By Lenore Fedow
Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne resigned in a letter to shareholders last week following a public statement about his alleged role in the “deep state,” referring to a theory about a secret group of agents controlling government policy.
Salt Lake City—Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne resigned Thursday in a letter to shareholders, following publication of a bizarre press release in which he described his role in the “Deep State” that sent the discount e-tailer’s share price tumbling.

Last year, Fox News contributor Sara Carter published two articles on her website detailing Byrne’s claims that he was involved in election-related federal investigations and was previously in a romantic relationship with convicted Russian operative Maria Butina.

20190826 Overstock Interim CEO Jonathan JohnsonJonathan Johnson, president of the company's blockchain subsidiary Medici Ventures, will serve as interim CEO.On Aug. 12, Byrne made a public statement via a press release to confirm Carter’s stories were an accurate representation of what he said.

The statement outlined his role in the “Deep State,” which is widely held as a conspiracy theory about a group of people within government agencies and military believed to be manipulating government policy in secret, and detailed several instances where he assisted the “Men in Black” (referring to federal investigators), including in “political espionage” in the 2016 presidential election against Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

The Salt Lake City-based company’s share price fell more than 30 percent after Byrne’s statements, but rebounded following his resignation.

In his resignation letter, Byrne wrote that while he felt what he said was “necessary for the good of the country, for the good of the firm,” he is “in the sad position of having to sever ties with Overstock, both as CEO and board member, effective Thursday, Aug. 22.”

Byrne noted in the letter that a merger/acquisition may still be on the table for Overstock in the future.

“If the right strategic offer is made that reflects the value of that technological gem, I am confident the board will consider it,” he wrote, adding “it is possible that my absence will advance the possibility.”

Jonathan Johnson, a board member and president of the company’s blockchain subsidiary Medici Ventures, will serve as interim CEO.

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