Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Don't trust your children to Patrick Byrne

We learned from the Utah campaign finance filings yesterday that Patrick Byrne - and his Mum and Dad - have almost single-handedly funded the pro-private school voucher campaign.

To the tune of more than $3 million. Patrick is the largest donor at about $1.5 million, but he managed to secure $1 million from his Dad, and $200,000 from his Mum. (You can read the coverage of the Deseret News here.)

Anyone else besides me see the absolute, fundamental hypocrisy in "Parents for Choice in Education" (the Patrick Byrne mouthpiece we now know it to be) hysterically screaming that teachers in Utah and throughout the country, through small dollar donations, were contributing $3 million through their national organization, the National Education Association?

At least Utahns for Public Schools, the anti-voucher group of parents, teachers, educators, business people and civil rights groups, is made up of REAL people! They listed more than 2,500 individual donors. Donors that actually live and vote in Utah.

(Unlike Jack and Dorothy Byrne. They aren't registered to vote in Utah.)

So, we know Patrick is rich.

What else we know about Patrick Byrne is this:

He hates teachers and hates public education. (Calls teachers "educrats" and was quoted by George Will as saying that if he had a "silver bullet" he would shoot the NEA - an organization of teachers.)

He labels the 60% of Utahns polls reveal to be against vouchers "bigots."

He then states that minority children who drop out of school should be "burned" or "thrown away."

You know, one could put this down to the throes of this private school voucher campaign, but after looking around, this really could be a sign that Patrick Byrne is, well, nasty.

See below what he's written in e-mails to some people in the business world. Forgive the graphic language it is Byrne's, not mine.

o In October 2004, Byrne had an email exchange with Bethany McLean--a Fortune magazine reporter who was involved in exposing the Enron scandal--about her 1995 decision to leave Goldman Sachs to become a reporter. Specifically, Byrne wrote, “So, why exactly did you become a reporter? Giving Goldman traders blowjobs didn’t work out?” (New York Post, August 18, 2005)

(An statement indicated Byrne had been upset because McLean discussed Byrne’s cancer in an article she wrote about Overstock.)

o When Donn Vickrey of Camelback (now known as Gradient Research) wrote something about one of Overstock’s Board members that Byrne thought was unfair and unkind, Byrne wrote an email back to him saying he should be “beaten, f---ed, and driven from the land,” a phrase Byrne thought was “particularly colorful.” Byrne said he has always “admired those who can swear creatively.”
(New York Post, August 18, 2005)

And, Byrne is vengeful and deceitful.

Take, for example, his systematic lies about using an underling to blog for him, and using those blogs to get "even" with his detractors as outlined by Sam Antar here.

Then, his "failure" to reveal a subpoena by the SEC for a year. That is documented here.

Then there is how Byrne treats employees, or former employees. Take the case of a couple who worked for Overstock, were accused of "stealing" e-mail addresses, and then held almost "hostage" to the whole suit against them for over a year. At the end, Overstock dismissed the charges as unfounded.

Read all about it because it's all in the court records:

On December 5, 2003, Overstock filed a lawsuit against Jeffrey and Rachelle Knight, accusing the couple of stealing more than 3 million email addresses from the Overstock’s customer database and selling them to other companies that send junk e-mail. On that day, Overstock fired Rachelle Knight.(It had previously fired Jeffrey in an April 2003 layoff.) Overstock also filed a restraining order against the couple to turn over any Overstock equipment and their personal computer, only to withdraw it within weeks.

The Knights and their attorney, Lauren Scholnick, said the lawsuit was nothing more than a “publicity stunt” to show that Overstock was fighting for customer privacy. Before filing the suit, Overstock alleged that it had received a “significantly increased” number of complaints about junk e-mail.

Almost right after Overstock filed a complaint against the Knights alleging civil conspiracy and breach of contract, two Overstock employees who had claimed they saw Rachelle Knight log on to Overstock’s main computer changed their testimony. The witnesses claimed they saw Knight log on to the computer system in September 2003, but later changed that to April.

Days after filing a lawsuit against Rachelle and Jeffrey Knight, alleging they stole 3 million e-mail addresses from the company’s files, Overstock reduced its estimate to a mere “few dozen."

Jeffrey Knight noted in a counterclaim that Patrick Byrne threatened to fire his wife, who was reportedly pregnant, and sue, the company that offered Knight a job. Byrne denied the charges and said the lawsuit against the Knights had nothing to do with SmartBargains.

In February 2004, Overstock dropped the lawsuit against the Knights, arguing that the allegations that they stole information from Overstock were “unfounded.”

On February 26, 2004, Third District Court Judge Sandra Pueller approved an order that dismissed the lawsuit, essentially clearing the Knights of all allegations. The order stated, “Overstock has determined, after a full investigation, that its customer database has not been compromised, is fully secure and that (the Knights) did not attempt to, and have not, accessed any confidential customer information.” Neither party had to pay monetary damages; each paid their own legal fees.

Utahns who care about their children, and their children's education, should take note of this man who is trying to sell them flawed private school vouchers.

With no children of his own, Byrne doesn't really care about YOUR children. He only cares about revenge.

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