McCarthy re-emerges, exposes break with head investor Pat Corbett

After a long social media silence that began when the Orbo product launch went awry back in February, former Steorn CEO Shaun McCarthy has re-emerged with a vengeance. In the past 24 hours he’s been posting prolifically to his Facebook page, his Twitter account @orbomantweets, and a new blog he’s launched titled orboman.

His posts include a mixture of observations and recollections that wouldn’t be out of place in Dos Equis’ Most Interesting Man in the World ad campaign. Most relevant, however, is one post titled “On betrayal..” In this post he tells the story of how investor Pat Corbett became involved with Steorn, directed its course over the past ten years, and was finally pushed out of Steorn this year after trying to take over.

He begins by recounting how he first met Corbett, when Corbett was looking for connections in the music industry to promote a musician, Marcus Fearon, whom he had invested in. Even as McCarthy’s friends and trusted co-workers warned McCarthy to keep a close watch on Corbett, McCarthy grew to like him and “fell under the Corbett spell”. McCarthy portrays Corbett as someone who has a “power about him” that is “difficult to deny”, a “force of nature”, and that “a guy with that much ability to convince people can be dangerous”.

As Steorn was just discovering an “Orbo effect” that seemed to defy explanation, they began trying to raise money from venture capitalists. Corbett stepped in and offered to raise the money himself, which he did with great success. At first McCarthy kept a close eye on him, but eventually he got to the point of “just letting Pat do his thing.”

McCarthy states that Corbett “had been fundamental in the direction that Steorn took with Orbo almost from the day of its discovery…Over twelve years every step the company took was a Pat step.” He seeks to lay the blame for Steorn’s failures at Corbett’s feet, even while acknowledging that McCarthy, as CEO, had the final say. “While on paper I don’t really get to complain about this, because I was at the end of the day his boss, I am anyway going to moan a bit about the man.”

As McCarthy tells it, Corbett “distorted views of people inside and outside [Steorn],” and three times attempted to wrest control of the company. It was after his third attempt, earlier this year (which even after the previous attempts somehow surprised Shaun “like a bolt out of the blue”), that he “had to go.”

One statement of McCarthy’s seems to imply that Corbett was associated with organized crime:

The problem with this betrayal was that it did not just affect me, if Pat had got his way then Orbo would never make it outside of the lab and Steorn would be run by some guys who break ankles and kneecaps first, and debate later.

McCarthy concludes by asserting that Steorn is now finally taking Orbo in the right direction, even as Corbett and his group of investors continue to pose a threat:

Pat is no longer in Steorn, the company is 10 times what it was, doing great things at last. Doing what we should have been doing 10 years ago. Pat and his ‘hard money’ backers have not given up – but they will need to kill me to get their hands on Orbo, Steorn, or any part of it. I took 12 years to learn the lesson, but it’s well learnt.

This is a fascinating peek at what’s been going on with Steorn since their attempt to market Orbo collapsed. It’s clearly from one highly biased perspective with questionable credibility. No doubt Pat Corbett, among others, would have a very different story to tell. So I would suggest viewing this not as an accurate account of what has happened with Steorn, but as the story Shaun McCarthy wants the world to believe — true or not. The interesting question then becomes, why? What caused McCarthy to come out of hiding and tell this story to the public?

One possibility that comes to mind is that Steorn is in potential legal trouble for fraudulent business activities, and McCarthy wants to place the blame squarely with Corbett. He portrays Corbett as someone almost preternaturally capable of manipulating others, and asserts that “every step” the company took with Orbo over the years has been at Pat’s bidding. However, McCarthy goes out of his way to state that Steorn already believed that the Orbo effect was genuine before Corbett came on board (“we had some basic test data, we had a college going, yep that shit works and it should not”). Could it be that Shaun is setting up a defense that, even though they believed the effect was genuine at that time, they eventually realized it was not but that Corbett then led efforts to fraudulently continue the ruse anyway? That’s possible, but McCarthy seems to insinuate that he still considers the Orbo effect to be real. He states that Steorn is “doing great things at last” and that Corbett’s investors “will need to kill me to get their hands on Orbo,” which only seems to make sense if McCarthy still believes in Orbo’s potential.

To me it remains unclear just what McCarthy is trying to accomplish by writing this. It may become clearer in the future, as he states “I can’t go into all the details (yet)”. This could mean that possible legal troubles originate not due to fraud but due to dissatisfied investors: a lawsuit may be in the works between Corbett and his investors on one side, and McCarthy and Steorn on the other. If that’s the case, it’s a striking parallel with what’s occurring with regards to another controversial potential energy source, the lawsuit between inventor Andrea Rossi and investor Thomas Darden over the status of Rossi’s supposed low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) device, the E-cat.

This seems like the beginning of a new, and potentially bitter, chapter in the Steorn saga. The drama between former business partners is only so interesting — I just hope this will eventually lead to answers about how and why Steorn so confidently and spectacularly promoted the Orbo, only to be foiled again and again by naive and amateurish failures.

21 thoughts on “McCarthy re-emerges, exposes break with head investor Pat Corbett

  1. I note that McCarthy is now using a press image of the arrest of John Simon Ritchie, AKA Sid Vicious, for the murder of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen in 1978 as his Facebook cover image. I’m left wondering what the significance of this choice is? Does McCarthy seriously see himself as a kind of rebellious, techonological rock ‘n’ roll star flouting the laws of the land? And will he end up like Vicious—as somebody left broken and forgotten, and whose subsequent fame was measured in months rather than decades?

    • Hard to know what they think. You would think after almost another year they might have an update. But with the website down it’s starting to look like they have run out of cash and will close.

      Remember a year ago whey they almost launched their phone and cube?

      Then almost silence for a year. I wonder what they do all day.

  2. I note that on Shaun McCarthy’s current Facebook page, he currently describes himself as a “Professional Poker Player” and “Former CEO at Steorn”. Does this mean that McCarthy is distancing himself from Steorn in anticipation of litigation, hence the use of “former”. And what level of technical expertise, or business acumen can one expect from a person whose job description is simply a professional (whatever that means?) poker player.

    I guess though, in reality, that he must be a skilled gambler, as he’s successfully milked numerous punters out of millions of dollars over the last decade or so!

    • It’s strange to think it was about a year ago they almost launched their phone and cube. Things really seemed to be happening. Then nothing for another year. Most companies tend to achieve something in a year. What do they do on a day to day basis?

      Apparently there was an AGM in August. No news there.

      I’ve read his blog. Sounds like a lot of tall tales and not really relevant. Nobody is interested in life stories, there is not Jeremy Kyle.

      One would hope the ‘investors’ read this and realise they will never make anything out of it. Time to cut your losses.

      • There is no way they were close to releasing anything other than more lies. Unless I see stacks and stacks of boxes of phones and chargers that never worked that is…

        You need to be a con artist or nuts to produce something that doens’t work at all.

      • They haven’t done anything in ten years much less a year. It all started August 2006 with the ad in The Economist and has been going downhill ever since. I was working in a Japanese company at the time and I showed some of the engineers the Steorn claim and they just laughed. It was as if I showed them a child’s finger painting.

        • I know one of the guys who worked there when it was founded. I still know him today. At the start they were all very confident. I was told that they had broken the rules of physics and they would make billions. Really. They said that. They all paid themselves big salaries (from the investors) and gave themselves huge amounts of stock.

          This went on for years. He almost convinced me. Then he left after a few years. We met recently and I asked him about if it worked. He kind of smiled and went ‘well …. lets say we thought it did’. I asked him about it now – it’s still going. He just shrugged his shoulders.

          They know well and good it does not work.

          Have to hand it to them, they managed to convince so many people for so long and get so much money. Extraordinary.

          • The problem is Shaun had prevaricated so much from the very beginning as to cast suspicion on the veracity of them thinking it ever worked. He said in the beginning the tech had been vetted by eight universities yet never named them. Considering how much push back the claim produced you would think that at least one of the unnamed universities would have corroborated.

            Then there was the whole jury fiasco that dragged on for two years with a negative assessment. In fact, Steorn never gave the jurors anything of substance much less a working device. It was all inconclusive paper graphs and extrapolations, no real tech. Several on the jury really wanted to believe it worked so they were not entirely predisposed to be completely skeptical.

            Then there was the various developer’s clubs. Many enthusiastic believers who never received enough information to convince them and certainly none who could replicate the effect. And that dragged on for many years.

            I personally think it was a scam from day one. However, even giving them the benefit of the doubt that in the beginning they actually believed they had discovered free energy at the point where they realized it was bogus then the con was perpetuated to where it has ended up now. That means all of the testimonials by Steron people and those close to them were lies. All of the iterations of Orbo were lies. All of the statements by Shaun were lies.

          • This sounds plausible. I also ‘know someone’ connected with this whole clusterfuck, and I kind of suspect that most of us here ‘know someone’ and are basically following it for no other reason than this. Unfortunately the someone I know has no inside track, no juicy information, and direct access to whatever it was Steorn thought they had.

            The scenario probably went something like this. Steorn thought they discovered something. Events developed as JoBo outlined above. Then, after it became clear that they actually didn’t have something after all, what could they do? I think that here, mass self/induced delusion kicked in. How could serious engineers face up to admitting that they’d basically thrown everything they knew to be true under a bus? They’d never recover from it. Their reputations would be in tatters. Though they would still be good engineers, there would always be that stain, and to be a member of the tinfoil=hatted brigade of free energy believers is a stain no serious engineer or scientist wants.

            So they basically kept believing, or at least some of them kept believing and pulled the others along in their wake. Charismatic personalities came into play. Once the induced delusion was successfully installed, they could and did get away with anything – including the rather dramatic leap from a moving, rotating Orbo to a solid=state electret, something that merits a tinfoil hat of Eiffel Tower proportions. It’s easy for me to poke fun, but I’m just glad I’m not on the inside. It must be an awful state to be in. The more they dig themselves in, the worse they are making it for themselves.

            The prospect of enough money to buy their own islands and private armies certainly played its part in corrupting their souls.

    • I have to assume nobody in Ireland actually took them seriously due to the complete lack of Irish coverage. I mean, they have offices, they were storing their phony products, they had employees and a company, has NOBODY walked over there and requested an interview or questioned anyone at all?

      Other than internet stories and the original advert and a few alleged people testing the product (Who always disappear completely), there is nothing.

      • There were a few articles in The Irish Times and the Sunday Business Post. There is a video interview about a year ago done by the Irish Times that is on YouTube. They show a lot of the OCubes. It was a bit strange – they almost seemed to launch them. Then nothing.

        I wonder if they just sit around in the offices all day, drinking coffee and arranging meetings but not actually doing much. They used to do the odd video update but not any more.

        I know a couple of journalists. I must ask them if they would do an interview with them.

  3. So another month passes without even the faintest of whispers from the ever-devious Shaun McCarthy about his nonsensical over-unity devices. I wonder why? Surely Orbo’s shareholders must be phoning their solicitors by now? And McCarthy most definitely should be.

    So… this question was asked on his Facebook page on October 18: “Speaking of the office, what’s going on with Steorn? Both the Steorn and the Orbo site seem to be down…. can you give us an update?”

    And on October 19 this question was asked by another member: “Any news on the testing of the Orbo Power cell or has this ground to a halt?”

    Needless to say, McCarthy totally avoided addressing both of these legitimate questions, presumably because the fairy story that was Orbo has indeed come to a crashing conclusion; McCarthy’s absurd devices do not work—and could never have worked without defying the known laws of physics. And from the standpoint of McCarthy’s investors, at the very least they’ve confirmed the old proverb that a fool and his money are soon parted.

  4. I’ve just read through McCarthy’s ‘Orboman’ blog, and it’s more than obvious he’s increasing the blame game against his largest investor, PC, who McCarthy now accuses of white-anting the company. A few select paras from his nonsensical blog (in which he also talks about eagles stealing pizzas)…..

    “I was recently betrayed by someone I had worked with for 12 years. Someone that I trusted implicitly. The gent in question, Pat Corbett had been fundamental in the direction that Steorn took with Orbo almost from the day of its discovery… as time went by and (misplaced) trust grew, I got less and less hands on, finally to the point of just letting Pat do his thing. Worse, I fell under the Corbett spell, it took a long time, but it happened… Over twelve years every step the company took was a Pat step…The problem with this betrayal was that it did not just affect me, if Pat had got his way then Orbo would never make it outside of the lab… Pat is no longer in Steorn, the company is 10 times what it was, doing great things at last. Doing what we should have been doing 10 years ago.”

    It’s blatantly obvious that McCarthy is now retrospectively distancing himself from the Orbo fraud/disaster—probably with the threat of impending litigation now apparently looming—(McCarthy’s blog makes a vague reference to the first hint of legal action against the Steorn company). He’s also chosen as a whipping boy somebody who makes a broad target; his major investor and the person most likely to pocket megabucks from the scam. The logic being that get-rich-quick backers are invariably criminals.

    It’s also self-incriminating that McCarthy now says Steorn is doing what it should’ve been doing TEN years ago! Pardon me? Is he really saying that he’s going back to the drawing board, and starting over again? And what about the dozens of Orbo devices he’s already manufactured (as per his earlier photographic evidence) and the two working [sic] devices provided to each of the two women who were going to provide independent test reports on their efficiency—but who were never heard from again.

    And the final giveaway of his scam is that nowhere on his ‘Orboman’ blog does McCarthy mention—even in passing—the ongoing progress, if any, that’s been made with his absurd over-unity toys. I wonder why?

  5. Shaun fell under the Corbett spell? Yeah, the 20 million dollar spell. For the last ten years the face of Steorn has been Shaun. All of the claims were his as were all of the failures. His weaseling at this point is so disingenuous akin to the devil made him do it. Shaun makes it appear that he was under the spell of some Svengali. I do not believe for a second that Shaun can disavow his part in this fiasco. He was the front man, he made promises, he prevaricated, lied and misled scores of people all the while personally benefiting from the money Pat raised. The whole thing smacks of a sleazy con gone bad.

  6. It’s more than obvious that now, having finally exhausted the gamut of his Orbo fraud, McCarthy is pointing the finger at Pat Corbett in a pre-emptive strike to lessen any likely legal attacks. McCarthy’s motive is to spread the shit as evenly and as majorly as he can amongst his other partners in crime.

    And it’s laughable that amongst all his current blather, McCarthy makes absolutely no reference to the progress—or otherwise—of the Orbo. I’m guessing that soon he’ll be forced to admit publicly that the whole “project” is dead in the water. The fun will really start when the sources of Steorn’s $20 million start to ask for their money back. And good luck with that LOL.

  7. Seriously? What is this? Yet another distraction? Instead of actually showing their tech (!) now it’s going to be office politics and some sort of mud-slinging. Are we suppose to believe this.

    Sounds like to me yet another ruse to buy more time – ‘doing things we should have been doing ten years ago’. A clever way to frame it to investors to stump up more cash for something that does not work.

    Or it will all end up in the courts instead and they can use that as an excuse.

    I don’t believe a word of it.

    As the great Irish phrase goes ‘piss or get off the pot’ – show the (alleged) tech or stop bothering the world.

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