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We first mentioned the auction of the "Pentagon" flag last week, in Mrs G's dawn patrol post, cautioning "read the story carefully". Those who did so know that the flag touted as a "Pentagon" flag was actually said to have been flying from a crane near the Pentagon on September 11th, 2001, and not from the Pentagon itself on that day. Today Mrs G linked this brief update detailing that the flag had sold for $317,000. Debra Burlingame, whose brother piloted the plane that crashed into the Pentagon was quoted as being upset when she heard that someone was auctioning off a flag that allegedly survived the terrorist attack.
I've said this before - I'm a free market guy. Cash wise any item is worth exactly whatever someone will pay for it. In regards to this flag any cash value question has been answered. And three cheers for David Nicholson, the seller, who is apparently motivated by cancer - our prayers for a recovery.
Beyond that, if proven authentic, is a flag that flew on a crane near the Pentagon a sacred American relic? Apologies to the relatives of the fallen, but no. And I'm willing to bet that Mrs Burlingame was given selective facts on the "Pentagon flag" by the Washington Post reporter and then quoted. I sense an attempt at a manufactured story here.
But as this now much longer story makes clear, there may be a real story too. Questions as to whether the flag even flew on September 11th have been raised. In fact a certificate of authenticity written on the letterhead of the construction company has been revoked.
Looks like there's a lot to sort out, but as far as discouraging future auctions of bones of the saints, threads from the robe, and shards of the one true cross the best thing that could happen would be a sucker paying big bucks for something that turned out to be less than what he thought it was.
A relative of a 9/11 victim, perhaps also fed incorrect information by the Post, gets the story exactly wrong, comparing a flag that may or may not have flown on a crane near the Pentagon on 9/11 to a real symbol of America:
Tim Sumner, whose brother-in-law, Lt. Joseph G. Leavey, was killed on Sept. 11, said the sale was "kind of like if during March 1945 you were selling the flag that was raised over Iwo Jima. We're still in this war. Maybe if it were 60 years later it would be different, but it feels like blood money."
You might not want to mention that to the Marines.
Nicholson was unapologetic. "I'm dying of cancer," Nicholson said. "When anyone can walk in my shoes with what I've got, I don't care who they are -- they'd sell the flag."
The controversy "really killed my auction," Nicholson added. "It would have brought a lot more" money, part of which would have increased the contribution he plans to make to cancer research.
Expect more updates.
What did I tell ya UPDATE!
The winning eBay bidder who pledged Monday pledged to pay $371,300 for an American flag that allegedly flew over the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, has told the seller he is not convinced it's authentic and will not honor the sale.
There's a lot to question about the sale of that alleged Pentagon flag. The Washington Post and others did articles on it yesterday but none of them are getting this story near enough to accurate.
David Nicholson has stated that the flag was found in one of ten box of debris from the Pentagon crash site. If so, he was illegally in possession of ten boxes from a crime scene that may also contain human remains. Nothing of a number of the victims aboard Flight 77 (including two small children) and in the Pentagon have been found .
The Faccina Construction Company supervisor, Peter Elliott, who gave Nicholson those boxes wasn't authorized to take debris from the Pentagon site and he also was working as an auctioneer in training for Nicholson at the time. Nicholson was convicted for stealing $50,000 worth of clothing in 1988 and did a year of a 15 year (reduced to 7) sentence. Elliott gave Nicholson a signed certificate of authenticity on Facchina letterhead but Facchina says they didn't have a crane at the Pentagon on 9/11 (Nicholson is advertising it as the flag on a Facchina construction crane on 9/11), Elliott was reprimanded for using their letterhead for that certificate, and Facchina can not vouch for the origin of the flag. On March 8, 2005, Facchina asked eBay to pull the certificate from the ad and to inform potential buyers that Facchina could not vouch for the flag's authenticity. eBay did not comply.
Nicholson has the names of the 184 Pentagon and Flight 77 victims displayed across the bottom border of what he's selling. None of the NOK authorized him to include their family members names in the sale. Not only is this a violation of eBay's own policy but it is also a violation of California (where eBay is) civil code 3344 and 3344.1 which calls for punitive damages is such cases. Nicholson refused to remove those names when asked to do so by 9/11 family members.
On March 11th and 12th, eBay VP of Communications Henry Gomez was contacted by several 9/11 family members about both the unauthorized use of the names and the questions of the flag's authenticity. eBay continued to ignore their own policy and California law. The sale closed with the names still on the sale item. Gomez says eBay does not authenticate items for sale.
The winning bidder has now refused to pay the $371,300 winning bid. The flag is going back on sale today. As of this moment, he is asking for a first bid of $25,000 with zero takers. The 184 names are still across the bottom and Nicholson even mentions them in his new ad. In this morning's Washington Post, they quote Nicholson as threatening to go after Elliot and Facchina (for monetary damages) if the flag now brings less than $100,000.
This isn't the last eBay, Nicholson, and Elliott are going to hear about this from 9/11 family members. Did I mention the flag and ten boxes of debris allegedly came from crime scene and may contain human remains and 9/11 family members did not authorize Nicholson to use those 184 names in his sale? Yes I did.
BTW, when I was in DC in 2003 I went to the Smithsonian and discovered that while Old Glory was downstairs in the basement being restored, its place of honor was being kept warm by the garrison flag that had been drapped over the side of the Pentagon following the 9/11 attack. Needless to say, I did not depart dry-eyed.Posted by 74 at March 16, 2005 12:49 AM
Did anyone ever followup? I heard this idiot was trying to sue Facchina. This is a sad, sad society that would let a thug like him get thru that system of justice unscathed.Posted by harley at June 27, 2005 06:28 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(2) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)