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Lawsuit accuses Giants, Eli Manning of distributing fraudulent memorabilia

Eli Manning AP

According to a civil-racketeering, breach-of-contract, malicious-prosecution and trade-libel suit filed Wednesday in Bergen County (N.J.) Superior Court, a helmet displayed at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton as the one Eli Manning wore in Super Bowl XLII is a fake.

The New York Post reports that sports memorabilia collector Eric Inselberg alleges that the helmet is one of many forgeries passed along by the team as they “repeatedly engaged in the distribution of fraudulent Giants memorabilia.” According to the suit, the team’s equipment manager Joe Skiba told Inselberg he created fake memorabilia at the behest of team management and players, including helmets purportedly worn by Manning in each of his Super Bowl victories, and the lawsuit includes an email that they believe shows Skiba knew he was handing over ersatz goods.

The suit also alleges that the team’s dry cleaner has been part of the activities by doctoring up jerseys to look like they’ve been worn in games before being sold. That dry cleaner, Barry Barone, is named as a defendant in the case along with Skiba, Manning, owner John Mara, team lawyer William Heller, CFO Christine Procops, locker room manager Ed Wagner Jr. and equipment manager (and Joe’s brother) Ed Skiba.

Inselberg, who provided items from his collection for the team’s Legacy Club at MetLife Stadium, was indicted for selling bogus merchandise in 2011, but the case was dropped last year when prosecutors decided “prosecution was no longer appropriate in light of some new facts that were pointed out to us by defense counsel.” That decision came days after Inselberg’s lawyers told the court that Giants employees who testified to the grand jury about Inselberg were lying about their involvement in passing along the questionable memorabilia.

“When the Government came knocking on the Giants’ door, the response was a coverup that threw Inselberg under the bus to protect themselves and the team,” the suit alleges.

Giants treasurer Jonathan Tisch said on WFAN Thursday morning, via Neil Best of Newsday, that the suit has no merit. Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning wouldn’t answer a question about his brother’s alleged involvement at Thursday’s media availability.

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11 Responses to “Lawsuit accuses Giants, Eli Manning of distributing fraudulent memorabilia”
  1. billco6192013 says: Jan 30, 2014 9:21 AM

    Another guy with too much time and money on his hands

  2. weepingjebus says: Jan 30, 2014 9:25 AM

    The prosecutors dropping that case suggests there may be something to this. At least now we know why Eli was practicing his “What year is it? I don’t remember anything!” routine a few weeks ago.

  3. setzer1994 says: Jan 30, 2014 9:40 AM

    A QB currently with a $20 million per year salary needs to fake game worn items? Not sure I buy this one…

  4. tcostant says: Jan 30, 2014 11:27 AM

    I buy it. Teams and player always think there are smarter than everyone else. I’m sure this started inocent enough, maybe giving like a charity auction or something and then just mushroomed.

    I can totally see this being true.

  5. gladiatory2k says: Jan 30, 2014 11:38 AM

    can they prosecute Eli for stealing 20 mill with this year’s performance?

  6. joetoronto says: Jan 30, 2014 11:55 AM

    This is a PR nightmare.

  7. med515 says: Jan 30, 2014 12:13 PM

    Will have to follow Peyton’s lead here and chuckle about these allegations. It is ridiculous.

  8. buzzookaman says: Jan 30, 2014 12:19 PM

    The memorabilia dealer at the Los Angeles Angels Stadium sells fake stuff too.

  9. surfinbird1 says: Jan 30, 2014 1:42 PM

    Some people just never have enough greenbacks just ask Peyton.

  10. beachnbaseball says: Jan 30, 2014 2:04 PM

    Baseball players on the verge of accomplishing a memorable feat during a game will frequently change uni shirts, hats, spikes, etc., during the game to make many “game worn” items available to commemorate that particular event.

    So I could see Manning changing his helmet out several times during a game.

  11. footballchic777 says: Jan 30, 2014 2:37 PM

    Does it say he only wore one? And honestly, who really cares? if I am wearing a short and someone autographs it, I know it is authentic. Otherwise, I would question it.

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