Serving Papers to John Rogers No Easy Task

Serving Papers to John Rogers No Easy Task
John Rogers holds a valuable 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card after its 2008 purchase. | (Photo by Mark Friedman)

John Rogers, subject of this week's Mr. Rogers In Chicago: Can You Say Prison?, formed a couple of new ventures after his forced exodus from Sports Cards Plus and Rogers Photo Archives back in 2014.

You might recall that was precipitated by the Jan. 28 federal raid on the sports memorabilia and photo dealer’s North Little Rock office and home.

It took awhile, but now both of those limited liability companies are engaged in civil litigation in Pulaski County Circuit Court.

California Newspapers Partnership LLC, Los Angeles Daily News Publishing Co. and Torrance Holdings LLC sued to recover property that Rogers had collected to create a digital library of images.

That digital library project failed amid the chaos of Rogers’ dealings.

After some success gathering portions of its archives that Rogers had scattered here and yon, the media ventures sued to recover assets still in his possession.

Perfecting service in the case, handing Rogers a summons notifying him of the lawsuit and starting the court clock ticking to respond turned into an ordeal.

“It was ridiculous,” said Little Rock attorney John Jewell. “We spent the better part of last year doing that.”

At one point, a hearing was held in which Rogers denied receiving paperwork from a process server. He claimed the legal documents were given to another John, John McLean.

McLean, who is much shorter and smaller than Rogers, even backed up the story on the stand. However, their testimony was deemed “not credible,” given their difference in appearance and the process server’s familiarity with Rogers.

Besides Rogers, the other named defendant is his JMFR LLC. We’re informed the name represents John MF Rogers, and the MF doesn’t stand for Mighty Fine.

Failing Suit & More
A tangent to this case is a $739,750 collection suit filed by Robert Failing Jr. and his wife, Marion.

The New York couple is suing to recover money loaned to Rogers and his SGT73 LLC on Dec. 22, 2014. The debt was secured by licensing and marketing revenue from the photo archive of the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, a newspaper linked with the JMFR ligitigation.

Process servers aren’t the only ones having trouble locating Rogers.

Little Rock attorney Danny Crabtree is trying to step down as legal counsel for Rogers and JMFR. The reason: Crabtree no longer has open lines of communication with his clients.