LI memorabilia company countersues Hall of Famer Jim Brown over ring sale

Former Cleveland Browns Hall of Famer Jim Brown

Former Cleveland Browns Hall of Famer Jim Brown speaks during an NFL news conference at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. (March 18, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

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A Bohemia sports memorabilia company filed a $2 million countersuit against NFL great Jim Brown on Friday, saying the Long Island sports legend lied to stop the sale of his 1964 championship ring.

Lelands.com alleges in court papers filed in Manhattan federal court Friday that the former Manhasset football standout filed false affidavits as part of his lawsuit in July when he said the championship ring had been stolen from him in the late 1960s.

Brown sued the company for attempting to sell his ring without his permission and also for claiming he is suffering from concussion-related mental lapses.

Lelands.com, in its filing Friday, said Brown's ex-wife, Sue, initially was awarded the ring as part of their divorce proceedings in the early 1970s and sold it in the early 1980s. Leland's says it purchased the ring last May from a man who had bought it at an auction in 1998.

The Hall of Famer's attorney, Neal Brickman, said in a telephone interview this account is "a completely different story than the one they've been telling for the last three months." He said Leland's has consistently said it acquired the ring directly from a family member.

In response, Leland's owner Josh Evans said in a telephone interview that he never said that he got the ring "directly" from a Brown family member, just that it came originally via a family member and that he never elaborated on the chain of custody.

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Brickman also said Brown's ex-wife Sue disputes her role in Leland's account and is prepared to testify that she believes the ring was stolen "and I haven't seen it since."

The leading bid for the ring when it was removed from the auction was $58,948.68, and Leland's said in court papers Friday that it was expected to fetch more than $250,000.

But the sports memorabilia company contends that "the negative press" from Brown's lawsuit -- which sought the return of the ring and damages -- will hurt its value in a future sale "and impugned the honesty and integrity of Leland's business as a whole."

Attorneys for both Brown and Lelands.com already have agreed to an injunction signed by the judge that bans the sports memorabilia company from doing anything with the ring -- including selling it -- "until this matter is fully determined on its merits or the parties have fully resolved this matter among themselves."

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