Stewart files merchandise lawsuit

Stewart files lawsuit against alleged seller of fake racing helmets ATLANTA (Sept. 29, 2003) - Reigning NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Tony Stewart has filed a lawsuit against Gary McColgin, a 45-year-old Florida native, accusing him of ...

Stewart files lawsuit against alleged seller of fake racing helmets

ATLANTA (Sept. 29, 2003) - Reigning NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Tony Stewart has filed a lawsuit against Gary McColgin, a 45-year-old Florida native, accusing him of selling fake racing helmets and other non-licensed memorabilia featuring Stewart and his Winston Cup sponsor - The Home Depot.

The lawsuit added to an already long list of charges against McColgin. In June at his home in Woodstock, Ga., McColgin was arrested by Detective Burt Love of the Cherokee County (Ga.) Sheriff's Office for selling fake Rolex watches on E-bay. Specific charges against McColgin include theft and counterfeiting, among others.

Thanks to Stewart's lawsuit, which has been joined by Home Depot, police and the FBI are now investigating McColgin in connection with his alleged sale of fake racing helmets over the Internet. Fake Tony Stewart racing helmets have reportedly sold for over $4,000.

"We've been trying to track this guy down for a while now," said Stewart. "It looks like fake racing helmets weren't the only things he was selling. The fake Rolexes were the first things to get him in trouble, but my management group has been gathering evidence and we've charged Mr. McColgin with selling fake racing helmets.

"I want to be on the record in saying that selling fake racing merchandise of any kind will not be tolerated by me or anyone affiliated with Tony Stewart Motorsports. It's deceptive, and it hurts race fans and teams alike - race fans because they're not getting authentic merchandise for which they paid, and teams who are unable to secure the royalties from racing merchandise so they can't re-invest that money back into the race team.

"Mr. McColgin's antics are about to stop, as are any other persons looking to follow in his footsteps."

The specific causes of action against McColgin regarding the sale of fake Tony Stewart racing helmets include federal trademark infringement, federal copyright infringement, federal false advertising, federal and state unfair competition, and violations of the Georgia Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

The basis for McColgin's arrest regarding the sale of fake Rolexes are: two counts of theft by deception; two counts of theft by taking; possession of tools for commission of a crime; forgery in the first degree; making of a terroristic threat; forgery/counterfeiting of registered trademarks and copyrighted designs; and violation of Georgia RICO statute. Georgia RICO carries up to 20 years in prison, forgery in the first degree up to 10 years, and theft carries up to five years.

McColgin has not yet been indicted, therefore, a date for trial has not been set yet, but it is likely to take place in Cherokee County unless the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office decide to take over the case. In the event the federal government takes over, the case will most likely be tried in federal court in Atlanta.

-tsm-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart