Though the name “Mike Ornstein” appears nowhere on the agenda for this week’s ownership meeting in Chicago, a league source with knowledge of the communications that have occurred among employees of various teams tells us that Ornstein’s situation will be a hot topic throughout the upcoming session.
Several days ago, reports emerged that Ornstein has pleaded guilty to federal mail fraud and wire fraud charges.
Apart from the possibility that some employees of teams and the league office eventually could be implicated in the investigation arising from the re-sale of Super Bowl tickets during the period of 1998 through 2006, others are perplexed by the fact that, even after pleading guilty to federal charges in the mid-1990s, Ornstein continued to enjoy the highest levels of access to league meetings and events, including (we’re told) an in-game sideline pass at Super Bowl XLIV.
We’re also told that Ornstein’s relationships extended to the highest levels of the sport. It remains to be seen whether any folks from the highest levels, or any of the lower ones, become entangled in the ongoing investigation.
Meanwhile, we’ve been trying to figure out how the re-sale of Super Bowl tickets at a profit constitutes mail fraud or wire fraud. There’s nothing fraudulent about scalping tickets. But a league source tells us that, when team employees purchase Super Bowl tickets at face value, they are required to sign documentation confirming that the tickets will not be re-sold at a higher price. It’s possible, then, that the fraud was committed on the league itself.