This post is a summary of Sam E. Antar’s posting labeled Overstock.com (NASDAQ: OSTK) CEO Patrick Byrne Pays Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff to Defame a Blogger.
- August 2007 Deputy Attorney General Richard Hamp invites Sam E. Antar to speak at the 14th Annual White Collar Crime Conference, Antar agrees to do so at no cost to Utah taxpayers.
Approximately two weeks later Hamp contacts Antar requesting that Antar not mention Overstock.com in his presentation and only discuss Overstock if he is asked a direct question about the company.
- October 30, 2007 – Overstock.com makes a $5,000 campaign contribution to Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.
- October 31, 2007 – Antar presents at the conference; the program lists him as “ Sam Antar – Former CPA and Former CFO of Crazy Eddie, Inc. Mr. Antar helped mastermind one of the largest securities frauds of its time.” Chief Deputy Attorney General Kirk Torgensen later praises Antar, calling him a “rock star”
- November 2, 2007 – Antar receives an email from Deputy Attorney General John Kimble complementing Antar on his presentation at the conference.
- November 8, 2007 – Attorney General Mark Shurtleff writes an open letter to Overstock.com claiming that “(he was unable) to post this letter as a comment on his blog,” and that he was “warned that Mr. Antar might use this speaking engagement to suggest that (his) office or (Attorney General Shurtleff) personally endorse or support his accusations against Overstock.com or some other public company.”
- November, 2007 – Antar is contacted by Torgensen alerting him to the fact that Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne was “tee’d off” about Antar’s presentation.
- November 13, 2007 – Hamp attempts to contact Antar via voicemail but is unsuccessful. In the voicemail Hamp again compliments Antar but states in the voicemail that “we know our boss (Attorney General Shurtleff) has probably not been as appreciative but John and I sure are.”
- November 14, 2007 – Overstock.com issues a press release claiming that Antar refuses to post Shurtleff’s blog post.
- November 15, 2007 – Antar receives Shurtleff’s letter for what he claims to be the first time at 11:40 AM EST and posts the letter at 2:45 PM EST, immediately after presenting another free fraud presentation.
Later in the day Antar receives a call from Hamp confirming that Shurtleff lied about Antar and that he was never consulted by Shurtleff about any agreements made by Hamp and Antar relating to Antar’s presentation. In the same conversation Hamp disagrees with Shurtleff and that he was treated poorly by the office.
Antar attempts to contact Shurtleff via phone and email regarding the situation, but is unable to receive a response, this, despite the fact that Shurtleff had a correspondence with blogger Tracy Coenen wherein he refuses to retract his statements regarding Antar.
Torgensen contacts Antar asking what Torgensen can do to rectify the situation; Antar requests a full apology from Shurtleff that is sent out on the same channels as the original press release. Torgensen requests a day to see if he can get approval for a press release to “clarify the inaccuracy.”
November 16, 2007 – Antar contacts Torgensen asking about the status of the press release. Antar is told that he has “gotten and (sic) apology from three people in my office.” Antar responds that the lack of a correction “casts a shadow on your office and casts a shadow on the ethics and integrity of your office.” Torgensen responds by saying that he “understands where you are coming from, Sam.”
- December 25, 2007 – In an interview in Fortune Magazine Shurtleff, when discussing Antar’s allegations that Shurtleff is “doing the bidding of a wealthy backer” replies that it is “bullcrap” and continues to insult Antar, stating that “to a thief everyone looks like a thief.”
- February 9, 2008 – Byrne claims that Antar invited himself to a meeting with Shurtleff, met with him, and agreed not to spin the presentation or blog as Shurtleff agreeing with Antar’s views on Overstock.com. Byrne claims that “Sam had this meeting then immediately welched n that promise.”
- August 18, 2008 – Antar posts on his blog, whitecollarfraud.blogspot.com about these events and signs it “Sam E. Antar (former Crazy Eddie CFO and a convicted felon).”
For further details, again, please visit Antar’s blog.