When Patrick Byrne, the CEO of Overstock.com, isn't issuing paranoid rants about "naked shorts" ruining Wall Street, or admitting that his online store's buggy software has been producing false financial reports, he keeps busy lying to journalists. Including yours truly. Back in 2002, I interviewed Byrne for Business 2.0 magazine, a tipster recently reminded me. Here was the exchange:
Are you profitable? Byrne: Yes, that's real GAAP profit, not Amazon-bullshit-accounting profit.
In fact, it was neither. Overstock.com was then a private company, but it later revealed, when it filed for an IPO, that it had lost $13.8 million in 2001. With the latest financial restatements, it's been revealed that the company has never made an annual profit since its inception. And yet Byrne would rather blame a conspiracy of rogue traders for his company's woes.