Remember when the feds were vigorously seizing knock-off Giants World Series clothing from black-market vendors around AT&T Park last year? Well, it turns out that all those clothes won't just rot in federal custody.
In one of those unexpected turns in a globalized world, Haitian earthquake
survivors will soon be sporting those Giants World Series T-shirts.
The Department of Homeland Security plans to donate the haul of knock-off shirts and hats to World Vision, a humanitarian organization that helps children living in poverty around the globe. The clothes have trademarked logos such as Major League Baseball, Giants, World Series, or - in a few cases - the Texas Rangers, said Anthony Ho, the deputy special agent in charge from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
World Vision spokeswoman Cynthia Colin says the charity will forward the haul to Love A Child, a Christian humanitarian agency that works in Haiti. Colin told SF Weekly
that the clothing is slated to arrive in Haiti later this year, "likely
in time for the 2011 World Series."
The clothes were seized as part of a major enforcement operation by U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which confiscated 2,400 counterfeit MLB shirts, caps, buttons, and flags. If
legit, the paraphernalia would have retailed for $150,000. Which is why the raid was a nothing but a big bummer for entrepreneurs trying to cash in on the city's historic event.
Why the delay in donating the clothes? The feds first had to wait for the deadline by which the vendors could contest the seizure of their goods. (Ho told us that no vendor actually fought to get their clothes back.) Then, they had to get permission from Major League Baseball to pass on the knock-off clothes, rather than destroy them, like they do with other contraband. MLB green-lighted the charitable donation, Ho says.
The feds will display some of the counterfeit clothing tomorrow from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Customs House at 555 Battery.
Ho says the vast majority of the gear is Giants gear, and no, there were no shirts that announced a Rangers World Series win, Ho says. "I think you'd be foolish to try to sell those in San Francisco," he told us.
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