Jesse Jackson Jr. auction canceled over Michael Jackson, Eddie Van Halen guitar authenticity
September 20, 2013 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- The U.S. Marshals Service has canceled the auction of forfeited assets from the Jesse Jackson Jr. case.
After receiving legitimate concerns about the authenticity of the guitar purportedly signed by Michael Jackson and Eddie Van Halen, the Marshals Service will conduct a secondary review of all the assets. Once the review is complete, a decision will be made whether to repost any assets for sale by auction.
Jackson pleaded guilty in February to conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud and to making false statements. He admitted that he defrauded his re-election campaigns of about $750,000 in funds that were used to pay for personal items and expenses. Net proceeds from the sale of the auctioned assets were to be used to help pay the $750,000 judgment imposed by the court as part of Jackson's sentence.
Click here for the auction website
Jackson pled guilty to using campaign funds to pay for things ranging from home improvements to air travel, cigars to celebrity memorabilia, a fedora, and other items, which got him convicted and sentenced to prison time.
The U.S. Marshal's Service had planned to auction 13 items; that number dropped to 12 after authorities heard from Eddie Van Halen.
A little more than two weeks ago, the ABC7 I-Team spotted Jackson relaxing poolside at a posh Beverly Hills hotel. At the same time, the government was preparing to auction some of his ill-gotten gains.
"It's just a matter of who wants that item and how much they want it," said Jason Wojdylo, U.S. Marshals Service.
Among the auction items was a women's red fur-lined cape. Jackson paid $1,500 for it. The bidding began at $215. There are more furs, some Bruce Lee movie memorabilia and some signed Michael Jackson posters. Jackson paid $4,000 for the guitar.
"Concerns were raised on the authenticity of the signature of Eddie Van Halen so we need to drill down on that," said Wojdylo.
No on the auction block was the $47,000 gold Rolex watch, or the pair of $16,000 stuffed elk heads illegally purchased with campaign money. The judge didn't demand they be turned over.
By the end of October, Jackson will need to reimburse the government a grand total of $750,000. His homes in Chicago and Washington, D.C., are not on the market. So, what if he can't come up with the cash?
"Anything of value, anything that has equity will be fair game," said Wojdylo.
In court last month, Jackson told the judge he expected to be able to repay the three-quarters of a million dollars before he reports to prison on November 1.
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