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Eli Manning/Giants Embroiled In 'Fake' Memorabilia Scheme Accusations

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  • Eli Manning/Giants Embroiled In 'Fake' Memorabilia Scheme Accusations

    ‘Proof’ Eli Manning was in on Giants memorabilia scheme

    NYPost
    A smoking-gun email from Eli Manning proves he quarterbacked a conspiracy to defraud collectors by pawning off phony game-worn gear as the real deal, according to court documents obtained by The Post.

    The two-time Super Bowl MVP, who has a contract with memorabilia dealer Steiner Sports, instructed a team manager to get the bogus equipment so it could be sold off as authentic, the papers say.

    “2 helmets that can pass as game used. That is it. Eli,” Manning wrote to equipment manager Joe Skiba from a BlackBerry on April 27, 2010, according to the documents.

    Less than 20 minutes later, Manning wrote to his marketing agent, Alan Zucker, who requested the helmets, saying: “Should be able to get them for tomorrow.”

    The emails were filed Tuesday in New Jersey’s Bergen County Superior Court by three memorabilia collectors who are pressing a civil racketeering suit against the Giants, Manning, Skiba, Steiner and others, including team co-owner and CEO John Mara.

    Related court papers allege that the emails prove “Manning was looking to give non-game-used helmets to Steiner to satisfy — fraudulently — his contractual obligation” with Steiner.

    The legal filing also alleges that Big Blue failed to produce the Manning-Skiba emails — between the athlete’s old-school AOL account and an official NFL account — even though “they claim to have no document destruction policy.”

    Manning turned over the incriminating emails last week, court papers say.

    “Since it appears that the Giants failed to preserve any emails between Manning and Joe Skiba, and the Giants are keeping Skiba on the payroll and paying his substantial legal bills, the above email exchange may be the only direct evidence that Manning knowingly gave fraudulent helmets to Steiner for sale to fans,” court papers say.

    On Thursday, plaintiffs’ lawyer Brian Brook said “it appears to be the case that someone at the Giants organization deleted” those emails, as well as another, previously disclosed 2008 exchange.

    In that exchange, Skiba allegedly admitted to plaintiff Eric Inselberg that Manning had asked him to create “BS” versions of a game-used helmet and jersey because Manning “didnt want to give up the real stuff.”

    “The first we have since Eric saved it on his AOL account and the second we have since Eli apparently saved it on his AOL account,” Brook said.

    “I do give Eli and his lawyers credit for not destroying evidence.”

    The suit — set for trial Sept. 25 — initially was filed in 2014 by Inselberg, who in 2011 was among six memorabilia dealers charged by the feds in Chicago with selling fake game-used jerseys.

    The other defendants all pleaded guilty, but Inselberg won dismissal of the indictment against him by arguing that witnesses — including Skiba and two other Giants employees — lied to the grand jury to cover up their own fake-memorabilia sales.

    Inselberg’s co-plaintiffs include diehard Giants fan Michael Jakab, who shelled out $4,300 for a helmet purportedly worn by Manning during the team’s 2007 Super Bowl season — but which he claims is really just a “$4,000 paperweight.”

    The final plaintiff is Sean Godown, a US Navy senior chief petty officer and Giants fan who sold the helmet to Jakab.

    Court papers say Godown began collecting game-used memorabilia between tours of duty and bought the helmet for $5,000 on eBay, but decided to sell it at a loss “after he began to question its authenticity.”

    In a statement, lawyers for the Giants said: “The email, taken out of context, was shared with the media by an unscrupulous memorabilia dealer and his counsel who for years has been seeking to leverage a big payday.”

    “The email predates any litigation, and there was no legal obligation to store it on the Giants server,” the statement added.

    “Eli Manning is well known for his integrity and this is just the latest misguided attempt to defame his character.”

    Steiner didn’t respond to requests for comment.


    ‘Game-worn’ Eli Manning helmet is a fake: suit

    NYPost
    A Nassau County hardhat and diehard Big Blue fan says New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning broke his heart — by peddling a phony “game-worn” helmet that turned out to be a “$4,000 paperweight,” a new lawsuit charges.

    Superfan Michael Jakab, 34, of Floral Park – who has a Giants tattoo on his arm and a team flag on his lawn — forked over $4,300 for a helmet Manning supposedly wore during the team’s 2007 Super Bowl season.

    But shortly after the December 2013 purchase from another collector, Jakab grew suspicious when he could not “photomatch” the helmet with any pictures of Manning over several seasons, the suit states.

    He also discovered “it was missing the swatches of Velcro that are supposed to be next to the earholes on all quarterback helmets” to hold radio receivers so QBs can hear their coaches, according to the suit, filed by Attorney Brian Brook, who had also filed a similar suit on behalf of another fan earlier this year.

    “I knew something was wrong when it didn’t have the Velcro inside,” Jakab told The Post Tuesday.

    “Also, the number of marks on it, there are a lot, just too many scratches. I tried to match it to three seasons worth of photos. There are a hundred images of Eli in every game and I went through every one. I couldn’t match to one of them,” Jakab said.

    The lawsuit, filed July 25 in New Jersey Superior Court in Hackensack, also names the team, equipment manager Joe Skiba and Steiner Sports as co-defendants.

    Like the earlier suit – which remains pending in federal court in New Jersey – it claims that Manning and Skiba conspired to sell the phoney merchandise to Steiner Sports, which then knowingly passed it along to unsuspecting fans.

    That suit, filed by Brook in January on behalf of collector Eric Inselberg, charged that the Giants and Steiner sold dozens of fake items – including a Manning helmet on display in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    The Giants have vigorously denied the allegations.

    “We typically do not comment on pending litigation. However, in this instance, we do think it’s important to note that this suit is a publicity stunt by Eric Inselberg’s attorney, who had previously filed a groundless lawsuit which we have moved to dismiss,” spokesman Pat Hanlon told The Post Tuesday.

    “We are confident that press coverage will be the most they achieve from their efforts, and we will defend this case vigorously to conclusion.”

    But Jakab insists he was conned when he bought the helmet from a collector, who had bought it from another fan who originally purchased it from Steiner.

    “Everyone trusts Steiner and I did. I got a top of the line [helmet], signed by Eli, with all the paperwork and the tamper proof seal, and I still got duped. Are these bulls–t helmets? Yes, I got a bulls–t helmet,” he fumed.

    “To fans, I would say do your homework. Compare game-worn gear to the photos.“

    He said he will always be a Giants fan, but Eli would be a different story if it comes out in court that he was in on the scam.

    “If it turned out that dumbfounded look on his face is just a snake behind the blinds, I’d feel horrible and hope he got sacked in every game this season,” Jakab said.

    His lawsuit seeks three times the $4,300 Jakab paid for the helmet, legal fees and “further relief as the Court may deem just and proper.”

    A rep for Steiner did not return a call for comment.

  • #2
    Off to the penalty box.
    They should just make these guys change clothes every possession so they have plenty of "used" stuff to sell.
    Want to learn everything about the Texans cap? There is no better site out there than this one. Thanks Troy. Amazing work buddy!
    TexansCap.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Eli Manning denies memorabilia scam allegations

      NFL
      Speaking to reporters Thursday, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning vehemently denied allegations of his involvement in a football memorabilia scam.

      "I've never done what I've been accused of doing," said Manning, addressing the allegations publicly for the first time. "I have no reason nor have I ever had a reason to do anything of that nature. I've done nothing wrong and I have nothing to hide. I know when this is all done everybody will see this the same way."

      Manning's response comes after the New York Post published an excerpt from an email that allegedly shows the former Super Bowl MVP instructing an equipment manager to obtain gear that could be passed off as authentic game-used memorabilia. Another email excerpt obtained by the Post allegedly shows Manning communicating with a marketing agent about the bogus items.

      According to the Post, the emails were filed in New Jersey's Bergen County Superior Court by three memorabilia collectors who are pursuing a civil lawsuit against the quarterback.

      The two-time Super Bowl winner has a contract with Steiner Sports, a prominent sports memorabilia seller, but Manning said he would have no financial incentive by trying to pass along equipment that wasn't authentic. Manning declined to comment extensively on the released content of the emails, saying only the chain of messages were "taken out of context and there's some other filings that have gone on recently that will clear up a lot of those things."

      "I sign autographs like a lot of people do," Manning said. "I owed Steiner jerseys -- I did not receive any benefits from that and that was just part of my agreement, but I never personally sold or made any money off a jersey or helmet."

      Manning said he has heard "nothing from the NFL" regarding the matter. He added that the allegations, which first surfaced more than three years ago, have been tolling on him.

      "I've been dealing with it for a long time," Manning said. "Just more angry than anything about having to deal with it and knowing that I've done nothing wrong and still being attacked.

      "It'll all work out. I think when it all does I'll be clear of this and everybody will see I've done nothing wrong."

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