View Full Version : Dave Miedema, Grey Flannel, North Shore Sports

02-27-2006, 02:03 PM
Feds seeking arrest of Illinois dealer
10/27/1999 2:59:26 PM

The FBI, according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday, has submitted an affidavit to obtain an arrest warrant for memorabilia dealer Steve Ryan, proprietor of North Shore Sports in Northbrook, Ill.

The FBI's latest move is part of the ongoing saga of Operation Foul Ball - a federal investigation targeting individuals and businesses involved in the manufacture and distribution of forged sports memorabilia. Operation Bullpen, a much broader investigation targeting similar fraudulent activities, was the sting operation involved in more than 50 raids across four states two weeks ago.

The criminal complaint indicates Ryan, whose actual name is Steve Levine, has violated mail and wire fraud laws related to the distribution of fraudulent memorabilia. According to the document, Ryan previously was arrested five times on violations ranging from larceny to obstruction of justice. His criminal record is under the name Levine.

North Shore Sports conducted its Final Millennium Major Phone Auction on Tuesday. This auction was carried out despite assurances from Ryan's attorney to the FBI that the auction would not take place. According to a federal agent who spoke with Beckett Hobby Insider on Tuesday, all the items in the auction were under subpoena and therefore could not be sold.

Furthermore, the document states Falk Associates Management Enterprises (FAME), the company that represents Michael Jordan, warned Ryan against hosting the auction. Tuesday's auction featured several Jordan items.

This was not the first time North Shore Sports conducted business involving Jordan items and against the wishes of FAME. The complaint states that on Dec. 13, 1996, Ryan received a cease and desist letter from Jordan's representatives. Despite that action, Ryan continued to "falsely imply that North Shore Sports has an exclusive relationship with Michael Jordan," the complaint states.

The document also states that throughout the investigation, the FBI identified "hundreds of items sold through Ryan's auction that have been misrepresented as something other than what they actually were." Also, the document states the FBI did inform Ryan "that the majority of Michael Jordan related items which he sold and continues to sell through his auction were (are) fraudulent."

In North Shore's auction tabloid - a supplement to the Oct. 29 issue of Sports Collectors Digest (SCD) - auction lots featuring Jordan memorabilia are accompanied by product descriptions using the names of SCD columnist Dave Miedema and New York-based Grey Flannel Auctions to lend credibility to the items' legitimacy.

The tabloid uses the names of these parties despite the fact Ryan was previously informed by federal agents that Miedema and Grey Flannel "have routinely authenticated forged items of sports memorabilia originating from Anthony Alyinovich, John Schwartz and others who have acknowledged marketing items which have the forged autographs of Michael Jordan and other athletes," according to the document.

Also, the document states that Ryan actually agreed with the FBI's findings that Miedema and Grey Flannel Auctions were not reputable authenticators.

Alyinovich pled guilty to mail fraud related to trafficking counterfeit sports memorabilia in July 1996. He received five years' probation. Schwartz, who was recently released from jail after serving more than a year, was convicted of mail fraud and tax evasion in February 1997.

The document also detailed the business relationship between Alyinovich and Miedema. Alyinovich indicated Miedema authenticated any item he gave Miedema. Alyinovich went on to explain that "he provided Miedema with large boxes that contained numerous items of sports memorabilia and that Miedema could generate certificates for each item of sports memorabilia within ten minutes." Also, Alyinovich said Miedema "on most occasions" did not even look at the memorabilia he was authenticating.

The document also states that during a search of the residence of former dealer Steve Berg, 200 blank certificates of authenticity with Miedema's signature were discovered. Berg, who formerly operated SDB Enterprises from his home in Chicago, pled guilty to selling forged memorabilia in April of this year. His sentencing is scheduled for next week. At a date following the search of his residence, Berg told the FBI that "Miedema would routinely provide certificates of authenticity for items which he never attempted to authenticate, and more importantly never saw."


02-27-2006, 02:48 PM

Well, that's not good news!


02-27-2006, 02:56 PM
Am I missing something or is this story over 6 years old.

02-27-2006, 03:04 PM
Am I missing something or is this story over 6 years old.

I was just going to respond with the same statement! What's the point of posting this information 6 years after the fact?

If you're simply looking for old "bad press", you can include stories on Mitchell Schumacher at MS SPORTS, Rick Kohl at BROADWAY RICKS, etc., etc., etc.

Rather than just post this 6 year old story, maybe you can take a different "positive" twist and provide us with an update on all parties involved?

Howard Wolf

02-27-2006, 03:07 PM
Yankwood: You're not missing anything at all. The story is indeed 6 yrs old. I posted it for 2 reasons:

1) Not everyone knows what happened 6 yrs ago.

2) There was some recent talk specifically of Miedema being on Ebay's "banned authenticators" list in a recent thread. I thought this article may possibly help to explain some issues in that thread.


02-27-2006, 03:11 PM

While I can't speak for anyone else, if you've got factual stories of things such as this, then I'd be interested in hearing them. I don't know the Mitchell Schumacker story. Simply because it happened a long time ago doesn't mean I, and others, wouldn't be interested in learning about it. I'd hate for my knowledge to be relegated solely to things that've happened in the past 6 months.

As for a positive twist, I don't know what happened to the parties involved. If you do, please share your knowledge.



R. C. Walker
02-27-2006, 03:21 PM
I think Dave has paid for this mistake. No need to drag his name through the mud once more.

02-27-2006, 03:46 PM
he paid for his mistake? you mean he made restitution to all those that got scammed? or he paid his debt to society? very different payments

02-27-2006, 03:57 PM

Again, I was not aware of this. Apparently several other Forum members were. (Why does there seem to be this assumption by some people that everyone here is aware of every hobby incident over the past decade?)
My intent was not to "drag Dave's name through the mud once more". Perhaps people should stop having the assumption that I've posted for this reason or the assumption that I, and others, were aware of what happened 6 yrs ago. I simply noticed a few members wondering why Dave was on Ebay's banned list. I too was curious so I started searching and came across this article. I posted it for no other reason than to inform others of what I had just read. I'm not even sure how it all panned out in the end which is why I simply posted the article with no additional commentary.


02-27-2006, 03:58 PM
I can tell you that Dave Miedema never intentionally authenticated any items that he knew were not genuine. Seriously, if you have ever met Dave, he is one of the more knowledgeable people in authenticating game used 1970s baseball jerseys, but Dave got in with the wrong people at the wrong time.

To be to the point, I often felt Dave was authenticating items because he needed the $5.00 per letter (or whatever he charged) to pay for his medical expenses at the time. Maybe it was his wife's expenses. I have been out of the Chicago scene for years, but I do remember Dave was losing his eyesight and I believe he trusted the people who he was writing letters for at the time.

In other words, someone would tell him they had 20 legitimate Michael Jordan autographed photos, and Dave would write him 20 letters. Dave was in sad health shape (or maybe it was his wife, I just don't remember) and would write letters based on people telling him their items were genuine.

Unfortunately, Dave will have a bad rap from now until the end of time because of this. I have known Dave for about 21 years, as I used see him at baseball card shows back in the day. Dave used to sit outside where ever the baseball players were and have them autograph cards in his notebook. I remember once seeing someone like Dickie Thon autograph around 100 cards for Dave in the Wrigley Field parking lot.

I just couldn't believe a player would sit there that long and autograph so many cards. Maybe it was because Dave always had an appearance of being a little off or slow, maybe the players back then figured if someone had 100 of their baseball cards, why not sign them.

Again, I am not condoning what Dave did, just the facts are simple - Dave was desperate and trusted the wrong people telling them they needed letters for not legitimate items.

You all can bash me for defending Dave Miedema today, but the truth is if you could sit down and interview him for a few hours you would find his life in sports autographs and game used 1970s baseball jerseys to be quite a neat story.

02-27-2006, 05:32 PM
I could not have said it better, myself.

I have known Dave since 1982, and met him several times at various shows. Granted, he may not be the best dressed in the dance, however, he is the type of human being that would give you his last two cents or drive 5 hours to help you. He is a very, very good man.

Dave also has had his share of health problems, including a kidney replacement.

As you noted, between his various health issues and personal life, he may have just put too much trust into others during a very, very difficult time.

Should he have been more careful? YES.

What's more interesting is the fact that he received such bad press and was removed from his writing responsibilities at SCD, based on what solid facts? I have read the above story and related pieces, however, what was ever proven and what was ever done to Dave? As far as I'm aware, little if any proof ever surfaced relating to Dave INTENTIONALLY trying to cheat or deceive anyone.

Howard Wolf

02-27-2006, 05:37 PM
What's more interesting is the fact that he received such bad press and was removed from his writing responsibilities at SCD, based on what solid facts? I have read the above story and related pieces, however, what was ever proven and what was ever done to Dave? As far as I'm aware, little if any proof ever surfaced relating to Dave INTENTIONALLY trying to cheat or deceive anyone.

Howard, I do not believe Dave was ever convicted of any fraud.

Someone please correct me if I am wrong.

02-27-2006, 06:58 PM

You are correct. Dave was never convicted of a crime involving his participation in authorizing fake autographs. I spoke to officials at EBAY and based on the complaints and information they received about Dave they decided to place Dave on the "banned authenticators" list. EBAY also just does not place people in this category on a whim. They are very professional and put a lot of time and effort into their investigations. They know people's reputations as well as businesses may be on the line. Secondly, they have to have a solid process in place or they would continually open themselves up for litigation.

I have never met Dave, but I do know in my years of collecting Oakland A's jerseys he has completely misdiagnosed numerous A's jerseys. The last noted Miedema mistake was on a jersey I purchased last year from a collector in Texas. The jersey was a white 1974 Reggie Jackson which I paid $5,000.00. When the package arrived I noticed right away that the jersey was a fake. The number "9" was way too large and the font in "JACKSON" was inconsistent with jerseys from 1972 to 1976. I called Troy at MEARS and he agreed to look at the jersey and the Miedema LOA. Troy and Dave both looked at the jersey and quickly agreed that it was a total fake. I commend Troy for doing this work for gratis and he even agreed to work out a deal where I could recoup my investment. Fortunately for me, the seller agreed with the MEARS assessment and sold the jersey to me for a much reduced price. I feel very sorry for the previous owner as he paid almost $5K for the jersey based on the Miedema letter and he was not able to recoup his losses.

I asked Troy why they have Dave on the MEARS staff with his checkered past. Troy explained that Dave works only as a cataloger and is not assigned to authenticate any jerseys. Troy also asked that we give Dave a second chance as MEARS has done. Troy is also working with EBAY to get Dave's name off the list of "banned authenticators".

I agree with Troy and we should all give Dave a second chance. After all he was never convicted of a crime and we in this society give many convicted felons a second chance.

Finally I do not agree with the way this thread was initially posted. Rudi brings up some great topics and works hard to assist others on this website, but he missed the beat on this one. For one, just throwing the old article on the thread and saying nothing about it confuses readers. If Rudi would have made a statement about the article either pro or con he would have opened up possibly a great topic for conversation. In this case, it only confused readers and in some instances we unjustifiably hammer on Dave. Nothing against Rudi as I believe he is an asset to this website and hopefully he will not take my posting any other way then sincere.

If you have any other questions or concerns please feel free to call me on the cell. 313.354.3904


Mark Weimerskirch
Maumee, Ohio

02-27-2006, 07:12 PM
Mark, great post.

I hate to say it, but I understand why Dave's LOA are not allowed on eBay. Too many were written, too many were available blank for people to list whatever they want on them, etc.

As for the Reggie jersey, I should have reclassified my comments. Dave was one of the best authenticators before there was an internet. Back in the 1980s we could take any baseball jersey to Dave and he would know immediately if it was genuine or not. He knew so much about the tags, Rudy (not spelled with an "I") would have been jealous. He knew lettering, fonts, everything.

He was a database that was amazing.

Time took his toll, and those who know him personally feel pain over what happened because most of us believe we are not discussing dishonest man.

Just a man who made bad decisions based on trust of his surroundings.

02-27-2006, 07:27 PM
Hi Mark,

Without rehashing things I've already said regarding why I chose to post the article, I'd like to address some of the unique and specific issues you had with my posting it.

I posted it as a piece of "news" (albeit 6 yrs old) that I ran into that I thought others unfamiliar with the incident might find interesting. I didn't feel that I could add anything to the article because I was completely unfamiliar with the incident and completely unfamiliar with Miedema. Saying anything, bad or good, would've just been idiotic on my part given my complete lack of experience and knowledge with the incident and Miedema. The only possible thing I could've said with any fairness and intelligence was "maybe this had something to do with Miedema being banned by Ebay". Not exactly insightful.

I simply found a news article and passed it along for others to read. I didn't intend to provoke a discussion. I genuinely feel people here can discuss things and form opinions whether I give my 2 cents or not. When you read a newspaper, every article isn't accompanied by a corresponding editorial. It's just a piece of news. That's it. Read it, form an opinion, move on.

So far though, you know what I've found most interesting? Of all the things mentioned in that article, the overwhelming majority response has been to address Dave Miedema who actually comprises a very small part of the entire article. No comments whatsoever about Grey Flannel.

At any rate, I still don't feel that I should've done anything differently. Unless it becomes against the "rules", I still see value in simply posting informational news articles (no different than Eric posting about a FanFest or Suave posting about an autograph signing) without any accompanying editorial from myself. As such, I'll continue to post news articles in the same way in the future. For those confused about such postings and in dire need of my opinion on them, email me and I'll give you my 2 bits.


02-27-2006, 07:59 PM
Here is an interesting positive post about Dave Miedema.

http://www.network54.com/Forum/426247/message/1134004730/Dave+Miedema+on+ESPN.COM (http://www.network54.com/Forum/426247/message/1134004730/Dave+Miedema+on+ESPN.COM)

The link in the post you have to pay to see the whole article, but Dave Grob did post the part about Dave Miedema that was posted in the espn.com article.

02-27-2006, 08:18 PM
So, is there a follow-up on what ever happens to Steve Levine and North Shore Sports? For those who bought bad merchandise from him, were they able to recoup their losses? I remember Steve Ryan(Levine) ran a live auction during the 1996 National Convention in Anaheim.

Thanks Rudy for posting the old news because I am sure there are newbies here that would love to know a little bit of the past.

02-27-2006, 09:45 PM
Forum readers-
I was told that Levine/Ryan is back in the family coin business.

Say what you want about North Shore Sports, however, they did have some great LEGIT equipment. When Ryan first opened North Shore, his Jordan equipment was rock solid and some of the best in the hobby. Only later on did he begin to have "suspect" jerseys that had tags sewn in from other commons, etc.

On a personal note, I consigned quite a bit of equipment to him, and he was bringing top dollar. Once the FBI got involved and shut him down, things really went South. When the FBI confiscated all of his contents (both personal and those from consignors), many dealers had their items held by the FBI for evidence. I had about 20 items held, and it took about a year for me to get them returned. It was the strangest situation-out of the blue, I received a phone call from our local FBI office, and was informed that my items would be personally returned to be the following day. Sure enough, a FBI officer appeared at my home with 3 boxes of equipment. I signed a release, took the boxes, and never saw the FBI agent or heard from the authorities again.

I did learn an important lesson in the uniform/equipment business, however. When an auction house is late in paying consignors or begins to develop a bad reputation-RUN. I have seen it first hand, and will NEVER put myself in that situation again. Neither should you.

Howard Wolf

02-27-2006, 10:54 PM
Say what you want about North Shore Sports, however, they did have some great LEGIT equipment. When Ryan first opened North Shore, his Jordan equipment was rock solid and some of the best in the hobby. Only later on did he begin to have "suspect" jerseys that had tags sewn in from other commons, etc.

Howard Wolf


You mentioned that he had some rock solidt Jordan equipment early on. Do you have a rough timeline of when his stuff became suspectible?

02-28-2006, 02:24 PM
Hello Everyone-

For those of us who were surprised to see Dave Miedema's name on the eBay list (with the misspelling and all), I was pleased to see Mr. Miedema post something on the MEARS site which provides his perspective regarding the eBay situation. I think it would be helpful for everyone to read it. While I don't know Mr. Miedema personally, and know absolutely nothing about his relations with North Shore Sports, I, for one, very much appreciated Mr. Miedema taking the time to share his side of the story.

Here is a link to the message on the MEARS site. Hopefully, as was the reason I think the question was even asked, this can help those unfamiliar with the situation gain a better understanding. I hope those at eBay have the chance to read it as well:


Christopher Cavalier
CEO - Game Used Universe

02-28-2006, 04:37 PM
It's been very surprising what a firestorm was created simply from me finding an old Beckett article and posting it to answer another member's question regarding why Dave was banned from Ebay. When I read the article and posted it, I didn't even think it had much to do with Miedema.
I posted it without any commentary because I had no clue about what went down 6 yrs ago. I was also unaware that apparently every member on this Forum already knew about the entire situation. (Personally, I don't believe that the value in learning of an incident is negated simply because it happened years ago.)

At any rate, I've read Dave's reply on MEARS and his last line caught my attention:

"Hopefully, this will end the need to regurgitate negative press from the last century"

Dave..et al.. regardless of how much you wish it would, this incident is not going to disappear from history. People in this hobby who are unaware of the incident are going to keep running into the name Dave Miedema and North Shore Sports. They're going to notice the name has been banned on Ebay. Like me, they're going to be completely unaware of what went down and so they're naturally going to ask questions and use Google. There's no way to stop that from happening. To think that this incident will never be brought up again simply because it was addressed this week is naive. Dave, the mere posting of the Beckett article did not constitute an attack or pissing match. It was one collector, me, finding information they were unaware of and sharing it with others. This is going to continue to happen in the future. Rather than wishing it was never spoken of again, why not see it as a valuable lesson for new collectors, dealers, and authenticators? Mistakes were made. The value is in having others learn from them, not from saying "let's never regurgitate this again". Not only is that idea unrealistic, but it negates any positive consequences that may come out of the whole thing.

You..and anyone else...know where to find me.. petrucious2000@yahoo.com


02-28-2006, 04:38 PM
I forgot to say.... thanks as well to Dave for sharing his side. All in all, it seems to me that far more good come out of this thread than bad.


02-28-2006, 04:44 PM
Rudy, as I privately emailed you, I didn't find your post to be bad because there have been quite a few questions asked about people in the article lately.

I think it helped show that Dave Miedema has a nice following in this hobby and that the old timers know Dave was caught in the middle of a bad situation.

02-28-2006, 06:48 PM
Although I really don't know Dave very well, I enjoyed his SCD articles and he was very helpful to me with my jersey questions. It seems to me he got a raw deal by SCD. He deserved better and I hope the MEARS job works out well for him. Just for informational purposes, I have attached his LOA from 1995. You can see how those with bad intentions could have manipulated the form. - Kevin

03-01-2006, 05:45 PM
After watching these forums for a while, finally something to say. I am glad to say that I have met Dave back in his "show days" almost 20 years ago and am able to join everyone else who can stand up for him.

I am sure that I am not alone in the group of people that he introduced to the hobby and taught them the ropes. He alwyas had time to explain the jerseys and show you what to look for to not get ripped off. I can say for myself, these early lessons have saved me many times.

There is not too much more to say than has already been covered on him in these posts. Dave was, and probably always will be, a purist for the hobby its good to see that he did not get turned off by all that happened. While we all like to collect for the investment reasons, we have to remember to look past all of the technology today and enjoy the hobby and our collections like Dave always has.

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