The number of lawsuits against former sports memorabilia dealer and photo archive business owner John Rogers now totals six after attorneys for two Wisconsin men filed last week, accusing Rogers of making up a fake sales agreement that cost them a valuable Babe Ruth game bat. Rogers’ ex-wife, Angelica Rogers and the businesses they owned, Sports Cards Plus and Rogers Photo Archive, are named in the suit, which accuses them of fraud and breach of contract.
In 2013, George and Steve Demos of Demos Enterprises say they agreed to a deal in which Rogers would acquire the 1924 model Ruth bat from them for $250,000 plus at least $2.75 million in revenue from sales of photographs from the Minnesota Star Tribune archive. Court papers also say Rogers promised a 50 percent equity stake in the archive and another stake in the archive of the Sydney Morning Herald, an Australian newspaper that has also since filed suit against Rogers and his business interests.
However, in 2014 when the promissory notes came due, lawyers for the Demos family say Rogers created fake emails that indicated George Demos had authorized the sale of the Ruth bat and then sold it to a third party for less than its true value. They say Rogers kept the proceeds and used the cash for other purposes.
The suit also claims Rogers borrowed $375,000 from Demos Enterprises in January 2013, offering PSA-graded vintage baseball cards of Honus Wagner, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays as collateral, along with a 50 percent stake in the famed Charles Conlon glass plate negatives collection, an archive with an appraised value of $17 million.
Demos says he hasn’t been paid back and the collateral was not only overvalued but promised to multiple creditors.
Rogers is also facing suits from other former business partners and Little Rock area banks over unpaid loans. The FBI raided his home and business early last year as part of an investigation but he has not yet been charged with a crime.