Government to auction Jesse Jackson Jr. items
September 16, 2013 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Starting Tuesday you can bid on some of the memorabilia former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. bought illegally with campaign funds.
The U.S. Marshal's Service had planned to auction 13 items, but that number dropped to 12 after authorities heard from Eddie Van Halen.
Jesse Jackson Jr. used campaign money to pay for everything from home improvements to air travel, cigars to celebrity memorabilia, a fedora, and of course, those infamous fur-lined capes.
But on Monday night, the Marshal's Service is looking into whether, in one of those purchases, the former congressman was duped.
A little more than two weeks ago: The ABC 7 I-Team spotted Jesse Jackson, Junior 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 is a women's red fur-lined cape. Jackson paid $1,500 for it. The bidding begins at $215.
There are more furs, some Bruce Lee movie memorabilia and some signed Michael Jackson posters.
But on Monday, the Marshals Service has dropped the most expensive item from its auction, an autographed guitar. Jackson paid $4,000 for it, but the signature may be a fake.
"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 is 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.
Regardless of what sells or doesn't at auction, by the end of October, Jackson will need to reimburse the government a grand total of $750,000.
His homes in Chicago and Washington DC 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. As for the auction, it opens Tuesday and runs through September 26.
politics, ben bradley
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