Net 54 Vintage Baseball Card Forum
Hello to all visitors! Please visit the NEW Net54 board at www.Net54baseball.com You can directly contact the moderator here if you have any questions or comments. Enjoy!
  << Previous Topic | Next Topic >>Top of page | Bottom of page | Main Index  

"The Feds Are Here To Stay"

August 2 2008 at 3:26 AM
Bruce Dorskind  (Login Yankeefan51)



We find it ironic, indeed, that this ultra rare piece of baseball
sheet music (issued in 1914 to honor the arrival of the Chicago Feds)
- a prized piece in our memorabilia collection ...so accurately describes
this year's unexpected special visitors to the National Convention

Please see the August 1, 2008 New York Daily News story below

Bruce Dorskind
America's Toughest Want List


Feds crash National Sports Collectors Convention, hand out subpoenas
BY TERI THOMPSON AND MICHAEL O'KEEFFE
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITERS
Friday, August 1st 2008, 5:35 PM

Federal investigators crashed the National Sports Collectors Convention in Rosemont, Ill., on Thursday and Friday, delivering subpoenas to several hobby executives to appear before a grand jury that is hearing evidence about fraud in their industry.
Agents from the FBI and United States Postal Service also questioned other dealers and authenticators at the National, the hobby's largest annual memorabilia show.
"This is part of an active federal investigation," said a source familiar with the probe. "I think they came to the National because they knew everybody would be here, all under one roof. It's like shooting ducks in a barrel."
As the Daily News first reported in July 2007, the Chicago division of the FBI, whose "Operation Foul Ball" smashed a multi-state autograph forgery ring during the 1990s, last year initiated an investigation into Illinois-based Mastro Auctions, sports memorabilia's largest auction house.
"The FBI has been walking the convention floor," said American Memorabilia president Victor Moreno. "You can feel the tension."
The visits from federal agents came as Mastro Auctions officials were preparing for the big live auction the company conducts in conjunction with the National.
"No more business as usual," said Chicago collector Michael Gidwitz, who was interviewed by the FBI several months ago. "An unregulated business like this, it brings in a lot of unscrupulous people. This needed to be done a long time ago."
Gidwitz, who became the first person to sell a baseball card for more than $1 million when he sold a T206 Honus Wagner once owned by NHL legend Wayne Gretzky to collector Brian Seigel in 2000 for $1.27 million, said he was victimized several times by one-time friend Bill Mastro, Mastro Auctions chairman. Those allegations first appeared in "The Card," a book about the T206 Wagner by two Daily News reporters that was published last year.
The Gretzky T206 Wagner, known in hobby as "the Holy Grail," was "discovered" by Bill Mastro in the 1980s. It was graded PSA-8 (on a scale off 1-10) by Professional Sports Authenticators, a card-grading service, even though one of the original authenticators acknowledged the company knew the card had been altered, a major violation of vintage card protocol. The book apparently hasn't affected the price: The Wagner was sold to an anonymous collector last year for $2.8 million through SCP Auctions, which owned a minority stake in the card. SCP, however, has never produced evidence that a transaction actually took place.

Mastro and auction house president Doug Allen did not return phone calls for comment. Nor did Randy Mastro, Mastro's brother and attorney who was a deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani. A Justice Department spokesman in Chicago said he could not confirm or deny an investigation had been initiated.
Hobby executives who have talked to the agents in the past year say the agents have asked about "shill bidding," when an aucton house or a consignor enters fake bids on an item in order to drive up the price.
Investigators have also expressed interest in a North Carolina warm-up shirt sold at the live auction Mastro's company held at the National last year. The shirt was advertised as a Michael Jordan-owned item, even though Memorabilia Evaluation and Research Services, a leading authentication firm, concluded another player's name - Ranzino Smith - had been ripped from the back and repaced with "JORDAN."
The shirt sold for $11,000 and although Mastro Auctions eventually voided the sale, it renewed calls for greater regulation of the dog-eat-dog world of sports memorabilia and attracted attention from the FBI.
Investigators have also questioned Bill Brandt, the president of Development Specialists Inc., the company hired by the state of Ohio to liquidate coins and collectibles purchased with state money by Tom Noe, the Republican Party official convicted in 2006 of stealing from a $50 million workers compensation fund and sentenced to 18 years in prison. Noe had purchased thousands of dollars worth of memorabilia from Mastro, Brandt and Ohio law-enforcement officials have said. Mastro Auctions repurchased the memorabilia back from the state of Ohio in December for $2.5 million.
Leon Luckey of Brockelman and Luckey Auctions said he is believes allegations of wrongdoing have unfairly bruised what he calls "a good hobby." Luckey, who also moderates Network 54, a popular vintage card Web forum, said he hosted a dinner Thursday night for 135 collectors and dealers attending the show.
"We had a great time, laughing and telling stories," Luckey said. "If someone has done something wrong, they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law but it is a shame that it casts a negative light on the hobby. I love baseball and I love cards, but this hobby is all about the people you meet."


 
 Respond to this message   
AuthorReply

B D
(Login B.C.Daniels)

"WoW!"

August 2 2008, 3:33 AM 

any of these guys raise cocks for fighten!

BcD

 
 
Bruce Dorskind
(Login Yankeefan51)

"The Feds Are Here To Stay"

August 2 2008, 3:42 AM 

There are only five known copies of the "Feds Are Here to Stay"

One in the Franklin Steele Hall of Fame Collection
One in The Dorskind Collection
One in The Library of Congress Collection
Two in other "private" collections


For those of you, interested in looking at said sheet music, we suggest
you visit the link below

http://lcweb2.loc.gov/diglib/ihas/loc.natlib.ihas.200033372/default.html



Bruce Dorskind
America's Toughest Want List


    
This message has been edited by Yankeefan51 on Aug 2, 2008 4:01 AM


 
 
barrysloate
(Login barrysloate)

Re: "The Feds Are Here To Stay"

August 2 2008, 8:13 AM 

I think we should all thank Leon for putting a positive spin on an otherwise dreary story.

Does the Daily News ever care about anything other than all the negative aspects of this hobby? They sure do have an axe to grind.

 
 

Jeff Lichtman
(Login calvindog)

Re: "The Feds Are Here To Stay"

August 2 2008, 8:28 AM 

Barry, what would have been a positive spin on a pending federal criminal investigation? And why is the Daily News to blame for simply reporting what occurred? Perhaps the newspaper should stop reporting on all American deaths in Iraq too?


    
This message has been edited by calvindog on Aug 2, 2008 8:30 AM


 
 
barrysloate
(Login barrysloate)

Re: "The Feds Are Here To Stay"

August 2 2008, 8:41 AM 

There is nothing wrong with reporting the news. But the best way to present it is by giving a more balanced story. Say all you want about the fraud in the hobby; I for one have long recognized how fraudulently business has been conducted in the sports memorabilia field. It's an unregulated industry that has attracted numerous fringe dealers who find it easy to make a quick buck.

But even I am a little tired of the one trick pony that the Daily News offers its readers (it is a rag newspaper, you know). At least Leon offered another way to look at things.

 
 

Jeff Lichtman
(Login calvindog)

Re: "The Feds Are Here To Stay"

August 2 2008, 8:46 AM 

What is a more balanced story? It seems the News gave Mastro et al the opportunity to provide that balance and it declined. Don't blame the media for reporting a factual story in which it gave all sides the opportunity to respond. And if the News is a rag and the Post is a rag, which newspaper in NYC isn't a biased rag -- the New York Times?

 
 
barrysloate
(Login barrysloate)

Re: "The Feds Are Here To Stay"

August 2 2008, 8:54 AM 

Well all newspapers are biased- they have a loyal readership and that's to whom they are reporting. I just don't find the Daily News to offer very interesting news. In that respect the NY Times is the best newspaper we have. If you don't like its liberal bent, that's fine- but it's still the best written paper in the city.

And I agree with you that it is fair for them to report the bad things going on in the hobby. But here's my point, and why I don't agree with your Iraq analogy: there is nothing good about the war, everything about it is negative; but our hobby, despite all the bad things that are going on, still has many good things too. I'm sure you have found good, otherwise you wouldn't be buying all those baseball cards.

So many people who are at the show have been posting what a great time they are having and all the great rarities they have been fortunate to see. Isn't that also part of the National experience (hey Jeff, keep it coming, we haven't had a good fight on the board in a long time)?

 
 
Rick McQuillan
(Login buymycards)

National

August 2 2008, 8:54 AM 

I wonder if some of the dealers were scurrying around pulling the fake stuff from their display cases? This is long overdue. It would have been nice if a couple of the dealers had been taken away in handcuff's. I love this hobby, but I run across WAYYYY too many fake cards, auto's, and memorabilia.

Rick

 
 
Bruce Dorskind
(Login Yankeefan51)

The Feds Are Here To Stay

August 2 2008, 9:17 AM 


As long time collectors (active in rare baseball material for more
than three decades) it is certainly sad to see that fraud in our
hobby has reached the point, where Federal Agents have to
spend their time and our tax dollars investigating a group
of prominent hobby dealers.

However, this should not come as a surprise to anyone.

In a hobby which generates several hundred million dollars a year
in cash flow, one can hardly be surprised to learn that greed and crime
reared their ugly heads.

We should be forever grateful that the Feds are investigating.
Let us hope they catch those who have committed the crimes
and that said criminals are sent away for a long, long time.

As for the Daily News, we think the article was accurate and
that it clearly reported the story...which was crime in a hobbby
that many of its readers treasure. The National Convention, whist
a wonderful experience for the advanced collector (and the host
city resident), is far less important in the scope of things than
identifying the problem and catching the criminals.

Whilst we agree with Mr. Sloate that The Times is a strong and
wonderful newspaper (albeit liberal to the point of being shameful),
this story in The New York Daily News was well and accurately reported.
In our view it attempted (in its interview with Mr. Luckey) to cover
the "good side" of the hobby.

Bruce Dorskind
America's Toughest Want List


    
This message has been edited by Yankeefan51 on Aug 2, 2008 9:53 AM


 
 

Jeff Lichtman
(Login calvindog)

Re: "The Feds Are Here To Stay"

August 2 2008, 9:19 AM 

Barry, your lefty leanings are shining through -- believe it or not, there are some people in America who think that something positive is going on in Iraq such as, say, destroying terrorists and their networks -- can you imagine? As for the News, why should they report about all the nice things in the hobby when the article clearly is reporting a pending federal criminal investigation? What nice things should they have thrown in such an article? The sharp corners on the last card I bought? The fact that Bill Mastro is a snappy dresser? Barry, you're just overly sensitive because the article and the investigation hits too close to home for you. The fact is, a criminal investigation into fraud in our hobby is a good thing.

 
 
barrysloate
(Login barrysloate)

Re: "The Feds Are Here To Stay"

August 2 2008, 9:23 AM 

A criminal investigation is a good thing...but why does the article hit too close to home for me? Please explain.

I should have added, and I don't want to get this too off track, is that most of the terrorists we should rightfully be frightened of are in Afghanistan, not Iraq. We're in the wrong country. I'm all for a build up in Afghanistan, buit we no longer have available troops.


    
This message has been edited by barrysloate on Aug 2, 2008 9:30 AM


 
 

Jeff Lichtman
(Login calvindog)

Re: "The Feds Are Here To Stay"

August 2 2008, 9:34 AM 

Barry, you just made my point. You're so overly sensitive you're inferring that my comment somehow suggested something sinister about your own business affairs! My 'too close to home' comment referred to the fact that bad news/fraud/arrests in our hobby/your business will have a negative impact on your business.

Edited to add: yes, Barry, you are correct. Terrorists in Iraq are not very scary; the ones in Afghanistan are the ones that keep me up at night.


    
This message has been edited by calvindog on Aug 2, 2008 9:35 AM


 
 
barrysloate
(Login barrysloate)

Re: "The Feds Are Here To Stay"

August 2 2008, 9:37 AM 

I don't think it will affect my business. I am who I am, and if somebody out there is doctoring cards, shilling bids, or selling bad autographs, it has nothing to do with me. I can only control my business, and not my peers.

 
 
barrysloate
(Login barrysloate)

Re: "The Feds Are Here To Stay"

August 2 2008, 9:39 AM 

Jeff- you have too busy a schedule to be kept up at night by thoughts of terrorists. I suggest getting a good night's sleep.

 
 

Jeff Lichtman
(Login calvindog)

Re: "The Feds Are Here To Stay"

August 2 2008, 9:49 AM 

Barry, if the hobby is negatively impactetd by the revelation of major fraud in the auction world your prices will be affected, plain and simple.

As for worrying about terrorists, you're right. I apologize for engaging in the politics of fear. I will now forget 9/11 happened. I feel much better.

 
 
samuel
(Login qbtalshbh)

Re: "The Feds Are Here To Stay"

August 2 2008, 9:49 AM 

this makes me wonder if I'm out of my depth as I begin to collect more valuable cards.

 
 
barrysloate
(Login barrysloate)

Re: "The Feds Are Here To Stay"

August 2 2008, 9:53 AM 

Let's agree to let this terrorist discussion die, because it's starting to get a little ugly.

A major scandal could affect my business, if it means that large numbers of collectors decide they have had enough and drop out of the hobby.

But if a handful of bad eggs are handcuffed, and perp walked out of the Convention Center, I don't think it's going to impact what I do.

 
 
David Atkatz
(Login murderers_row)

Re: "The Feds Are Here To Stay"

August 2 2008, 9:57 AM 

"There are only five known copies of the "Feds Are Here to Stay"

One in the Franklin Steele Hall of Fame Collection
One in The Dorskind Collection
One in The Library of Congress Collection
Two in other "private" collections


For those of you, interested in looking at said sheet music, we suggest
you visit the link below

http://lcweb2.loc.gov/diglib/ihas/loc.natlib.ihas.200033372/default.html"

I, for one, would like to see your copy, Bruces.

Please?

 
 
David Atkatz
(Login murderers_row)

Re: "The Feds Are Here To Stay"

August 2 2008, 10:09 AM 

"believe it or not, there are some people in America who think that something positive is going on in Iraq such as, say, destroying terrorists and their networks -- can you imagine?"

Do you really believe, Jeff, that destroying the terrorist networks that did not exist before we invaded is something positive?

 
 
 
< Previous Page 1 2 3 4 57 Next >
  Respond to this message   
  << Previous Topic | Next Topic >>Top of page | Bottom of page | Main Index