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Response to Allegations

June 18 2006 at 10:44 PM
  (Login dallenmastro)

First let me state that we at Mastro Auctions take very seriously the claims made in the New York Daily News article. Good customers/friends of ours like Richard Masson and Jay Miller understand just how important integrity is when in comes to conducting auctions both for my firm and for me personally. I appreciate their friendship and kind comments.

I am very disappointed but not surprised that the NYDN would run a story like this when their primary source was "unnamed" and the primary allegations were "unsubstantiated".

There is not much for me to say in response except that to my knowledge we are not under investigation and as a firm we have responded to every official inquiry that has come to us regarding Mr. Noe and have not held anything back. If more inquiries come our way, again we will be completely forthright in complying.

Edited to Add: I will not be responding to inquiries on this forum..feel free to contact me at my office at 630-472-1200 and I would be happy to respond to any questions directly.

Regards,

Doug Allen
President
Mastro Auctions, inc.



    
This message has been edited by dallenmastro on Jun 18, 2006 11:12 PM


 
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AuthorReply


(Login slidekellyslide)
Network 54 Moderator

Re: Response to Allegations

June 18 2006, 11:00 PM 

This is the same reporter is it not who made claims about the DiMaggio streak bat about 1 1/2 years ago? The same reporter who was invited to come check the evidence in person and declined?...the same reporter who never contacted me or anyone else who went to that meeting to review the evidence?

The same reporter who has a bias against Mastronet?

'Nuff Said!

 
 


(Login calvindog)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 18 2006, 11:04 PM 

Doug, thanks for the "response." I had a couple of questions if I may. I don't mean to be a pain in the ass or even remotely infringe upon your defense to these allegations, but since you talked to the reporter I thought you might want to allay some concerns here. If you're unable, I obviously understand.

First, you claim that Mastro is not under investigation but it would appear from the article and the quotes that Mastro is believed, by both the Ohio prosecutor and the liquidator that Mastro is believed to have done something wrong. Are those quotes incorrect? Or are you just being literally correct about the fact that the investigation is on its way but not currently ongoing?

Second, you note that the story's primary source is "unsubstantiated" and "unnamed." And you used quotes around those words. Are you quoting from the article? If not, where do those quotes come from? Who has claimed that the source is "unsubstantiated?"

The Ohio prosecutor apparently told the NY Daily News that they discovered "questionable practices that resulted in inflated prices and auction house commissions." Do you have any idea as to what they are talking about? Have you been informed as to what the purported questionable practices are that they are referring to?

Finally, do you have any clue why the State of Ohio would be going after you guys?

Thanks in advance for any light you can shed here.



 
 
Harry Wallace (HW)
(Login HAW1918)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 18 2006, 11:17 PM 

Nearly every O'Keefe article that I read in the paper stirs up some sort of controversy.

I believe that he is the same guy who wrote the article on the T206 Wagner, the DiMaggio bat and some stolen baseballs that were auctioned off. I also believe that he was on one of the HBO shows that documented problems in the autograph industry.

 
 


(Login slidekellyslide)
Network 54 Moderator

Re: Response to Allegations

June 18 2006, 11:27 PM 

Yeah, I know it's him. Did he ever write a retraction on the DiMaggio bat?

Nope...didn't think so.

 
 

(Login murcerfan)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 19 2006, 12:19 AM 

sounds like time for a libel suit on this "news source"

 
 


(Login calvindog)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 19 2006, 7:13 AM 

It can't be a libel case. You guys are blaming the newspaper when all they are doing is reporting what a prosecutor is telling them. Why are you guys so quick to believe the allegations against Noe but disbelieve those against Mastro - when in fact the allegations are made by the same prosecutor? I will say, however, that it is unusual for a prosecutor to come out and discuss allegations against a company but also apparently admit that it's investigation against said company are on the "back burner."

 
 


(Login slidekellyslide)
Network 54 Moderator

Re: Response to Allegations

June 19 2006, 10:51 AM 

Well for one reason I already know for certain that Michael O'Keefe does not care about objectivity. That's a fact.

 
 
Richard Masson
(Login Yomass)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 19 2006, 11:44 AM 

I read the article multiple times to try to decipher the facts. It is very unclear. Noe convinced the state to invest $50 million in two coin investment partnerships. Who managed them? Did Noe receive a commission? Did Noe monitor or oversee the investments? Was he paid?

Separately, Noe appears to have a memorabilia/collectibles business and buys stuff from Mastro. Mastro doesn't sell many coins, if any. Why are they even mentioned in the article? Because Noe overpaid for a case of Ted Williams baseballs? I don't think the reporter understands the story he is reporting.

I also don't think Mastro has an obligation to verify the good character of their bidders or the "source" of any amounts spent in their auctions. The reporter is taking a gatuitous swipe at them.



 
 


(Login ItsOnlyGil)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 19 2006, 12:00 PM 

Let us not confuse the NY Daily News with the NY Times. The former relys more heavily, in my opinion, on sensationalism to secure their market share, while the latter often engages in research prior to drawing conclusions or making innuendos.

The politics of each is an issue seperate from their approach to reporting.

 
 

warshawlaw
(Login boxingcardman)

Dan

June 19 2006, 12:06 PM 

Given Judith Miller and the plaigiarism scandals that have plagued the Times, you might want to rethink that statement.

 
 

jeff lichtman
(Login calvindog)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 19 2006, 12:10 PM 

Richard, again, I don't think there is any connection between Noe's purported fraud and Mastro other than the fact that Mastro's items were purchased by Noe. What the prosecutor seems to be saying, at least via the News article, is that the investigation of Noe's Mastro purchases has led them to believe that Mastro engaged in shill bidding and other fraudulent activities.

 
 

(Login OldJudge)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 19 2006, 12:25 PM 

Many years ago Tom Paxton sung a song called Daily News. The song's refrain was:

Daily News, daily blues
Pick up a copy any time you choose
Seven little pennies in the newsboy's hand
And you ride right along to never, never land

Good to see that only the price has changed

 
 


(Login slidekellyslide)
Network 54 Moderator

Re: Response to Allegations

June 19 2006, 12:39 PM 

Adam, I didn't make the comparison between the Times and the Daily News.

 
 
Corey R. Shanus
(Login benjulmag)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 19 2006, 12:43 PM 

I have had many dealings with Mastro Auctions over the years, and I have always been satisfied with the process and the service I received. There have been a number of instances where I have left max bids and won the item at a price below my max bid. I think it would be very wrong and very unfair to pass judgment based solely on unproven allegations reported in a newspaper, especially in the instance of an auction house with such a stellar reputation. Unless and until such allegations are prosecuted and proven, Mastro Auctions in my book is entitled to the presumption of innocence that any American individual or entity is entitled to receive.

 
 

(Login JudgeDred2)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 19 2006, 1:33 PM 

I would like to also bring up another point! I've left plenty of bids where my max was not only exceeded but exceeded by several higher bids and sometimes in the thousands of dollars!!! Has that ever happened to anyone else?

 
 


(Login Vargha)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 19 2006, 1:41 PM 

I would like to also bring up another point! I've left plenty of bids where my max was not only exceeded but exceeded by several higher bids and sometimes in the thousands of dollars!!! Has that ever happened to anyone else?

Unfortunately, far too often.

DavidVargha@hotmail.com

 
 
Cobby33
(Login Cobby33)

Link

June 19 2006, 1:47 PM 

Does anybody have a link to this article? Sorry if it's already been provided. Thanks.

 
 
DJ
(Login OJ-Collector)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 19 2006, 2:14 PM 


 
 

(Login JudgeDred2)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 19 2006, 3:27 PM 

I'll be honest with everybody. I just read that article and I don't understand the allegations. Somebody made a few really bad decisions in investing in collectibles as it is related to public funds. I suggest everyone read the article. It's a little humorous in the context of the use of (or lack of) common sense.

 
 
Cobby33
(Login Cobby33)

Thanks, DJ and

June 19 2006, 6:53 PM 

Fred, agreed.

Although I was very curious about what the article had to say, it mentioned nothing concrete. I sure hope the DA's office has a lot more teeth in the information it allegedly has, if it plans on going forward.

I think everyone is leery of shill bidding and other than making such a suggestion, the article gave me, as a Mastro "client," nothing to be concerned with.

We'll see where, if anywhere, this goes and if this "investigation" does uncover something, I'm all ears.

 
 
DJ
(Login OJ-Collector)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 19 2006, 9:16 PM 

Amen! When I posted the link, I was prepared to make my opinion on this but I didn't know exactly what my opinion would be in this matter. I had to re-read it. Does any of this make sense?

What does Mastro have to do with price of tea in China in this instance? This is an article pockmarked with nonsense over and over and over again. There must be a motive here between the author of the piece and his dislike for the giant auction house.

It looks for something, brings up points...but goes nowhere. Very amusing.

DJ

 
 
Mark
(Login marcus0202)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 19 2006, 10:35 PM 

I understand the article. My take is that accusing Mastro of shilling was a natural, knee-jerk reaction to finding out the taxpayers' money was misappropriated. By that I mean the state of Ohio has recently learned that tens of millions of dollars has been wrongfully invested in coins, beanie babies and penny baseball cards.

The state will naturally want an accounting as to exactly how that money was spent. Since the money was spent at an auction house, the state will naturally raise the issue of shilling (per Leon, auction houses are routinely accused of this practice). If the money had been spent on sports bets, I'm sure the prosecutor would investigate to make sure the bets weren't rigged. I expect the prosecutor here will have the power to require Mastro to reveal the names of the underbidders and those underbidders will be contacted, so the truth should prevail.

 
 


(Premier Login leonl)
Forum Owner

Mark

June 19 2006, 10:43 PM 

Are you insinuating that you have not read on the board, or other places, about allegations against auction houses?

 
 


(Login calvindog)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 20 2006, 7:17 AM 

I have to say that it's somewhat humerous to read the responses of board members falling over themselves claiming that the article does nothing to impugn Mastro's credibility. Again, the writer is simply reporting what the prosecutor in Ohio and his auditor are saying: that they believe that Mastro engaged in shill bidding based upon their review of documents received from their investigation of Noe's bidding on Mastro items. How does the reporting of this allegation somehow impact on the News's credibility? How can the reporter at this stage possibly substantiate the prosecutor's allegation when the reporter doesn't have access to Mastro's bidding records? In fact, the reporter's story has a great source for the allegation - the investigator and prosecutor who made the allegation. Those are the 'named' sources. You should see how many times newspapers (including the Daily News) report much more serious allegations and attribute the sources to unnamed "law enforcement sources." As a defense lawyer, it drives me crazy. In this case, however, the very people that built the case against the republican fundraiser are now claiming that Mastro engaged in shill bidding. Don't blame the reporter for putting this in his article as his source is named and in a position to know if shill bidding occurred. That being said, prosecutors are well known to lie about their allegations for any number of reasons (see Mike Nifong, Durham County, NC DA).

 
 


(Login B.C.Daniels)

can someone post the article here?

June 20 2006, 1:50 PM 

for us non-subscribers to the liberal newspaper!


 
 

(Login Peter_Spaeth)

text of article

June 20 2006, 3:01 PM 

It's a flip of 'coin' probe

Investigators have eye on sports auction
giant in Ohio collector scandal

BY MICHAEL O'KEEFFE
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER

Ohio was the decisive battleground in the 2004 election, and President Bush might have been sent back to his Texas ranch if it hadn't been for coin dealer Tom Noe, the Bush-Cheney campaign chairman in northwest Ohio who raised more than $100,000 for the president's re-election bid.

Noe was a powerful political insider for many years, thanks to the mountains of money he raised for Republican candidates in Ohio and elsewhere. Noe's political connections eventually led to his downfall: He convinced Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation officials to give him $50 million to invest in two rare coin funds. Most publicly held funds shun investments like that as too risky, but Noe argued he could get a better return than traditional stocks and bonds. Instead, according to officials, he used some of the funds to further his political network and bankroll his lavish lifestyle.


Authorities launched an investigation after the Toledo Blade published a series of stories about Noe and the coin funds last year, and state auditor Betty Montgomery reported that more than $13 million is missing from the funds. Republican pols — including Bush, Ohio Gov. Bob Taft and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger — donated Noe's contributions to their campaigns to Ohio charities and rushed to distance themselves from their now-tainted ally.

Now the scandal has even spread to the world of sports memorabilia: Ohio investigators say Mastro Auctions, the world's largest sports auction house, may have played a role in what is being called "Coingate." Investigators who searched Noe's Vintage Coins and Collectibles in Maumee, Ohio, last year found a cache of collectibles — everything from Beanie Babies to 19th-century political banners to Bob Gibson-signed baseballs — worth an estimated $3.5 million. Investigators believe the GOP insider purchased most of the collectibles with state money; the largest source was Mastro Auctions, the Burr Ridge, Ill., company that until recently was known as Mastronet.

Investigators grew increasingly suspicious as they examined scores of transactions between Noe and the Illinois memorabilia company, according to Lucas County, Ohio, prosecutor John Weglian, and William Brandt, president of Development Specialists, Inc., the company hired by Ohio to liquidate the coin investment. Mastro Auctions, Weglian and Brandt say, may have engaged in shill bidding and other questionable practices that resulted in inflated prices and auction house commissions.

"It was something that makes your sense of 'something's not right here' stand up," Weglian says.

Shill bidding works when an auction house knows the maximum price a bidder will pay for an item; if the bidding falls short, the auction house enters dummy bids to drive up the price. Mastro Auctions president Doug Allen says Noe was a "good customer" but he denies the company did anything inappropriate. "There was no shill bidding that went on," Allen says.

Ohio Auditor Montgomery says Mastro Auctions sold at least $1.3 million worth of memorabilia to Noe's two funds. Most of the seized collectibles are political items, but Noe also won numerous sports lots, including Hall of Fame plaques purchased for $16,541, a Mickey Mantle bat ($14,014), a collection of 10,000 baseball cards ($8,603), 100 balls signed by Ted Williams ($29,078) and 12 Walter Payton-signed footballs ($4,016). The memorabilia is currently being held at an Ohio state police facility as evidence and will be sold after Noe's trial.

Authorities are looking into whether Noe paid inflated prices for the items he purchased through Mastro Auctions, but they don't know if the Republican fund-raiser profited from the deals. "What we do know," says Brandt, "is that there are a lot of transactions with unexplained costs, and the real victims are the injured workers and taxpayers of Ohio."

Weglian says his office will turn its focus on Mastro Auctions after Noe's state court trial in October. Lucas County prosecutors will present a complex case against Noe that will require at least four weeks and more than 100 witnesses. Until that case is resolved, Mastro Auctions will remain on a back burner.

Noe has pleaded not guilty to the charges, but last month he pleaded guilty in federal court to illegally funneling money to the Bush campaign and faces up to two years in prison.

The case took a weird twist a few months ago when Allen called Brandt to express interest in selling the seized collectibles for the state. Brandt says Allen's pitch boiled down to this: Mastro Auctions should be a natural choice to sell the sports and political memorabilia because we're familiar with it — after all, we've sold it once already.

"I told him, 'We have these problems we want to talk to you about,'" Brandt says. "Allen indicated he had a different point of view and he would get back to me. I haven't heard from him since."

Allen says Mastro Auctions is not ducking anybody. Ohio authorities have asked for documents and other information, and Mastro Auctions has complied with every request. "If they have concerns and they provide us with requests for information, we will comply," he says.

Brandt, hired by Ohio to recover and liquidate the assets of Noe's coin funds, says his firm will also start seeking more information from Mastro after Noe's criminal case is resolved.

Companies that are uncooperative could face stiff penalties, Brandt says. Authorities believe Noe used transactions with the Spectrum Fund, a rare coin fund he established with a Spanish-owned company called The Escala Group, as a way to cover up his alleged theft. In March, Escala agreed to pay Ohio $7.5 million to "neutralize" concerns about its relationship with Noe.

Several other memorabilia dealers and auction houses also sold pieces that were found in Noe's offices, including Heritage-Slater Americana, Early American History Auctions and Presidential Coin and Antique Co. Brandt says transactions between Noe and Heritage-Slater concern him, too, but Heritage-Slater director Tom Slater says his company never sold anything to Noe's coin funds.

"These were all routine purchases," Slater says. "He purchased things from us for his own collection."

A source subpoenaed by Ohio authorities says Noe had a secret account with Mastro Auctions, and the only person at Mastro Auctions allowed to conduct transactions with Noe was chief executive officer Bill Mastro. "Everything about it was very odd," says the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Allen, however, says it is not unusual for certain customers to deal solely with him or Bill Mastro.

"It is very common — I can think of 50 customers off the top of my head right now — who only deal with me or only deal with Bill. We work with them to build our accounts. I handle certain customers who either don't want to bid on the Internet or want some hand-holding when it comes to the auction process. That is not unusual in the auction business."

Mastro's brother, Randy, was a deputy mayor during the Rudy Giuliani administration and later represented Madison Square Garden in its successful fight to keep the Jets from building the West Side Stadium. But Mastro and Allen have not contributed significant sums of money to political campaigns, according to OpenSecrets.org, the Web site run by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The source says that while Bill Mastro may be impressed with powerful people, he's not that interested in politics. "Money," the source says, "is the thing that motivates Bill."

with Sarah Lem


Originally published on June 17, 2006



 
 
Mark
(Login marcus0202)

Leon

June 20 2006, 3:43 PM 

Yes, I relied on your statement that many or most auction houses have been accused of shilling their auctions since it sounded plausible, but I haven't read up on the topic.

Of course I've heard of seller shilling which is impossible for an auction house to police, but here Mastro is itself accused of shilling.

I confess I have never read illegal shilling accusations with respect to the other major card houses I bid with: REA, Lelands, Goodwins, 19thCenturyOnly, Mile High, Lew Lipset, Barry Sloate, Hunt, Heritege, Andy Madec, Memory Lane, Huggins and Scott, Ryan Christoff, Prestige Collectibles and/or Verkman. Even with eBay, I have never heard of eBay itself shilling its own auctions. Am I missing significant accusations against any of these auction houses? Thanks.

 
 


(Premier Login leonl)
Forum Owner

Mark

June 20 2006, 4:23 PM 

http://www.network54.com/Forum/153652/message/1145995766/So+who%27s+going+to+pony+up+for+Pete+Hill-


http://www.network54.com/Forum/153652/message/1067495443/

and there are many many more if you search...I distinctly remember another thread where Hal thought that he might have been shilled in an auction but the buyer (or underbidder I forget) came on the board and said he was the culprit. I believe if I took the time I could find many more threads about it....

 
 

(Login marcus0202)

Leon

June 20 2006, 4:51 PM 

Thanks Leon, but I don't think Ryan was accused of having shilled his own auction. Can he even see people's max bids using Seth's software?

Anyhow, I'm not sure why we're debating this - you have followed the shilling accusations more closely than I have, so I relied on your observation.

 
 


(Login boxingcardman)

a few items

June 20 2006, 5:21 PM 

I've dealt with the writer of the article (Michael O'Keefe) and have found him to be very responsible in following up his leads and trying to get all points of the story clear. The article clearly names the people making the allegations and reports them as allegations, not as facts. It also reports Mastro's denials. I see no evidence of bias here and I think the criticisms of the writer are wholly inaccurate.

It seems to me that we don't have the facts and that about all we can conclude at this time is that maybe there will be an investigation of Mastro and maybe there won't.

What little experience I have with liquidators would not lead me to consider them to be above threatening actions in order to shake restitution out of vendors. You might want to consider that motive. You also might want to consider the Spitzer motive; the investigator may want/need to make a name for himself in order to run for higher office. Doesn't mean Mastro is innocent; just don't assume that every investigator's comments are motivated by purely selfless considerations. The mere threat of an investigation is so dire for a business where trust is key that it could result in a settlement with a non-admission of liability just to put it to bed.


 
 

Jeff Lichtman
(Login calvindog)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 20 2006, 5:31 PM 

Adam, your points are well taken; however, I can't imagine that any investigation of Mastro would be seen by anyone as a possible boon to their careers. After all, Bill Mastro is not Martha Stewart. Any investigation of Mastro would get little to no national publicity. In short, other than us and other memorabilia bidders, no one cares about Mastro. If Bill Mastro were indicted and convicted, the story would merit page 21 in a NY paper .... and the story would die after one day.

 
 


(Login slidekellyslide)
Network 54 Moderator

Re: Response to Allegations

June 20 2006, 6:18 PM 

Adam, did Mr O'Keefe ever print a retraction about the DiMaggio streak bat? Both he and your client Robert Plancich were invited to come see the evidence for themselves and both turned down the chance. Why? The evidence was very strongly in favor of the bat being legitimate, and as it turned out things that Mr Plancich had claimed turned out to be completely false. O'Keefe has run many stories regarding the memorabilia industry and IMO fancies himself as a crusader. He was wrong about the DiMaggio bat, and I believe he has a bias against Mastro for that very reason.

Oh and you never apologized to me for attributing somebody else's comment in this thread to me.


 
 


(Login boxingcardman)

oh good heavens, dan

June 20 2006, 7:51 PM 

Everyone who hasn't already figured it out, I did not mean Dan. Sorry.

I can't speak for the others, but I didn't go to see the bat info because I did not have the time or the money to take 2-3 days from my practice w/o compensation. I asked for copies of the information and was refused. Whether or not the bat is what it was initially claimed to be is an old debate on a non-card matter and I'm not going to rehash it, but since you bring it up, I think O'Keefe's articles were right on the money in terms of reporting the issues from both sides of what was a debatable issue for the biggest experts in the area of equipment collecting. I hate to drop names, but here is a portion of one of the articles: "Marshall Fogel, a prominent collector from Denver, says it all comes down to how you interpret the data: "There's no question it's debatable. It just depends on what side you want to fall on it. Louisville Slugger made the choice to believe the bat is real," says Fogel."



 
 


(Login calvindog)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 20 2006, 8:16 PM 

Dan, so your position is that the News writer has a beef against Mastro and that is why he wrote an article quoting a named law enforcement official claiming that Mastro is engaged in shill bidding? Do you think that the prosecutor has a beef against Mastro as well?

All of this innuendo suggests that perhaps Mastro has a libel claim against both the prosecutor and the Daily News. However, I'd bet a considerable sum of money that the lawyers hired by Mastro in connection with this investigation are of the criminal sort and not the First Amendment.

 
 


(Login slidekellyslide)
Network 54 Moderator

Re: Response to Allegations

June 20 2006, 10:53 PM 

I think O'Keefe got word that Mastro was being investigated and jumped into it....I'm not saying that he's trying to frame them or anything like that. I just don't think he can be an unbiased reporter when it comes to Mastronet.

It's like Rush Limbaugh reporting from the Democratic National Convention.

 
 


(Login slidekellyslide)
Network 54 Moderator

Re: Response to Allegations

June 20 2006, 11:02 PM 

And for the record Adam if I attribute something to you that you didn't say you will get an apology from me and a correction. As for the whole DiMaggio bat thing it's old news and I understand why you couldn't be there, but hey O'Keefe made it his business and he still refused to show up and look at the evidence. I also sent all of the evidence to Plancich, but he never told me whether or not if he showed it to you.

PS. Did you ever ask Marshall Fogel which side he falls on when it comes to the bat?

 
 


(Login calvindog)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 20 2006, 11:03 PM 

Dan, the reporter interviewed the DA in Ohio and let Doug Allen respond to his heart's delight. How does that make the reporter unbiased? Do you really think that Mastronet inspires global hatred the way Microsoft does?

 
 


(Login slidekellyslide)
Network 54 Moderator

Re: Response to Allegations

June 20 2006, 11:11 PM 

Have you ever followed O'Keefe's stories? He has a hard on for the memorabilia industry. I can understand wanting to see it cleaned up and it definitely needed that -and still does, but I have firsthand knowledge that he ignored evidence that was contrary to his original claims.

I have very little trust in the media. When the Nebraska football team was having a lot of players running afoul of the law in the early-mid 1990's I watched nearly every night how ESPN got something wrong and never ever retracted....including reporting that Riley Washington was wanted for MURDER. The press has gotten lazy....you can't even trust Bob Woodward anymore.

So you're going to have to excuse me if I think that Mr O'Keefe who has not been fair in the past is somehow being fair this time when it concerns Mastro.

 
 


(Login calvindog)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 20 2006, 11:14 PM 

Dan, I suspect you'll find that the national media has more scrutiny placed upon it than mid-level auction houses.

 
 


(Login B.C.Daniels)

hey Jeff~

June 20 2006, 11:21 PM 

got an e-mail address?

cardknowledge@earthlink.net


 
 


(Login slidekellyslide)
Network 54 Moderator

Re: Response to Allegations

June 20 2006, 11:37 PM 

The national media is unresponsive to scrutiny and criticism.

 
 


(Login calvindog)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 21 2006, 3:27 AM 

Dan, you're probably right. The News writer probably spends his days and nights dreaming up ways to screw over that big, bad monolith of a company, Mastronet, the company responsible for poisoning our children, controlling prices and ruining our neighborhoods. He enlisted a District Attorney's Office in Ohio to fabricate a criminal probe of shill bidding, caused an innocent Republican fundraiser to be framed, all in order to take down Mastronet in the eyes of the public...and he did this all, risked his career, risked the career of the prosecutor, all to get an article put on page 87 of his paper, which will only be about the 224th most significant article of that one day's paper. Oh, and all of this occurred on the grassy knoll with Oliver Stone filming nearby.

 
 


(Login ItsOnlyGil)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 21 2006, 7:45 AM 

Well Adam, I surely do not wish to be cast in a role which requires me to defend the actions of any newspaper. But really, I do not believe that the activities of a single or even several employees of the NY Times can have much impact on the credibility which that paper has generated in its 150+ year history.

My post:

Let us not confuse the NY Daily News with the NY Times. The former relys more heavily, in my opinion, on sensationalism to secure their market share, while the latter often engages in research prior to drawing conclusions or making innuendos.

The politics of each is an issue seperate from their approach to reporting.



warshawlaw
(Login boxingcardman) Dan June 19 2006, 12:06 PM

Given Judith Miller and the plaigiarism scandals that have plagued the Times, you might want to rethink that statement.

***********************************************************


Now Adam, I far from know the whole story here. But isn't it true that J. Miller was jailed for refusing to divulge the identity of a confidential informant, when ordered to do so. Not for copying someone elses work. I hardly think that a reporter copying something equates to a "scandal which plagues" a newspaper. However, gossip mongering tabloids may grasp on to anything and attempt to blow it out of proportion.

I repeat: Recognition of the players enhances the understanding of the game.



 
 


(Login calvindog)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 21 2006, 7:53 AM 

Gil, I think Adam meant to type "Jayson Blair."

 
 

David Vargha
(Login Vargha)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 21 2006, 8:10 AM 

Today's journalist is extremely lazy by nature. Once a story "hits the wire", most of the electronic and print media jump on it without ever bothering to determine the veracity or consider the source. Thus, it becomes "gospel".

As to the reporter's alleged biases, I don't know anything about him, but all people have biases. Geez, just read a thread or two here about grading vs. raw or PSA vs. SGC. It doesn't have to be the current straw man of the day (such as big, bad oil) to receive quite a load of individual venom and vitriol. So to simply dismiss bias outright as a possible root cause is at best naive and at worst disingenuous.

DavidVargha@hotmail.com

 
 


(Login ItsOnlyGil)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 21 2006, 8:53 AM 

Jayson Blair - I did not know about this. Now I feel so much more enlightened. A bombshell, a melodrama, a scandal, the shooting down of a rising star! All because of (the dreaded) copying. Come on, Santa smokes! Reportedly, a little girl saw smoke from his pipe encircling his head like a wreath. Or maybe it wasn't "reportedly". Maybe it really was written somewhere. In any case, sources say that children are routinely exposed to second hand smoke by a villan from the north. And worse - at Christmastime!


NEW YORK (CNN) -- The New York Times Thursday announced the resignations of its two top editors -- the latest bombshell in a journalistic melodrama since a rising star reporter was forced to resign for plagiarism.

Executive Editor Howell Raines and Managing Editor Gerald Boyd had been particularly criticized for their roles in the scandal surrounding the reporting of 27-year-old Jayson Blair, who quit the paper May 1.

Blair resigned after a Texas newspaper questioned whether he had plagiarized a story about the family of missing U.S. soldier Jessica Lynch ...

 
 

warshawlaw
(Login boxingcardman)

No, I meant both; there are two separate scandals

June 21 2006, 8:54 AM 

Blair ripped off other peoples' stuff. Miller reported made up stuff without any effort at accuracy.

 
 


(Login calvindog)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 21 2006, 10:04 AM 

David, of course all people have biases. So do presidents of auction houses being accused of shill bidding. Whose bias do you suspect is greater? The reporter from a NY paper who wrote a non-descript article appearing on page 87 of his paper or the president of the auction house who has everything to lose if shill bidding is uncovered?

 
 


(Login slidekellyslide)
Network 54 Moderator

Re: Response to Allegations

June 21 2006, 10:28 AM 

Jeff, you are reading way more into my posts than is there. Why is that? If you read carefully, and Reading Is Fundamental ($1 RIF) I said exactly this only a few posts up: "I think O'Keefe got word that Mastro was being investigated and jumped into it....I'm not saying that he's trying to frame them or anything like that. I just don't think he can be an unbiased reporter when it comes to Mastronet." That is all I am saying.

edited to remove content offensive to Mr Lichtman.

 
 


(Login calvindog)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 21 2006, 11:28 AM 

Hey Dan, is that really necessary? You demand an apology from Adam for making an honest mistake about believing someone else's post is yours - and then you have the balls to type that?

As for your claim that "I think O'Keefe got word that Mastro was being investigated and jumped into it," I think you'll find that such a mechanism is called r e p o r t i n g.

Regarding the issue of media fairness, actually I think they've been more than fair to me.

And lastly, I would ask that if you have anything to say to me that references anything other than baseball cards that you do so privately via email. Perhaps I was foolish to think that posters here would be capable of not airing my non-vintage baseball card life on the internet for all to see.






 
 


(Login slidekellyslide)
Network 54 Moderator

Re: Response to Allegations

June 21 2006, 11:58 AM 

Jeff, perhaps you shouldn't have made it personal by insinuating that I was a conpiracy theorist. Why not address the issue that you completely ignored what I wrote earlier and instead made things up?


 
 


(Login calvindog)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 21 2006, 12:28 PM 

Dan, with all respect, you are a conspiracy theorist when it comes to this article. And that was a smart editing job I should add. Let's just agree to disagree, alright?

 
 
E, Daniel
(Login flinchfree)

Gotta stick a toe in........................

June 21 2006, 12:36 PM 

Oooh, the water's warm.

The story line itself of possible impropriety by an important auction house is intriguing enough, but not nearly so interesting as the by-play between Jeff and Dan.

For my penny, I would say that I understand Dan's feelings more easily.
I would guess that he has had only positive dealings with Mastro, enjoys the hobby, feels that the hobby's standing is better off for the class and style of vendor auction houses such as Mastro, and would like to believe that he can participate without any associated grimey criminal behaviour mucking with his enjoyed pastime.

Jeff, I'm not exactly too sure of your interests.......your desire to "plug" and "push" the idea of possible criminal activity as entirely plausible could only really be coming from the opposite place to Dan's. Somehow, sowing the seeds of doubt and mistrust of Mastros actions in the hobby is validated to you - by I guess the desire for collectors to not be "blinded" to some possible home truths.....
I can't however see, that anyone's enjoyment of this hobby can be helped by such conjecture and promulgating minus the public airing of cold hard facts and subsequent charges. Can any of us go now, and happily bid on items at said auction houses and not be slightly queasy with the concerns aired and harped upon in the story and by yourself?

Me, I'm going to treat the issue as a complete unknown, and enjoy my hobby as best my wallet can manage.
Oh, and I'll take Mastro's cataglog, merchandise, and insane fees, over anyone elses in the industry right now, though they all get my due fawning and glassy eyed admiration!

Daniel

 
 


(Login slidekellyslide)
Network 54 Moderator

Re: Response to Allegations

June 21 2006, 12:46 PM 

Jeff, the editing was out of respect for you....I shouldn't have posted it and I apologize. But you're still wrong. I am the furthest thing from a conspircy theorist in this instance. I don't think you can ignore the fact that O'Keefe has been unfair towards this industry in the past.

 
 
Scott B.
(Login bond73)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 21 2006, 12:54 PM 

Is this the reason why Robert Edwards left Mastro? If that's the case, obviously REA is a lot more honest than Mastro. I always wonder why in REA ads he always specify his auction use honest bid system.

 
 
davidcycleback
(Login drc1)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 21 2006, 1:23 PM 

From my experience, both Dan and Jeff are reasonable and inteligent people. In this case, they have different points of view to the situation. Dan had first hand experience with one of the items they wrote about, so I understand where he is coming from.

This article has little in the way of specifics, so I think it's premature to argue one way or the other over the issue.

 
 


(Login calvindog)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 21 2006, 1:45 PM 

Dan, I hear your point but I guess I don't know enough about the writer to pass judgement. I guess what I am having a hard time understanding is why would anyone just be against the entire hobby in all its forms? It's not like the vintage card and memorabilia industry is poisoning our drinking water. And now I'm being accused of perhaps having some sort of ulterior motive which is ludicrous. I've spent a ton of cash at auction houses and have never had a problem. What I am biased against, however, is fraud. Simply put, I don't like being defrauded. I brought this article up simply because of the allegations of fraud which I thought were important enough to be aired out here - isn't that what this forum is for? I was somewhat taken aback by some of the responses that seemingly ignored the fact that a law enforcement official stated on the record that Mastro was involved in fraud - and instead blamed the writer of the article for simply reporting what was told to him, on the record, by on the record sources. O'Keefe may have a beef with the industry but he was not the one who reviewed Mastro's finanical records, the prosecutor did. Unlike many of the forum members, additionally, I am a true collector and have NEVER made a nickel of my income via this hobby. The only stuff I ever sell are cards I've upgraded. So, I'm hardly in a position to be accused of having my own bias. Hell, I plan on bidding in Mastro's upcoming auction! That being said, I won't put in a max bid until Mastro is given a clean bill of health.

 
 


(Login slidekellyslide)
Network 54 Moderator

Re: Response to Allegations

June 21 2006, 1:55 PM 

I think hobby news is part of O'Keefe's beat so to say....at least he writes a lot of stories regarding the problems with the industry. My beef with him is that he purposely ignored facts that were contrary to what he wrote about because he would have had to taken a mea culpa. I just don't think he can be unbiased in reporting a story concerning Mastro from my own personal experience in the past. That doesn't mean that I think there's no story there....but this time I think shooting the messenger isn't such a bad thing.

 
 


(Login calvindog)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 21 2006, 1:58 PM 

Again, Dan, you need to stop blaming O'Keefe -- it was the Ohio prosecutor who went on the record to report Mastro's fraud! What evidence does anyone have that Mastro is being scapegoated by the state of Ohio????

 
 


(Login slidekellyslide)
Network 54 Moderator

Re: Response to Allegations

June 21 2006, 2:05 PM 

I don't really have a problem with O'Keefe initially reporting this, but will he follow up and how will he follow up? I personally don't believe he will be fair, but that's my opinion formed by his past action/inaction.

 
 
davidcycleback
(Login drc1)

Re: Response to Allegations

June 21 2006, 2:15 PM 

For the record, a recent O'Keafe article said postive things about MEARS, including that that their LOAs are highly respected in the hobby and he used their opinion on a piece of memorabilia that was the subject of the article. So the author has also been positive about subjects he has criticized.

 
 

warshawlaw
(Login boxingcardman)

a few more items

June 21 2006, 2:33 PM 

Re the reputation of the hobby: This is a smelly, sleazy disgusting hobby...sometimes. You need look no further than WIWAG, Operation Foul Ball and the myriad fake cards on ebay on any given day for proof. It is also a great, wholesome, fun hobby...sometimes. Which makes it no better and no worse than most human endeavors. I think the news posted in this post is critical to collectors who participate in Mastro auctions, which seems to include everyone here.

Re O'Keefe: Say what you want about the man's prior reporting but that does not hide the facts reported this time. A state official is alleging that Mastro engaged in fraudulent conduct. That allegation is newsworthy. Mastro denies it. That denial is newsworthy. Dan, your concern that O'Keefe might somehow later on show a bias in handling the story is no reason to "shoot the messenger". We have enough pre-emptive wars already.

Re Robert Edwards: Only the people involved could explain their split. As far as the Robert Edwards bidding system goes, of course he touts it--it is called "promotion". The man is trying to compete for the public's business. What do you expect him to tout as a selling point for bidders, poor service and dishonesty? The inference of a critique of Mastro implicit in the promotion is rather narrow, wouldn't you say, given how many auctioneers there are out there who could be the subjects of the promotion. Plus, duh, of course he is criticizing his competitors; how else is he supposed to convince you to use his services?

Re Mastro: I bid in their auctions and I consign to their auctions. I've never heard of anyone not getting their winnings except by loss in transit, so I don't see anything unsafe about bidding there. Just assume you will pay your highest figure and bid accordingly. It is so simple.


 
 


(Login slidekellyslide)
Network 54 Moderator

Re: Response to Allegations

June 21 2006, 6:33 PM 

Since I now know that Mr. O'Keeffe is reading this thread I have a question: Why did you turn down the offer to review the evidence firsthand?

 
 

Bottom of the Ninth
(Login BOTN)

The Outcome

November 15 2006, 1:41 AM 


 
 

(Login barrysloate)

Response to Allegations

November 15 2006, 8:53 AM 

Is there any connection between the recent thread about Mastro raising its buyer's premium and this old one being dredged up? Or did this news just break yesterday? Either way, I like the defense attorney's remark that Noe was just the victim of bad bookkeeping. Isn't that the same excuse that every one of the Enron scoundrels used as well as all the other CEO's who are now going to spend the rest of their lives in prison? Does anybody ever take responsibility for his own actions, or is it always somebody else's fault?

 
 


(Login calvindog)

Re: Response to Allegations

November 15 2006, 10:00 AM 

Oh, Barry, plenty of times defendants take responsibility for their actions instead of blaming others - when they receive a plea agreement to their liking.

 
 

(Login barrysloate)

Response to Allegations

November 15 2006, 10:26 AM 

I rest my case...and on a related note, did you see that O.J. Simpson is writing a book explaining that if he really were the killer, this is how he would have committed the crimes. O.J., on the chance you read this board, please spare us. Ink and paper are scarce commodities and this is a terrible waste of both. We all know the other guy did it, and a day doesn't go by where you are not hot on his trail.

 
 


(Login BrickyardKennedy)

Re: Response to Allegations

November 15 2006, 10:32 AM 

Just heard on the radio that Simpson will appear on Fox TV explaining how he would have done it, had he done it.
The start of a lucrative promo tour. "At long last Sir, have you no shame?"

 
 
ramram
(Login ramramram)

Re: Response to Allegations

November 15 2006, 12:33 PM 

I hope the Goldmans can reap any of the profits from OJ's book but I'm sure he has that covered.

Rob M.

 
 


(Login tbob)
Registered Users

Re: Response to Allegations

November 15 2006, 1:11 PM 

News of the possibility of a substantial profit came a day after a former GOP fundraiser who played a role in the party's Election Day defeat was convicted of stealing from the fund.>

Now if we can figure out how to undo the theft of Florida in the 2004 election...

 
 

(Login 823dek)

wow....

November 15 2006, 1:33 PM 

it is okay to find an ERROR in something ,but to question ones integrity and then act like you werent one questioning a situation
....better off listening to baby talk !

there are weird people in society and they get in cars too !

 
 
Jim Clarke
(Login husbandoftammy)

Re: Response to Allegations

November 15 2006, 11:21 PM 

Hey Leon,

I was the underbidder against Hal on a 19th century Boston team Cabinet. I ran it up from 12K to like 18K before I stopped. It turned out that 18K was his max bid.. JC

 
 


(Premier Login autograf)

Tbob.......

November 15 2006, 11:35 PM 

think you have your fake Republican conspiracy theory dates mixed........2000 was the year of the hanging chad in Florida.....2004 was when that horse-faced guy lost to Bush.....

 
 

(Login barrysloate)

Response to Allegations

November 16 2006, 6:51 AM 

It was 2000, but "fake" conspiracy. You need Florida for the presidency and your brother is the governor...yikes, I don't like them apples!

 
 

David Vargha
(Login Vargha)

Re: Response to Allegations

November 16 2006, 6:56 AM 

Notice how for the most part when the GOP loses close races like Allen in VA (where he could have gotten a mandatory recount by law) that they concede. Whereas the Dems for the most part see a freaking conspiracy behind every loss and whine and wail. Hey, Al Gore lost in 2000 fair and square. Get over it!

DavidVargha@hotmail.com

 
 

(Login barrysloate)

Response to Allegations

November 16 2006, 7:35 AM 

I got over it a week after it happened. I've learned to take the good with the bad. It's a part of history now. Fair and square? We'll never know.

 
 


(Premier Login leonl)
Forum Owner

politics

November 16 2006, 8:23 AM 

This is the last post in this thread about politics. Anymore will be summarily deleted. Maybe I should have a link to a political forum on this one? (rhetorical question please don't answer)....That way people could get their arguing out of their systems over there....It's been so nice the last few days on the board....please ...back to cards...

 
 

(Login barrysloate)

Response to Allegations

November 16 2006, 8:48 AM 

Leon- I agree and I apologize. I tried to slip this in while you were still asleep. I was wrong and take full responsibility for my post. I was done either way

 
 

(Login tedzan)

Media....Politics....etc.

November 16 2006, 9:05 AM 

The journalistic "media" in this country has degenerated to the lowest of the low
as a profession. Whether it's the print or the electronic media....90 % of them are
comprised of "hyper, rush-to-judgement, superficial, liars". And, it doesn't matter
whether it is world news or sports media types....they come out of the same mold.

So, anyone who talks to them is a fool......and I will end this by quoting my 20-year
old Grandson's very astute comment

"the biggest factor responsible for dividing Americans in this country is not politics.....
but the News Media"

 
 
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