Overstock CEO Resigns After 'Deep State' Controversy

Patrick Byrne had relationship with accused Russian agent, then started working with FBI
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2019 1:35 PM CDT
Overstock CEO Resigns After 'Deep State' Controversy
A 2010 photo of Overstock.com's Patrick Byrne.   (AP Photo/George Frey, file)

The longtime CEO of online retailer Overstock.com is resigning, and the reason is about as strange as it gets for these kinds of things. Patrick Byrne has been in the hot seat since revealing earlier this month that he had a three-year relationship with accused Russian agent Maria Butina, who is now imprisoned over her scheme to infiltrate the NRA, reports CNBC. Byrne also previously acknowledged that he'd been working with the "Men in Black," meaning federal authorities, as part of the "deep state" investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Got all that? In a resignation letter the Washington Post describes as "meandering and sometimes bizarre," Byrne also suggests that more revelations about him are to come.

"If the hors d’oeuvre that was served recently caused the market such indigestion, it is not going to be in shareholder interest for me to be around if and when any main course is served," Byrne wrote. He said his staying on as CEO would be too much of a distraction for the company, which is why he's stepping down and handing over the reins to Jonathan Johnson. "Though patriotic Americans are writing me in support, my presence may affect and complicate all manner of business relationships," he wrote. "Thus, while I believe that I did what was necessary for the good of the country, for the good of the firm, I am in the sad position of having to sever ties with Overstock." Investors were not as sad, and the company's stock jumped as much as 17% on the news. (More Maria Butina stories.)

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