Overstock founder and CEO Patrick Byrne resigned Thursday after 20 years at the company amid his ties to a government investigation related to the 2016 election.
Last month, Byrne disclosed he was involved in an FBI probe into a Russia investigation and admitted to having a relationship with Maria Butina, a Russian citizen who was convicted of crimes related to the 2016 election. In an Aug.12 press release, he said it was the third time in his life that he "helped the Men in Black: the first was when my friend Brian Williams was murdered, and the second was when I helped the M.I.B. shake up Wall Street a decade ago."
After his resignation, shares in Overstock rose.
Byrne spoke to FOX Business' "Bulls & Bears" Thursday after his resignation to respond to the news of the rallying stock. FOX Business' Jonathan Hoenig asked Byrne "how does it feel to see the stock rally when you step down?"
"I feel great about it because not only am I a shareholder now, and as a shareholder, I think I can actually tell you given that I know what I've done," Byrne said. "I don't mean there's anything unethical about me saying this. Given what I've done, if you will, I'm taking off. I didn't choose this fight. I'm doing it. If you want to help me, go buy your daughter a rug at Overstock.com. If you want to help me out, 'cause the entirety of Washington D.C., even though I've left the company is gonna be coming after who, who the heck knows."
I didn't choose this fight. I'm doing it. If you want to help me, go buy your daughter a rug at Overstock.com.
Byrne went on to call Hoenig's question "silly" and said Hoenig should be "smarter and stand for principles more than that question illustrated." Byrne said he still has "duties as a citizen when you're CEO."
"I never involve the company in anything," Byrne said. "The company's completely unrelated. I have no extracurricular activities. I skydive; I surf; and twice in my life, when a friend of mine got murdered, and when a bunch of goons on Wall Street figured out what they were doing, I helped the federal government take them down. And when they told me that they needed my help with this, and I thought I was doing, helping with legitimate law enforcement, I helped them. It turns out I was a tool in a game of political espionage. I didn't know that. I only figured it out last summer. I thought that I was doing something legitimate and a tiny, little thing on the side. It took me a little bit of time away from the office, and it turns out it was political espionage. I only figured that out a year ago."
It turns out I was a tool in a game of political espionage. I didn't know that.
Byrne called Hoenig "a fool" and also said he should know better as a journalist. Hoenig, while a Fox News contributor and author, is not a journalist but is a founder of the hedge fund, Capitalist Pig. FOX Business' anchor David Asman steered the conversation to a new topic before the discussion became more heated.
FOX Business' Jonathan Garber contributed to this report.