I never liked Jesse L. Jackson, Jr., the representative from Illinois. It’s not because of his politics, but his dad. It amazes me that anybody even gives that guy air time. But I digress.
Jesse Jackson, Jr. recently resigned from Congress, claiming to be treated for Bipolar disorder. It now turns out Mr. Jackson may have also had an addiction. It’s an addiction that many of you on this website also suffer from. That, of an autograph and memorabilia collector!
What are the signs of an addict? Well, I’m not a doctor. I only play one on the internet, but…if you purchase more than two autographed items a year, that’s a sign. If you don’t purchase an item, and think about how you missed out on a deal years later…you might need help.
If you’ve purchased an item, only to find out later it’s forged or could be fake – well, that’s like the guy that buys a bag of oregano from a pot dealer he didn’t know – only to find out later he can’t smoke the stuff. Also a strong sign.
If you change your schedule around and others are inconvenienced, just so you can get an autograph, you might be an addict (I wrote that last line channeling Jeff Foxworthy).
But we aren’t talking about you and your addictions. This is about Jesse Jackson, Jr.
In the span of four years (starting in 2007), he started building a collection of celebrity memorabilia, as well as expensive jewelry and furs.
Jackson went to Antiquities of Nevada to purchase the following:
--A football signed by United States presidents (that was $5,000).
--Two hats that once belonged to Michael Jackson, neither of them with scorch marks from when his hair caught fire. One was a fedora that was $4,600.
--A cape that belonged to Michael Jackson for $800 (I thought only James Brown and Dracula wore capes).
--Two pieces of Bruce Lee memorabilia (at $2,000 each). The following year, he purchased more Lee memorabilia.
--Items that once belonged to Martin Luther King, Jr. (those, combined with the new Lee memorabilia, cost him $17,000).
--In 2010, it was Jimi Hendrix memorabilia for $2,775 and another Michael Jackson fedora (does he wear those things or something?). That was $4,600.
--He also purchased an item from another guitar god – an axe that both Eddie Van Halen and Michael Jackson owned. That cost him $4,000 (and I sure hope he has provenance for that guitar, those are hard to prove).
Now, all of us can appreciate some of those purchases. Here’s where it gets a little more odd. He spent $5,100 for capes and parkas. Not owned by any famous folks, but for himself to wear. He’s not stupid, though. He knows Nevada isn’t known for their furs, so he went to a place in Beverly Hills. He had all items shipped to Washington, where he owns a home.
No word on where he bought the $43,350 Rolex, but the $9,588 he spent on children’s furniture was purchased in New Jersey.
The spending he did that seemed a little more in line with other politicians, was a room at a Chicago museum for a fundraise, at $1,553 for the night (haven’t they heard of Motel 6?). It turns out, he really used that money to purchase porcelain collectors items.
Aside from Jesse Jackson, Jr. having expensive tastes, the problem with all of this is the fact that he took $750,000 directly from his campaign funds in violation of campaign finance laws.
Yesterday, federal prosecutors in Washington filed charges against him tied to these uses of campaign funds, and they threw in conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, and making false statements.
Jackson has already agreed to plead guilty to a few charges, and he’s looking at the possibility of five years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
The news gets worse for him. Charges were also filed against his wife Sandi, accusing her of having filed false tax returns.
She is expected to plead guilty and faces a maximum of three years in prison.
The 47-year-old former politician has released a written statement that read, in part:
“Over the course of my life, I have come to realize that none of us are immune from our share of shortcomings and human frailties. Still, I offer no excuses for my conduct, and I fully accept my responsibility for the improper decisions and mistakes I have made. While my journey is not yet complete, it is my hope that I am remembered for the things that I did right.”
A primary to fill Jackson’s seat is scheduled for sometimes soon.
There’s more bad news for Jackson, which is good news for all of you. He has to forfeit all of the memorabilia to the government. That means – look for them in an auction house near you!