Buried in a recent filing in a memorabilia fraud lawsuit involving Eli Manning and the New York Giants is a troubling detail – one of the main focal points of the suit has been interviewed by federal authorities about the allegations.
The New York Post reports the U.S. Postal Service, with the help of federal prosecutors, opened a probe into the allegations contained in a civil lawsuit. It also said that federal agents interviewed New York Giants equipment manager Joe Skiba after the Giants returned from their October, 2016 game in London; and that the Giants have been in touch with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York, which opened a probe right after the lawsuit was filed in 2014.
The Post quoted court filings in the case, and there’s no word whether these investigations are ongoing.
The lawsuit claims Skiba, Manning, the Giants, Steiner Sports (which has a contract with Manning) and others were party to an elaborate scheme to pass off items that were supposed be used in games, but weren’t.
The lawsuit, filed in Bergen County (NJ) Superior Court, had been brought by three collectors — Eric Inselberg, Michael Jakab and Sean Godown. The suit was filed three years ago and has been slowly making its way through the justice system.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs also say a piece of information uncovered last week during legal discovery directly points to Manning’s involvement.
In the filing, the New York Post reported that Manning turned over more than 200 pages of documents that included an email that said:
“2 helmets that can pass as game used. That is it. Eli,”
The Post, quoting court documents, reported that Manning wrote the email to equipment manager Joe Skiba from a BlackBerry on April 27, 2010.
The Post also noted that it’s unlikely Manning will face any criminal charges because the statue of limitations on criminal fraud charges (five years) has run out.
Manning, when asked for comment outside a country club last week, politely refused.
The legal filings claim the Giants are complicit because they didn’t turn over the Manning-Skiba emails – though the Giants say they didn’t have to.
But the Giants, in a statement obtained by the Post, fired back:
The email, taken out of context, was shared with the media by an unscrupulous memorabilia dealer and his counsel who for years has been seeking to leverage a big payday The email predates any litigation, and there was no legal obligation to store it on the Giants server.
The suit was initially filed by Inselberg, who was charged in 2011 with selling fake game-used jerseys. His case was dismissed when he argued Giants employees, including Skiba, lied to a grand jury to cover up their own fake memorabilia sales, the Post reported.
The lawsuit is set for trial on Sept. 25.