The Giants have fired the three ranking members of their equipment staff not long after settling the Eli Manning memorabilia fraud case in which they all had been initially named.
The club let go equipment director Joseph Skiba, his brother and assistant equipment manager Ed Skiba, and equipment/locker room manager Ed Wagner, Jr., a source told the Daily News Thursday night. ESPN first reported the firings.
Wagner had been employed by the Giants for more than 40 years. His father, Edward, also had been the franchise’s equipment manager. And the Skibas each had been with the club since college.
But the lawsuit, which dragged on more than four years before settlement on May 14, seemingly strained the Giants’ relationship with the Skibas in particular past the point of no return.
Joe Skiba most notably was the recipient of a Manning email on April 27, 2010 — made public last spring — in which Manning asked for “2 helmets that can pass as game used.”
Skiba complied, and though he ultimately wasn’t liable in the final version of the lawsuit that was settled, there were rampant allegations against Skiba about knowledge and participation in fraudulent dealings never actually dispelled. Skiba simply had most claims against him dismissed because the judge ruled he had not profited nor actually misled any consumers directly of the allegedly fraudulent items.
The Giants did not represent the Skibas in the lawsuit, but court papers suggested the Giants were paying Joe Skiba’s “substantial legal bills” in the case. Ed confirmed “they are paying our legal fees” in a text conversation with his brother. Later in the conversation, Joe Skiba threatened to “tell the whole f—— world the truth” about the memorabilia case.
With the integrity of Manning and the franchise on the line, all parties settled the case just as it was set to go to trial last week. And then it didn’t take long for the organization to settle this business in-house.