Nearly a century after it was first made, ownership of a trophy presented by team members to 1912 Boston Red Sox player/manager Jake Stahl has been decided. A New Jersey judge ruled recently that former rap star and vintage baseball memorabilia collector/dealer Peter Nash had acted "in bad faith" and has no legal claim to the trophy.
The complex story has been playing out for several years. After what they say was a series of unpaid personal loans to Nash that began in 2005, Robert Fraser and Lisa Koch-Fraser, a New Jersey couple who were once close friends with Nash and his wife, say they bought the trophy outright and paid Nash for his part in helping them acquire it. The Frasers had planned to sell it at a Fenway Park auction in 2008. However, once the trophy went on display at the ballpark that year, Nash told the Red Sox he was part owner and threatened to sue if the auction took place. The auction was then canceled.
The Frasers filed their lawsuit in late 2010. Nash and his wife Roxanne were asked numerous times to produce income statements and provide information to the court last year but failed to do so. On January 20, Somerset County Superior Court Judge John Coyle issued a default judgment against Nash for failure to produce documents, failure to appear for depositions and failure to comply with three court orders issued in the case last year.
The judge ruled Nash has been "permanently restrained and enjoined from interfering with ownership of the trophy," according to court papers.
Coyle found that Nash "intentionally, willfully, maliciously, unlawfully and recklessly" disregarded the Frasers' rights and interfered with their ability to sell the trophy and other items originally owned by New Jersey resident Bruce Garland.
The decision came three months after lawyers from the Hoboken, N.J. firm Chronakis Siachos LLC filed papers saying they hadn't been paid for their services in defending Nash during the case.
Nash told the New York Daily News that he and his wife "strongly disagree with the court's ruling and plan to file for reconsideration and if unsuccessful, an appeal."
A proof hearing will be held February 24 to determine damages.
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