crawling over them right now. A little too much heat?

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another possibility:

A common stalling tactic is to ask your lawyer to resign.

Then you can go to a judge and drag out the court date.

I can imagine that Rocker isn't looking forward to discovery.

Another possibility is that Rocker is the know it all type and refuses to take his lawyer's advice.

I can imagine that silly freedom of speech SLAAP argument didn't come from his lawyers.

It was something Rocker read about in the message boards.

SLAAP is something the Easter Bunny could rely on, but not something that would protect him from paying off writers to provide slanderous research reports so he can make money.

7:37 PM  
Blogger smokyjoe said...

Wanton Street Journal

Mat Herb Raymon reporting

Attorneys for the defendants, being of such moral character & immense concern for the welfare of their clients, today withdrew in an effort to save Rocker/Gradient money to be earmarked for the benefit of the widowed & orphaned victims of massive pump & dump scandals. The defendants were clearly innocent and any ambulance chasing attorney with a cracker jack box license could effectively defend them.

7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you really think Gradient's lawyers would take this matter on a contingency basis? Nobody agrees to DEFEND a lawsuit on a contingency basis. They might take a countersuit on a contingency basis, but would still insist on "time and charges" for the defense.

7:48 PM  
Blogger mwillwilly2003 said...

Here's betting that there won't be a single word about this in any of the main financial pubs. It will be as though nothing had happened at all, a complete blackout.

7:54 PM  
Blogger Wicked World said...

I believe that this will be the event which marks the first glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel.

8:27 PM  
Blogger rboyd said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Mark Cuban worked at Drexel"

We will have our best success naming names.

It wasn't the SEC that grandfathered naked shorts, it was people that attended a meeting that we should be able to get minutes on that grandfathered naked shorts.

The minutes to that meeting should be a freedom of information request.

It wasn't the SEC that chose to go against existing laws, it was a group of individuals that made that decision.

Who were they and why did they decide that? Could they be personally liable?

People do crazy things in a group that they would never do if they thought they were personally liable.

We aren't fighting the SEC. We are fighting a handful of corrupt people that have gained control of the SEC.

In terms of Rocker, a smart lawyer would gun for a percentage of a trillion dollar loss instead of Rocker's $500 per hour.

The money is on the side of fighting share counterfeiting.

Does anyone know when people can pull their money out of Rocker's fund? Is it Dec. 31? What kind of dim bulb would leave money there?

2:46 AM  
Blogger mfairview said...

Hey Roddy, can you point to your article regarding the holes in Anifantis statements? Have not seen it.

The odd thing about the conflict of interest (per your statement) is that the OSTK/Gradient/Rocker suit makes no allegations of naked shorting. I suppose it could be for something else but probably not for FTDs (unless the lawyers know Gradient is somehow involved with FTDs).

3:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Goin' Back to the Start: Cutler Rejoins Wilmer Cutler

The law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr announced today that Stephen Cutler, former Director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement, will rejoin the firm as co-chair of its Securities Department and will be based in the firm's Washington, D.C. office. Cutler will begin working at Wilmer in "the fall of 2005. " Prior to joining the SEC, Cutler had been a partner at Wilmer.

As discussed here, Cutler notified the SEC in April 2005 that he would be leaving to pursue other opportunities. As discussed in this post, the SEC announced in May 2005 that Linda Chatman Thomsen had been named as the new Director of the Division of Enforcement.

Wilmer will now have two former SEC Directors of Enforcement in its ranks--Cutler's co-chair of Wilmer's Securities Department will be William R. McLucas, who led the Division of Enforcement from 1990-1998.

6:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Rod, what kind of case would make the Gradient case a conflict. Wouldn't the other client have to be on the abused side of this issue for there to be a client? Wilmer can't be fighting for both sides of the arquement.

With that being said, it would appear to me that Wilmer is taking a stand against the abuse.

I understand your frustrations and personal vendetta against Bob O'Brien but somewhere logic must take over.

7:33 AM  
Blogger rboyd said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:20 AM  
Blogger bob obrien said...

Roddy, Roddy.

Thanks for the kind words.

It seems like you are taking this one a bit personally. Why are you taking this personally?

I posited that they quit, you say they did. We are in agreement.

You say you know why - a conflict due to clients. OK. Sure. Maybe so. I hadn't heard that, but will change the blog to reflect that possible explanation. It is a possible explanation, you see. Just as Worldcom and Enron's explanations were possible explanations. But it deserves an airing. So why not - I mean it isn't as though thousands and thousands of people are reading this going "Ah ha" or anything.

I missed your coverage of the NASAA meeting. That's a shame. I would have expected the acknowledgment by the SEC that 1% of dollar trades per day don't settle (a pretty big number) would get your attention, but apparently not. As did I feel that the voting rights issue would see some press - apparently that isn't news either.

I wonder how Carol knew who was in the audience?

The drexel thing was a speculation on a message board that lasted a few hours based on badly flawed info, as we discussed, which you know. That comes off as a cheap shot, you know? I retracted it the second I found out the info was flawed - did Matthews? Did any of the journalists in the pro club? No? Perhaps you can chronicle the number of times that Herb or Carol have been wrong and never said a word to correct things? No?

Why is that?

The repeated attempts to introduce what you feel is my name is also sort of a cheap shot, and I question why a distinguished, detached reporter of your caliber is repeatedly takes cheap shots? Why is that, Roddy? Por Que?

I think that I am going to have to take the step of deleting portions of posts designed to be cheap shots and speculations as to my identity - they become tiresome, and come off as, well, vaguely threatening, in a sort of low-end intimidation tactic way.

I'm sure that isn't your intention, so perhaps you will forgive the artistic license.

Stay well. Always nice to have you drop by.

10:03 AM  
Blogger bob obrien said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:05 AM  
Blogger bob obrien said...

Roddy's post, with the words The Easter Bunny inserted wherein a name was before:

rboyd said...


not a bad question. i asked it myself. the answer was that a big $$ client told wilmer that they had some deep connection to the naked shorting issue--dont know in what capacity--and that they did not feel comfortable with WC repping them if they continued to defend Gradient, when naked shorting was on the table.

tried to figure out back of the envelope who this could be...calpine maybe. dont know. again, we're talking an annual multi-million dollar client here, to give up a high profile 7 figure defense mandate.

respectfully, you are firms dont take stands, they go where their billing takes them. please dont ever think a top 10 law firm like WC is going to let an issue like NSS get in the way of anything.

i like The Easter Bunny--thats his name, so lets stop pussyfooting--alright. i actually respect him. a good businessman and a helluva good writer.

but he's a bit of a demagogue and needs to be stood up to when he loses his better judgement.

mfairview...please email me at I will email you first thing monday am...our folio archive is not working for me right now.

10:07 AM  
Blogger bob obrien said...

And yet another sanitized post, to discourage outre behavior from Roddy - chose Maximus for a name this time, and easter eggs as the subject, just to mix it up a bit:

rboyd said...

Maximus, i almost feel bad bursting your bubble. almost.

They resigned 3 weeks ago because of a conflict of interest. One of Wilmer's largest corporate clients has a connection to the naked shorting issue.

I do not know the client's name; Doug Curtis, the partner handling the Gradient defense, told me that when he was briefed on it, he asked to be kept on, reckoning it was small. the firms conflict of interest panel refused the request.

No smoking guns, no shredders sorry. Pure dollar play. Gradient was going to spend low seven figures, so given what i know about Manhattan legal firms, this was probably a regular mid seven figure account raising the flag.

dont take my word, call the guy.

Reporters digging for the facts in the OSTK/Gradient/RP matter has not proved to be a favorable outcome for you Maximus.

in about 5 days of work, I managed to out you. In 2 more, i managed to poke a few holes in Antifantis' extended fiction narrative. best part--Herb Greenberg's asst.'s office in Wash state, paid for by Gradient.

my personal favorite though, Maximus: Mark Cuban worked at Drexel and erstwhile connection to Milken. That was hard to shoot down. Took like, 11 minutes for him to call me.

luxuriate in the mongering, Maximus. and maybe, if you sell enough easter eggs, and are a very good bunny rabbit, the SEC's interview of those 3 affiants will--magically--get upgraded to an investigation.

but only if youre a good bunny. now go play in your meadow.

10:29 PM

10:10 AM  
Anonymous cutty said...

So, we where always told the OSTK suit is not about naked short selling, and we do not know anything about any of that. Suddenly the resignation of the lawyers is all about naked short selling and there is another big customer involved in something that allegedly does not exists.
As somebody would put it, this is bizarre.

Perplexed cutty

10:35 AM  
Blogger tbs_theman said...


"the answer was that a big $$ client told wilmer that they had some deep connection to the naked shorting issue--dont know in what capacity--and that they did not feel comfortable with WC repping them if they continued to defend Gradient, when naked shorting was on the table."

That makes absolutely no sense. Naked Shorting is not mentioned AT ALL in the Gradient lawsuit. You've been given a line of crap, or are making one up.

If, by some remote chance, it is true, then the firm was given a choice. Go after the Naked Shorting people, or protect the naked shorting people. It then becomes quite clear that Rocker / Gradient IS IN FACT a link to massive naked shorting.

Which tells me that the lawyers quitting is EVEN BIGGER than the EB thinks.

11:22 AM  
Blogger Wicked World said...

Wonder how long WC has had this important "BIG $$" conflict-of-interest generating client?

How long have WC and Gradient been dating? Didn't think it has been for very long.

How many hundreds of brilliant lawyers does it take to miss the firm's risk of messin' the churn just to go slummin'? I mean, aren't they a Top 10 firm?!

And like cutty said above, what's naked shorting have to do with this? Patrick's on record as saying he has no idea if anyone in particular is naked shorting, right? And it's not in the lawsuit, right?

How embarrassing.

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matthews is desperate.

Posting a Byrne TMF post, which is excellent, btw, good work to post it, Jeff...with a headline, with patented Rocker Partners Alumni Question Mark of course, accusing Byrne of anti-semitism.

And now we get Roddy Boyd here claiming that Wilmer pulled out due to FTD conflicts.

Yet FTD's are nowhere stated as a point in the lawsuit, which is all about the frontrunning....

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Roddy Boyd,

Why do you call yourself a journalist and not an editorialist?

Journalism implies presenting both sides of a story.

C'mon, you're better than that crowd over at that Wall St Journal rag printing lies about SEC probes and gay bathouses.

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Author: Hannibal100 Number: of 2407
Subject: Gradient's Lawyer Stays in the Locker-room Date: 12/9/05 10:42 PM

Hi all.

Big news this afternoon. Gradient Analytics' East Coast law firm, Wilmer Cutler Pickering, quit this afternoon.

Thoughtful guy that I am, I have posted this on our site:

A few things to note about this:

1) Wilmer Cutler is bluest of the blue-chip and whitest of the white-shoe East Coast firms. though they figure prominently in such scandals as those depicted in Den of Thieves, from my occasional experiences with them, they have always been classy folks. I was kind of surprised to see them show up to the dance with these knuckledraggers.

2) The date on the paperwork shows that everything was signed on November 29th and 30th (again, see for yourself). That is, last Tuesday and Wednesday. They seemed to have held off mailing the papework until Wednesday December 7th and, if I am not mistake, then filed it in court on this afternoon. That would be, "Friday."

Now I am rather curious about that: some months ago I had information that, as the CEO of a publicly-traded company, I had an obligation to release to the public. I got the proper information at about 3:30 PM (eastern time) on a Friday afternoon. I ahd a marketing related reason for releasing that information in a press release that night: that fact, plus the general principle that we release news when we have news, led me to release that information at close of business on Friday. For this act I was roundly chastised by conventional thinkers in the media. Not that I cared, but I am just noting, I was roundly chastised.

Now, on the other hand, it appears that we have the miscreants were sitting on a filing for 10 days, and timed its mailing and filing so it could be done on Friday afternoon. What are the chances that Roddy Boyd or one of the other Vichy collaborators (I got tired of writing, "quislings") is home right now typing up a story about how these guys clearly went out of their way to time the news cycle? What are the chances? Ooooo-gats.

3) Gradient has a local California lawyer, Keker & Van Nest. We have a little bit of history, have we. One time two years ago I was on NPR discussing the way crooked bankers use IPO's to get kickbacks by allocating guarranteed profits. My normal style is, "Praise by name and criticize by class." However, that day I was not my normal discrete self, and I let slip a banker's name who was quite notorious for his payola activities. In fact, I called him, "a crook."

It turns out that the guy was a client of Keker, and I got a nasty-gram demadning I apoligise. I had some ideas about fun things to do with the letter, but discretion got the better part of me, and so I just framed it and put it on a bookshelf. I never responded to the lawer and he never followed up on his promises. His client got sentenced to 18 to 24 months, by the way (but technically, not for being a crook, just for obstructing justice by destroying emails that would have shown one way or another whether he was a crook: draw your own conclusion). Now when I speak at universities I often work that law firm's letter into my PowerPoint.

That lawyer is Keker.

Gosh, I hope he's not still mad.

So what does it mean that the bluechip East Coast law firm, Wilmer Cutler, quit? I don't know for sure. In fact, while I have some hypotheses, I don't have a good way of adjudicating among them. But here are the hypotheses:

A) Wilmer got into the case and discovered a large mess with which they don't want to be associated. Probablity: low. These are the guys in Den of Thieves, for crying out loud. You cannot shame a lawer like that.

B) Wilmer got in and discovered their clients had lied to them? Probabilty...? It would explain the abruptness.

C) Gradient got tired of paying the legal bills. Could be: Wilmer is probably charging about $700/hour. But my understanding is that the fellow from gradient, Carr Bettis, is a reasonably wealthy man (perhaps $10 million - $15 million?). He understands where this is going to lead, I bet. Does he really want to take the low bid? And even if he did, wouldn't Wilmer have just stayed on in some advisory )and low cost) capacity, if only to avoid the black eye of this filing?

Anyway, I am sure that Keker can be trusted on to handle this fairly.


12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On outing Roddy Boyd as a scurrying little bunny...


Author: Hannibal100
Subject: Great blogging on the lawyers' quitting Date: 12/10/05 2:29 PM

Hey Fools,

There is a bunch of good blogging going on over at O'Brien's. Thought I'd share his essay and the responses. The bloggers seem to have picked up on the same inconsistencies I have, and more. Like, if the official party line explanation (that is, according to Roddy Boyd, who makes an appearance moonlighting as official spokesman for the miscreants) is that Wilmer Cutler dropped out because they have a client that is involved in the naked shorting issue somehow (per or victim?), how does that square with the claim (as I have repeatdly emphasized) that this particular subset of miscreant (Rocker, Gradient etc.) don't necessarily ahve anything to do with naked shorting?

Interestingly, Roddy Boyd, at last drops the facade of being an independent oberserver, and actually weighs in as an apologist for the miscreants. That's is really a first. I mean, most of the time these five or six "reporters" (Herb, Roddy, Remond, Eisenger etc.) stick to the sidelines and just try to distort the news as it moves from the blogs to the mainstream. This is the first time I have seen one jump on a blog and try to spin things before it gets momentum. I have actually written Roddy and asked him to confirm that this is he, and not some agent provocateur. So far he has not written back.

Incidentally, I actually had the pleasure of meeting Roddy a couple weeks ago. Sort of. He attended the NASAA conference in DC on the subject of naked shorting. All through the conference one of the PR people for NASAA kept coming up and telling me there were reporters who wanted to talk to me, in particular, PBS and Roddy Boyd. I did the PBS interview outside, and went back in to listen. The PR guy kept coming back and saying, Roddy wants to interview you. Finally, as the conference broke up, I went over to introduce myself to Roddy. He kind of froze, and looked worried, turned away, grabbed his coat, and scurried off. And I do mean, "scurried." The guy was absolutely furtive, like some character in an old grainy black and white spy story....

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fun to lambast Boyd? Hate to gainsay "Hannibal100" (esp. since I've got a bundle in OSTK stock & much appeciate the CEO's moxie) but I think the post from MF was in poor taste. Not worthy, not worthy.

If you read Boyd's articles daily you'll see that he delights in skewering the high and mighty; witness his writing on Refco, Calpine, the NYSE etc. Not to mention that to date his coverage of the FTD issue places him in a very small group of journalists in NYC. It's hard to make general case, it seems to me, that he's a shill for the Wall Street grandees.

Now, I'm not claiming sainthood for Roddy, and he does seem to have taken a visceral dislike to some of the participants in this discussion, but I do suspect that his presence here and in Washington speaks to his continuing interest in the sordid clearing mess. Could it be he's writing a book?

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If he's saving it for a book, he's writing a one-sided book on the Byrne side of the issues and at the same time not saving anything on the other side of the issues in his agenda to bash Bynre in his Post writing.

Boyd's post here with glee about suposedly exposing Bunny's name (what happened to the bunny being JDD? That's what Carol wrote in her monthly Byrne Vendetta piece once...why if I was JDD, I'd demand an apology for being called the Easter Bunny) leaves him open for any factual reporting of his scurrying away from Dr Byrne's attempts to oblige what he had been told were Mr Boyd's requests to interview him.

Roddy, why the scurrying? Why attend NASAA and have nothing to say about it? I'd say the NY POST didn't get their money's worth out of that travel req, unless you were traveling on someone else's tab...

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

re: Carol's "SEC Probe" article, same day as Bynre's PR campaign to kick off the lawsuit....

How has that person of their employer gotten away with posting false information about a very serious matter..."SEC PROBE" can't get anymore serious with in an intraday trading hours Biz Wires release, knowing full damn well the stock will get sold, sold short, and attacked immediately...

That the WSJ would much less allow that to happen, not to mention getting their asses sued all the way back to Guettenberg's printing press, is beyond belief.

Meanwhile, Patrick Byrne has publicly disclosed that he has copies of documents showing the SEC has a case number and is probing those accused by the 3 (now going on 5) affidavit witnesses....yet no mention of a real probe by Roddy or Carol...I guess they yearn to be fiction writers and want nothing to do with unbiased factual reporting of the issue.

Why is that?

(sorry, bunny, I like the way you end your letters and had to borrow it)

1:30 PM  
Blogger bob obrien said...

It is a bit odd that Roddy would come here and assert that the lawyers bailed because of a conflict revolving around naked short selling, as that isn't mentioned in the suit as an issue - it would only be an issue if naked short selling were involved and came out into the open once the discovery phase was launched.

So that is nonsensical.

Roddy is a bright guy, so the notion that he would buy that obviously paradoxical line of reasoning is, well, remote, in my mind.

And the idea that he would be working his weekends as a paid shill for the shorts on my blog is also, well, er, unusual for a reporter of his stature, to say the least. So I think that is unlikely.

Perhaps that isn't him, but rather someone having us on. Pretending, as twere.

I think that is the most charitable spirit in which to evaluate these posts. I can't comprehend a dispassionate, uninterested "journalist" coming onto the Easter Bunny's humble blog and spewing venom and vitriol at me, much less advancing a laughable pretense for the attorneys quitting as being believable. It makes no sense.

The OSTK suit isn't about naked short selling. Unless the attorneys know something we don't, or Roddy does, the suit isn't about that, and no client would take it to be about that. So it is really, uh, illogical, for that to be the reason given, and even more illogical for a supposedly skeptical reporter to buy that line of drivel.

I don't buy it. I think someone is putting us on.

3:24 PM  
Anonymous K'Ching said...

I may build shrine to Dr. Byrne!

4:21 PM  
Anonymous Peter Finch said...

A Roddy Boyd refresher...never mind that Byrne is suing David Rocker because he found out from more than 3 witnesses that something wicked this way comes from Gradient/Rocker, not because he has a thin skin, lol. Way to go, Roddy! Keep on sucking that NY metro area hedgefund teat, it's got lot of milk in it and is tough to resist. Where else is a business writer going to get dirt from? Herb doesn't know where else either. Keep up the good one sided hatchet jobs for those near and dear to you!



November 20, 2005 -- Independent research shop Gradient Analytics and hedge fund Rocker Partners said they bet against embattled not because of a conspiracy but because the CEO of the embattled Web retailer had never delivered on any of his promises.
"We looked at [Byrne's] record," said Rocker in court papers. "We can't find where he has delivered on anything — not one thing — he has promised, either operationally or financially. He hates that we point that out, so he sued us."

The comments came in Gradient's and Rockers first legal return fire in their heated

4:33 PM  
Blogger evl said...

From Jeff Matthew's blog, where he is claiming that Patrick Byrne is anti-Semitic. I took the time to write a fairly detailed description of the Jewish perspective, indicating that what he was doing is racist hate-mongering, and told him why it was, and that he owed Jews everywhere an apology for his crass generalizations.

And he deleted the comment.

I thought you would appreciate that, because I have seen you write before that he deletes comments which are critical of his position. I thought you were exaggerating, but having just been the recipient of his censorship I can attest to the fact that he does this.

My original comment said something to the effect that Israel is a country, that everyone living in Israel is not a Jew, that all Jews are not Israelis nor support Zionism, that critics of Israel are not necessarily anti-Semitic, and that many fellow Jews are critical of both Israel and Zionism. Judaism is a religion, not a race, and using racist hate-mongering like he is attempting to do is low, and that he owes us an apology.

He deleted it.

My follow-up comment is here for you to see what he is deleting:

evl said...

I posted a clear, informative rebuttal to your racist remarks, and it was deleted.

Why did you delete my post?

It was on-topic, contained no vulgarity, and correctly demonstrated that your lumping in all Jews with Israelis is erroneous. All Jews are not Israelis, nor are all Jews Zionists, nor are all those that criticize Israel anti-Semitic. Judaism is a religion, not a race, nor a nationality, so to attempt to lump Dr. Byrne into the anti-Semitic camp because he observed that one author is pro-Israel in his writing is a base tactic. That is racist generalization, and part of the problem.

The way you delete comments that disagree with your position tells me that you have no interest in honest debate.

5:42 PM  
Blogger mfairview said...


"If you read Boyd's articles daily you'll see that he delights in skewering the high and mighty; witness his writing on Refco, Calpine, the NYSE etc. Not to mention that to date his coverage of the FTD issue places him in a very small group of journalists in NYC. It's hard to make general case, it seems to me, that he's a shill for the Wall Street grandees."

FWIW I agree. From what I've read of his writing he's usually pretty even sided. There have been a few cases where I would have disagreed. I suspect some exchange of emails behind the scenes have ruffled a few feathers and some of that bled here. You kind of wish that didn't happen but hey we're all human. Keep speaking the truth (good or bad) and we'll all be better for it IMO.

9:00 PM  
Blogger mfairview said...

evl, Jeff Matthews is the prince of clowns (no offense to clowns). How he manages to manage money for the wealthy is quite amazing. His clients must not be online much else they'd be running for the door given his publishings. Though I suppose, as he deletes any dissenting voices, they'd be reading all positives so wouldn't necessarily know better.

9:07 PM  
Blogger rboyd said...


aw , come on out and play. deleting posts, for the love of pete!

we're cool none the less. youre blog, and if I have to take my shoes off to walk in, well...its your house.

lets take a few things for a walk here.

im not flakking for them. Gave you WCs explanation. FYI--spoke to another 2 partners there and they back the version up.

anon, peter finch--not sure what's non sensical here. Doug Curtis, the partner on the Gradient account, told me that a major WC client felt they had been affected by naked shorting. my guts tell me Calpine, but there are some other former large cap comps. on REG SHO, so maybe it was one of them.

I know that the case has nothing to do with naked shorting; i broke that news, per Wes Christian. But since that this is sort of a meme in what PB says....NSS is always a few inches away.

plus, a major WC client said---"Us or them." The partner told me it didnt make sense, but thats that. a lot of bright people here--this is how biz works.

I paid for my way to NASAA and did not expense it. I wanted to learn, not write.

i got one story out of it--an investigative piece on voting right dilution--give me 10 more days on it.

re patrick: quisling, vichy. amusing. and here i am defending him, using my name, on matthews blog.

as usual, patrick is inept with the truth.
at the NASAA conference, i was askd 2x by NASAAs PR guy if I wanted to meet PB, the first time i laughed and said no. the second time i shrugged and said id like to meet him. I shook his hand, asked him if he had any tips on these alleged state
investigations that are always about to happen.

he said no, nothing he could disclose. no means no. I had 32 mins to make a train back to NYC and i had to take a subway (paid my own way and was low in $$, so could not take cab). Sorry, Patrick. Ill do more next time in the presence of your greatness.

frankly, i wanted to ask a couple of questions of PBs private eye who was there, Jim Holloman I think his name was, but i was jammed.

let me be brutally frank--much of what appears to you Bobo--Ill leave your name out, since we both know i got it down--as news, aint.

ive been more than frank on my opinions. NSS is bad and I thank all of you for the work you do in highliting it. also, i had no idea how bad it was till i started dealing with OSTK.
ill try and break what stories i can there that have some hook or mass appeal.

on the gradient stuff, i think that there is a stunning lack of evidence. i said that to wes christians face and told PB that. It would be better copy for me if it was true, so as it is, its a one way street.

on PB personally--i have a lot of respect for him. we stopped crushing him at the NYP awhile ago.hes an entrepreneur and risk taker and i respect that. I think on NSS hes on the side of the angels, or the right side of history.

on the lawsuit stuff, well so far, hes ohfer. the burden is on him.

he doesnt like me. fine. im an aggressive reporter and have pissed off more big HF managers--dont get me going on NYSE and others--so PB in Salt Lake. tell you the truth, i just absolutely teed off on a major HF manager last Thursday for outright fraud, total investigative work, and no love for him or his pals.

cant win.

on NSS and news, im sorry, but as honorable as dave Patch's statistical work ups are, they arent selling to editors. Give me hard news, that hasnt been picked over, about the state of ___ suing Refco for its role in Sedona, with subpeonas and discovery, ill write.

ralph lambiase acting shocked bores me, and is crappy copy.

have to say though, Gary V and Dave Patch seem like really nice guys. If i drank, id have a beer with them.

if any and all are in NYC and want to grab a coffee, talk NSS, let me know at my email addy there.
best, Roddy

9:31 PM  
Blogger bob obrien said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:24 PM  
Blogger bob obrien said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:31 PM  
Blogger evl said...

Jeff Matthews is on a delete-fest, eliminating any and all dissenting opinions from his blog. Here is another entry which is not long for this world:

pistachio said...

Incredibly disingenuous claptrap. You should really be ashamed of yourself. The analogy Patrick made was quite easy to understand. Only someone with an agenda could get that so wrong.

PS JM has deleted this response once already and will assuredly do so again. And I will post it again.

10:15 AM

9:30 AM  
Blogger bob obrien said...


If that is really you, we both know the status quo is ugly, and that at the end of the day there will be a few names associated with making the right noises at the right times.

You wanna tell me something, email me. You wanna name-call or get on a soapbox, you are free, white, over 21, and if you think it does your name and legacy justice, have at it. I prefer to think of folks' better moments, not their lower ones. Your choice.

Think PB is a scumbag or a saint? Guess what. He puts his pants on the same way we do. As we all do. No mystery there. Foot in, one leg at a time. But he hates bullies and understands injustice. That goes a long way in my book.

I never insinuated your trip was paid for by anyone else but you - frankly, if NY journalists can be had for a plane ticket, I'll take a round dozen just for fun.

I do find it suspect that Byrne and dad not getting shares delivered for months isn't news. Nor is NASAA describing in detail how out of control the system is. But I am not a journalist, so what do I know?

This is life or death, but also in the scheme of things, merely more grist for the cosmic mill. You decide what you wind up telling your grandchildren you did with your time on earth. I'm pretty good with mine so far. I sleep well. I think I'm also on the right side of this. Time will tell. Or it won't. No matter.

And Roddy?

No posts deleted.

Moved, with changes.

Not a lot of investigative to that, eh?

Point. Counterpoint. It bores us both, so let's press on, no?

Smug attitudes of superiority notwithstanding. Shoe could fit either. So back to the eye on the ball.

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gosh, that sounds a lot more in depth than a quick check, Roddy.

What's a NY post reporter doing in Orange County anyway? Parallels the Eisinger harassing old lady in Vegas.

Did you get a better rental car than the pos that Jesse had to drive?

All that energy to track down an easter bunny, but none left to write one word on the NASAA meeting.

From: "Boyd, Roddy" [Save Address] [Block Sender] [This Is Spam]
To: "Tony Ryals" , endofscam (at)
Subject: RE: Who is Bob O'Brien and why ain't he in jail ?
Date: Sun, 4 Dec 2005 21:34:39 -0500

our outing of xxxxx zzzz was due to intense reporting, involving numerous phone and email exchanges with xxxx. we had property records, business and tax records, everything; we interviewed neighboring businesses, even stopped by his primary business in Orange County.

I have heard your JD Davidosn theory; respectfully, i cannot concur.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous financial_circus said...

RODDY BOYD? Hey if this is truly Roddy posting here then he needs a new career in the garbage collection industry. Imagine continuing to out the real name of Bob O'Brien. After so many have come forward to indicate the threats they have received opposing the NAKED SHORTS. The latest confirmation being from Bud Burrell. Why is that Roddy? Trying to get someone killed or hurt? Make for better copy? Hey who cares who gets hurt right? Can't find the time to write an article about the NASAA Conference in a timely manner but you can spend your weekend on the blogs posting drivel?

11:02 AM  
Anonymous NY Compost said...

Wow, if anyone thinks Roddy isn't biased against EB/NCANS/Byrne after reading that email, ironically enough to the Guatemalan Hazelnut, they are blind

11:33 AM  
Anonymous will_russel_crowe_play_the_bunny said...

A 60 Minutes expose' of this FTD issue is only a matter of time.

Remember "The Insider" brouhaha with the Tabacco company and 60 Minutes?

This is bigger in terms of $$$$ involved.

Just a matter of time......

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

bethca Mathews deletes the entire blog from Saturday, by Monday morning.

I think Google searches would keep showing the beginning of it in any Goog searches, just like it still shows his stormy dancer headline

12:12 PM  
Blogger evl said...

Jeff Matthews has now activated a filter that keeps anyone but a "team" member from commenting at his blog.

Does anyone know what a team member is? Is that shorthand for someone that knows him and will only write positive affirming comments?

Bob, why don't you require a "team" filter to ensure only positive comments you agree with are posted here? Could it be because you are telling the truth, whereas Jeff is twisting it?

3:04 PM  
Blogger bob obrien said...


Jeff is as intellectually bankrupt as he is morally so, from what I have seen. I don't spend any time there as I simply assume that whatever he is writing is merely propoganda designed to help his or his hedge fund buddies' trading strategies.

The notion that the people posting there are fair and balanced or representative of anything but what his few cronies (and possibly his own multiple IDs) want the public to believe is laughable.

It doesn't surprise me that you and a number of others that disagree with his hateful and low characterizations have been deleted - his blog can't take the dozens of folks' posts indicating that he is a turd. That runs counter to his carefully crafted facade of smart guy hedge fund manager.

He won't tell anyone the size of his fund, which used to be over $65 million, but last interview was "over $25 million", leading me to conclude that his disasterous investing strategy has lost his investors a huge chunk of money - that is just my opinion, and could well be in error, but given that he refuses to discuss it, I can't arrive at any other conclusion.

Given that his claim to fame is his supposed investing acumen, and given that he refuses to support that claim with anything verifiable, I have to conclude that he is likely an empty suit who merely parrots what the big boys tell him to say.

If I am correct, it would stand to reason that he wouldn't want anyone actually pointing out what a dishonest shill he is (if that is what they wish to point out).

I don't require team members to pat me on the back and tell me how great I am. I don't need to censor dissenting voices - I only remove posts that are designed to distrupt/are off topic, or which speculate as to my ID. If you think I'm full of it, which law of averages says I will be at times, speak up. If I ever am so low as to start calling people anti-Semites or the like, in an attempt to secure some sort of market advantage, then by all means come here and call me on it.

My money says that this is a new low for the bad guys, and this latest episode is proof positive of their desperation to make Byrne look bad at all costs. I have difficulty believing that anyone is fooled by it, given how patently sleazy and transparently false it is, but they apparently believe that anyone stupid enough to be reading his drivel will be stupid enough to buy into even the most preposterous flights of slanderous fancy.

They are likely right.

I got bored with all the "Oh Jeff, thank goodness we have you to help us see the truth" posts - I find it hard to imagine any unaffiliated fellows who would post on his blog with that much observed ardor, with an intensity usually reserved for a Madonna fan club meeting in the Village - and thus long ago concluded it was all a poorly constructed and executed con job. Perhaps I'm wrong. Dunno. But when I hear that you now have to be a member of the team, I can't help but wonder what the team is named.

Team Cheat?

As always, just me opinion.

3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Concerning the size of Matthews' hedge fund (Ram Partners), here are two published references that may be of interest:

"" 'There's a lingering notion that Christmas will come through," said Jeff Matthews, general partner at Ram Partners, which manages about $80 million in assets, including short positions in retail stocks including J.C. Penney Co. "This will be the first time in my experience that it doesn't.' "
Chicago Sun-Times, 12/25/02, Financial, page 55

"AOL spokesman John Buckley declined to comment. Google can fend off Microsoft founder Bill Gates without buying AOL, said Jeff Matthews, general partner at Ram Partners. Ram Partners manages more than US$25 million, including Google shares."
The New Zealand Herald, 9/19/05, Technology section

If these reports are credible it would indeed appear Ram Partners has lost much of its capital in the past three years, whether through poor investment decisions or redemptions.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JC Penney has doubled since 12/2002, that's almost as bad as his AMZN short. This guy is starting to rival his buddy from TheStreetCom, JJ Cramer, for being a reliable contrarian indicator.

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I met some of the guys behind GMXX. They said they were approached by 60 minutes, but the story was killed by someone higher up before it went anywhere.

Don't kid yourself. The mainstream media knows about this story, but they aren't allowed to cover it.

After 60 minutes left, they were all attacked by the SEC. They were expecting the SEC to come help and instead, they were accused of stock manipulation. Their crime? They asked for their certs. and sued when they didn't get them.

And before anyone posts about what GMXX's shares are worth, I don't care at all about what the company is worth and I don't consider the pedigree of any counterfeited company to be relevant.

What I care about is someone took REAL MONEY from an investor and in exchange gave them an IOU. Then their brokerage pretended it was a real share, even going through charades to pretend the IOU had voting rights.

If that's such a good idea, why don't we open it up and advertise it. Rather than restricting counterfeiting to the hedge funds and broker dealer owners, why don't we let any retailer sell stock they don't have and withdraw the funds, leaving the system holding the bag as the stock declines?

Geez, I'd be the first in line. If it goes up, I walk, letting the broker keep my 10% collateral. If it goes down, I withdraw cash, then walk, leaving the system holding the bag.

6:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems to me someone could make a lot of money suing over loss of voting rights.

The clearing system is complex, but voting is simple.

Any brokerage that votes more shares than they have or who sends more proxies than they have could be sued in the state where they are located.

This issue is pretty black and white.

If I get a voting confirmation and you send me a proxy, pretending I have a vote and it turns out I don't have a share or a vote, then you have committed mail fraud.

A good argument could be made that the people in the back office sending out those fraudulent confirmations and fraudulent proxies have committed a criminal offense.

And no, the "boss told me to" is not a defence.

7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see Boyd as being too unreasonable in what he has posted here.

It is entirely believable that WC dropped Gradient because another account said "us or them". The fraudulent shortselling problem is just under the surface of this lawsuit, and so it is not surprising that another client of WC recognizes that.

On the other hand, Boyd may be a little too acclimated to the Wall Street perspective when he claims BOB's stuff isn't news. Unfortunately, his editor probably has the same view. Meanwhile, there is a lot of little evidence that weaves together an unmistakable story. This attitude on Boyd's part probably indicates he is not really top mustard as a journalist.

On the other hand, I don't think he's a lapdog. So I guess that means he's relatively good! Be thankful!

11:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whether it Boyd or his editors or the owners, someone is keeping the crime of the century out of the papers.

Until someone covers this fraud, it's tough for me to feel sympathy for someone who pulls a paycheck from the dark side.

Roddy, here's an easy one.

Write a simple story that talks about how confirmation slips don't confirm trades and how voting proxies don't imply you have a right to vote.

Maybe mention how your broker probably runs a computer program to automatically bet against you on illiquid trades and how they lend out your own asset to help push the value of it down.

Maybe you could interview some rich shorts to talk about how they are spending the money your readers lost in the last crash.

I met a friend of Mark Valentine. He's in his early 40's, worth 500 million and free after 10 months of house arrest in his mansion for operation Bermuda Short.

To top it off, he got a 6 million income tax refund from Canada as he pushed his profits offshore.

Meanwhile, he left behind a bankrupt brokerage and huge losses among his clients (Thomson Kernaghan).

Oh, Mark asked me to leave the readers of this blog a message "ha ha, suckers!"

12:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:28 AM  

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