The New York Post has a report that will be a big deal in the NFL by the end of the day. According to the report, a lawsuit has been filed against the New York Giants for passing along “bogus” memorabilia as “game worn” authentic memorabilia. The lawsuit also names Eli Manning as also having participated in the “forgeries”.
The suit not only claims that some of the fake memorabilia was sold, but at least one piece of fake memorabilia is sitting in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
A helmet on display in the hallowed Canton, Ohio, gridiron museum — supposedly worn by Manning in Big Blue’s 2008 Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots — is just one of dozens of fake items the football superstar and his Giants cohorts have created to fool fans and make money from collectors over the years, the lawsuit alleges.
As for Eli Manning’s motivation to participate in scheme, the suit claims Manning took part “so he could hang on to his personal items.”
The lawsuit was brought by sports collector Eric Inselberg who has a little bit of history with the Giants. Back in 2011, Inselberg was indicted for “memorabilia fraud for selling bogus used sport jerseys from teams.” The charges were dropped in 2013 after Inselberg’s lawyer told the court that Giants’ employees lied to the grand jury in an attempt to cover their own scheme.
For a flavor of what the scheme entailed, here are a few details involving Giants equipment manager Joe Skiba and his brother Ed from court documents:
The new suit alleges that [ longtime locker-room manager Ed Wagner, along with Skiba and his brother, Ed, also an equipment manager, were told by team brass to lie to federal investigators and the grand jury about how much Giants sports gear they sold him over the years.
Among the many scathing claims that could tarnish Eli Manning’s squeaky-clean image is an alleged 2005 incident in which he allegedly asked Joe Skiba for an old, beat-up game helmet — and then took the headgear, signed it, and put it on the market, “falsely claiming that it was a helmet used during his 2004 rookie season.”
In 2008, the suit alleges, Joe Skiba took a different helmet and doctored it to appear as if Manning had worn it in that year’s Super Bowl. The fake headgear was ordered by a Giants vice president after he learned the real headgear had been sold — to Inselberg — and was later given to the Hall of Fame, the suit claims.
Two bogus helmets that Manning claimed to have worn in the 2012 Super Bowl, as well as jerseys and helmets from 2008, were also ordered to be doctored and then sold, according to the suit.