John Rogers created a huge, national stir in the sports memorabilia world with his $1.62 million purchase of the crowned king of all Honus Wagner baseball cards in August 2008.
The record-setting price paid for the 1909 card, known in collector circles as the Jumbo T206 Wagner, elevated his name into the big leagues among his peers.
Not long after the transaction, Rogers put the card back on the market, first at $2 million and later at $2.5 million.
That generated chatter on a baseball memorabilia forum of Net54baseball.com. During the ensuing online dialogue, Rogers was asked in March 2009 by a user named Eric about the publicity of his high-profile acquisition and his decision to sell the card.
His response, shown in the image above, was pure Rogers fantasy.
A winning Wagner bid wasn’t enough. Rogers just couldn’t help sprinkling in several lies to make himself look even more important and successful.
Rogers and his then-wife, Angelica, never owned “the largest childcare provider in the South.” They did own Helping Hands Daycare in North Little Rock, but the small local operation was a far cry from serving “1,000 families” and being “a large chain of childcare facilities.”
And that “GM dealership?” Another lie.
John and Angelica Rogers never owned a General Motors dealership, or any auto dealership for that matter.
Beyond all that was the fact that forum members baiting him knew: Rogers had actually sold the Wagner card in February 2009 at a $600,000 loss, assuming he actually paid the $1.6 million he claimed to begin with.
To explain away inconsistencies in his online narrative, Rogers said he thought they were talking about another Wagner card he owned.
Unlike the media splash of his $1.6 million auction purchase in August 2008, his $1 million-plus-$1 sale in a private transaction largely flew under the radar barely six months after he purchased the card.
The Jumbo Wagner resurfaced at an April 2013 auction that resulted in a new record-setting price: $2.1 million.
His claim to own more than one Wagner card also resurfaced in the wake of an FBI raid on his North Little Rock mansion and business in January 2014. The visit by federal agents raised scrutiny of his financial dealings and spawned a string of civil fraud cases in addition to the criminal fraud probe.
Two counterfeit Wagner cards cropped up when Rogers was sued by a leading financial benefactor for a veritable orgy of fraud activity.
William “Mac” Hogan testified that Rogers gave him two fake Honus Wagner cards with fake PSA certifications as collateral to borrow $2 million to finance the bogus acquisition of The Oklahoman newspaper photo archive in July 2011.
“I did not know at the time that he had never purchased the Oklahoman,” Hogan said in a deposition on Feb. 26, 2016. “[Rogers] said he had traded it to somebody. I learned sometime later, he actually told me that he never purchased it, that they paid the money I gave him to some people in Memphis. They were blackmailing him is what he told me.”
The fraud within a fraud in the phantom purchase of the Oklahoman photos secured by the counterfeit Wagners was one of more than a dozen instances of bogus deals recounted by Hogan in his successful fraud case against Rogers in Pulaski County Circuit Court.
Hogan submitted more than 600 pages of written evidence to support his case to collect nearly $12.2 million in compensatory damages from Rogers. On top of that, Hogan received a punitive treble damage award of $30.7 million.
Among several things he failed to do under judicial order, Rogers didn’t produce documents as part of discovery or file a pretrial brief in the case.
Rogers also didn’t show up for the damages hearing on April 12 after he became responsible for his own legal defense. His lawyer, Brett Myers of Dallas, was allowed to withdraw because Rogers wasn’t paying his legal bill.
Hogan isn’t optimistic about collecting much from Rogers, but he wants to make a public record for everyone to know about Rogers’ bad behavior. He testified during the damages hearing that Rogers “lied a lot,” starting when they first met and talked about doing business together.
Apparently, the lying continues.
In an email interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette after Hogan’s $42 million judgment, Rogers said: “We are exploring ways to get [Hogan] compensated without interference from those [creditors] ahead of him in line. I signed over my interest in the New York Post archive to him some time ago, and the sale of that asset should line his pockets deeply …”
More lying by Rogers, according to Hogan.
“He has produced nothing to ‘get me compensated,’” Hogan said in a recent interview with Arkansas Business. “He has no interest in the New York Post asset nor has he ever had any.”
Rogers wasn’t happy that the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s coverage of the hearing was illustrated with a particularly unflattering police booking photo. He whined about it in an email to the newspaper that he also posted on his Facebook page, taking a baseless swipe at Arkansas Business for good measure.
“I had your staff in my home too many times to count, you all ate my food, drank my never ending supply of booze and were treated with respect. Now, there are some people I have treated with nothing but disrespect, but they don’t edit your paper.
“So tell me, did I possibly grab the backside of an editor’s wife? Or, God forbid, did I sleep with one of their wives? (I’m paying the dear cost of sleeping with a reporter’s wife through one writer at Arkansas Business). If I did this, please pass my condolences on to them because from the looks of the photo below, they have to be hating themselves!
“Whatever the sin, could someone, anyone, put their hurt feelings aside and show a photo that is any other photo than the mugshot in July of 2015 where I was high on Cocaine?”
He signed it:
“With Appreciation, John Rogers”