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THE WORST BUSINESS CEOS IN AMERICA

Mired in financial and legal trouble, Talos Partners CEO, Robert V. Brazell tops our list

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THE ROBERT BRAZELL BUSINESS TIMELINE INFOGRAPHIC

1996

STARTS DISCOUNTS DIRECT

Brazell launches D2, a flea-market product liquidation business that uses fax blasts to alert people to deals.

1999

DISCOUNTS DIRECT ON THE

VERGE OF BANKRUPTCY

By the spring of 1999, Patrick Byrnes meets with Rob Brazell. D2 is out of money and two weeks away from going out of business. Byrnes invests to keep the business alive.

BRAZELL IS FIRED BY BYRNES

Byrnes belatedly conducts due diligence on Brazell, and in September of 1999 fires Robert Brazell and 12 of the 18 employees. (Read Patrick Byrnes full story about Brazell and what he discovered here).

OVERSTOCK.COM IS LAUCHED BY

BYRNES WITHOUT BRAZELL

In October of 1999, Patrick Byrne changes the name and launches Overstock.com. Byrnes has filed a legal declaration stating, "Brazell was not an employee when we launched, had no position in the company, and had no legal relationship other than a small minority shareholder, and was unwelcome on the premises."

 

In an effort to save Brazell face, Byrnes would later let him attend "some board meetings as an observer only (with no actual board membership.)"

 

Byrnes continues, "The truth is, Brazell started a company that had no sustainable business model, employed a bunch of crooks, collapsed, and which I led a group of investors to acquire, recapitalize, and re-start. Brazell never worked one day at any company called “Overstock.com.”

 

To this day, Brazell continues to purport and use to induce investors, that he was the Founder, Founding Board Member, and President and CEO of Overstock.com. On his new website he takes credit for the company's public success despite being fired before it's launch in 1999 and several years before it's IPO.

BRAZELL STARTS IDEAEXCHANGE

Rob Brazell launches a new website for buying and selling ideas. He begins raising money.

DELPHI, EHOW AND OTHERS

Brazell claims to have purchased, run, and sold various internet properties, but there is little information to confirm his involvement and/or financial claims. Fact checking continues.

OVERSTOCK.COM GOES PUBLIC

Overstock.com goes public almost three years after Rob Brazell is fired. He plays no role in the process.

BRAZELL GETS INVOLVED WITH IN-STORE BROADCASTING NETWORK - IBN

Founded in 2001, IBN provides audio commercials in grocery and drug stores, and is looking to expand into video ads.

 

Brazell claims to have invested $8.4mm, but his own documents show a "personal investment" of $300k (which he paid himself back in 2011) and $3.2mm through his trust, which he also paid himself back in 2008 and 2011.

IDEAEXCHANGE FAILS

INVESTORS LOSE $24M

Brazell says the he invested $500k of his own money and raised $24mm. Just four years after launching, the company is out of business with investors taking a total loss.

 

Byrnes stated that he knew one of the early investors who had given Brazell an estimated $10mm for the company, and when he ran into him socially, he apologized for having sided against Byrnes at Overstock.com, and for "not realizing that Brazell was a crook."

TO DATE BRAZELL RAISES $46M

LIABILITIES SKYROCKET

From 2002-2007, Robert Brazell and company have raised an estimated $46.1mm. From 2001-2007, company revenues total an estimated $35.4 million.

 

Under Brazell's management, liabilities skyrocket from $700k in 2001 to over $12.6mm in 2007. Liabilities would peak in 2009 at $18.6mm when one investment banker would write to Brazell, "…You and your team are over your head and have a credibility gap ($3mm of liabilities became $10mm, became $22?)."

IN-STORE BROADCASTING - IBN

INSOLVENT

Despite bringing in over $100mm on November, 18 2008 Brazell would write investors stating, "The Company is insolvent as outlined in the Private Placement Memorandum that you will receive in the next few days. Its liabilities far exceed its assets."

BRAZELL LAUNCHES TALOS

In the fall of 2008-spring of 2009, Robert Brazell launches Talos Partners, a stock loan business in New York City. He enlists former Wisconsin Senator, Robert Kasten to join him. Two witnesses say, Kasten would later admit he had been "hoodwinked" by Brazell.

GREAT HILL SELLS STAKE IN IBN

TAKES LOSS OF $21M

Great Hill had invested $16mm into IBN in 2004 and another $5mm in 2006. Just prior to the Talos take-over, Great Hill would sell their entire stake back to the company for $1,000 and resign their seat on the Board of Directors.

TALOS TAKES OVER IBN

INVESTORS MASSIVELY DILUTED

With IBN still on the verge of bankruptcy, Talos steals the company. A former partner of Rob Brazell, would claim in his 2008 lawsuit against him, that he would use his "insider knowledge to steal the company and aggressively dilute investors."

 

Despite picking up the company for pennies on the dollar, Talos can't make their payments to IBN and defaults on their agreement. Due to the fact that the Board of Directors is the same for both Talos and IBN, the deal is fraught with conflict of interest and never unwound, to the massive detriment of investors.

BRAZELL LAUNCHES PERSONALIZED MEDICINE LLC

Robert Brazell launches new medical business with partners that rely on "his apparent high net worth and previous business success" as the primary reason for their involvement.

 

Investors agree to jointly invest $1.6mm each with Brazell into the company.

 

Brazell keeps telling everyone that his investment will come "as soon as the paperwork is done." (This paperwork being primarily Brazell's responsibility.)

 

The paperwork is never completed, and Brazell never puts any money in the company.

IBN IS SOLD TO POP FOR $12M

INVESTORS LOSSES TOP 98%

In the late spring of 2012, IBN Audio is sold to POP Radio for $12mm. Talos receives $3.9mm, managers are paid large bonuses, (including Kasten who receives $200k). Investors lose over 98% of their money.

TALOS PARTNERS

"HAS ZERO INCOME"

On June 4, 2012 Robert Brazell writes, "Talos has zero revenue or income. We have not done anything out of Talos for at least two years...Talos does not have other entities with any assets or value."

 

He continues in regard to the Talos offices at 667 Madison, …"that the landlord has a "$250k default judgment."

 

Talos leaves their NYC offices. As of 2014, they list a single email address on their website under "Global Presence."

PERSONALIZED MEDICINE LLC

BANKRUPT/DISSOLVED

After much confusion, Brazell attends a board meeting and they dissolve the company to save the cost of formal bankruptcy proceedings. Brazell apparently agrees to pay $275k towards offsetting one investor's $700k loss and to cover contractors still owed money.

 

Dissolving the company was conditional on Brazell paying the $275k, but the company is dissolved anyway and Brazell wants to renegotiate payment terms on the $275k.

 

A number of creditors are allegedly still owed money by Robert Brazell. As of the summer of 2014, he had yet to pay the $275k.

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2007

2009

2012

1999

2004

2008

2010

2010

2011

2012

2012

2014

Many documents reflect state(s) of insolvency and/or pending bankruptcy for IBN.

Former president Von H. Whitby buys the company for a few thousand dollars.

In December, both CFO, and attorney admit Talos is in default on agreement.

ROBERT V. BRAZELL

18-YEAR BUSINESS SUMMARY

Research is ongoing in regard to his other business claims.

5

5

NUMBER OF BUSINESSES

STARTED

NUMBER OF BUSINESSES

FAILED

0

%

BUSINESS SUCCESS RATE

*This does not take into account businesses Robert Brazell has claimed to be involved in, but that details cannot be verified including; eHow, Delphi, Tenfold, and Gamebase. Research is being conducted, and details will be posted when available.

0

0

NUMBER OF

BUSINESSES TAKEN PUBLIC

NUMBER OF

BUSINESSES SOLD AT PROFIT

-$21,000,000

LARGEST SINGLE INVESTOR LOSS TO DATE

*Great Hill Partners sells back their $21mm stake in IBN to the company for $1,000 in 2010,

and resigns from the Board of Directors.

NO

HE WAS NOT THE FOUNDER, FOUNDING BOARD MEMBER, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF OVERSTOCK.COM

YES

HE WAS THE FOUNDER OF DISCOUNTS DIRECT A COMPANY TWO WEEKS AWAY FROM BANKRUPTCY

5

0

NUMBER OF BUSINESSES WHERE INVESTORS PUT MONEY IN

NUMBER OF BUSINESSES WHERE INVESTORS MADE their MONEY BACK

98

%

AVERAGE LOSS TO INVESTORS SINCE 2004

ROBERT V. BRAZELL'S 18-YEAR BUSINESS TRACK RECORD TIMELINE INFOGRAPHIC

Robert V. Brazell launches his own website briefly, then takes it private requiring a password to view. WorstCEOs was able to capture the full site whilst it was public. It is a fascinating read where Brazell touts himself as the "17th most successful internet entrepreneur in history" by using a chart from IncomeDiary.com that shows how much money Overstock.com makes today, despite Brazell having nothing to with the company since 1999.

 

As always, we're dedicated to fact checking, much to Robert Brazell's dismay, but will continue to provide the truth to help investors make better choices.

"I do not know of anyone who ever invested with Brazell who did anything but lose all his money, sometimes to Brazell himself. I cannot recall a single conversation with Rob Brazell where he did not propose something unseemly, unethical, or illegal..."

—Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock.com

Read Patrick Byrne's legal declaration here.

Von H. Whitby

  • Close personal friend and business associate of Robert Brazell
  • Whitby was President of IdeaExchange, and ended up buying the failed company for a few thousand dollars
  • Whitby is on the Board of Directors of the IBN Companies and Talos Partners
  • Brazell lived in Whitby's home for years
  • Is defendant in the IBN Securities Fraud Lawsuit in Utah

Robert W. Kasten (former US Senator, WI)

*Infographic Footnotes

All informations has been aggregated from either publicly available sources and from documents in the possession of Worst CEOs.com including: Patrick Byrnes legal declaration, and Overstock.com History. Robert Brazell's Zowio! pages,  Wikipedia pages, emails and or first-hand accounts.

Forbes says a CEO should above all protect investor share value

Robert V. Brazell tops our list of small business CEOs that fails time and again to provide returns, while living high off investor's money. Now mired in legal and financial trouble, the truth about Rob Brazell is finally reaching the market where potential investors can make better and more informed decisions before putting their money at risk.

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