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Someone claiming story of another.

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Junior Member
What is the name of your state? California.

This story is somewhat complicated, but please read the story and let me know if I am even posting in the correct forum! Im interested in knowing whether my father has a case or not. I understand the statute of limitations are up on the larger crimes, but the fraudster in question still uses my fathers story as his own. I didnt want to resort to this, but the scammer wont come clean. Thank you for reading..

Well, it appears my research has paid off. Let me summarize...

Hank Berger of Cleveland, Ohio has been exposed as a fraudster who bilked thousands of dollars from the Federal government and committed numerous felonies; to include impersonating another for the purposes of financial gain. Here are the facts...

My father, Tony Wood, purchased the Original Hollywood Sign from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce in 1978. Shortly thereafter his company went bankrupt and the sign was stored until the Feds had the opportunity to sell my fathers assets to cover the bankruptcy. Only this did not happen...

Fast forward to 25+ years later: Last December my father alerted me to the sale of the original sign on eBay (the one my father owned) which was brought to his attention by a friend who knew him back in those days. It wasn't so much the sale which bothered him, it was the fact the current owner was selling the sign under the pretense it was acquired from the original buyer. Only the original buyer was listed as Hank Berger.

Upon reading the story it became evident very quickly that Hank Berger was using my fathers story. The problem is at closer look the holes in the story were easy to see. You see, Berger could have gotten away with it if he had fibbed and said he acquired it through the Federal bankruptcy courts. My father probably would not have noticed the crime. Unfortunately for Berger he didn't, he used the story which matched the true original owner of the sign, Tony Wood. He claimed he cut the deal with the Chamber, he claimed he sold items from the sign, and ultimately claimed he stored it for 25+ years and forgot about it along the way; here is the exact line offered by Berger in an article written about the sale:

"I forgot I even had the damn thing," says Berger, who became a successful restaurant and nightclub broker in Ohio. "Out of sight, out of mind."

So this begs the question, why would Berger use my fathers story?

I have your answer, only Berger wont appreciate the truth. There are two scenarios and I challenge anyone to come up with a third - I actually encourage it!

1) Berger acquired the sign legitimately through the Feds.
2) Berger acquired the sign illegally through other means.

This has been my argument all along, the two scenarios above. I have sufficient evidence to bolster scenario two. The interesting part is my argument is further solidified through the words of Hank Berger himself. He has perjured him self in the public eye and without offering the evidence I have already collected I will allow Hank Berger to prove me right...

The Cleveland Freetimes ran an article today about the possibility of the sign being stolen by Mr. Berger. They were able to find him and this is what he had to say about it...

"If he had it to do over again, he might have let the sign deteriorate under the California sun. "I've paid close to $80,000 in storage fees over the years," he says."

Ok, so wait a minute... He has paid close to 80 grand in storage fees, but in the original story offered by Berger he claimed he forgot about it, "out of sight, out of mind." I don't know about you, but if I paid 80K in storage fees regardless of the time span I wouldn't forget about it, would you?

Here is another quote which I must retort...

"I just think this guy [Wood] saw it on eBay and thought he was entitled to a piece of it," says Berger. "But he can kiss my ass. I am Hollywood Hank."

First of all, how pompous is this son of a bitch? Also, my father was alerted to the sale in December and wasn't questioning his rights to the sign at the time. He wanted an answer as to why this Berger guy was claiming his story. Wouldn't this ring alarm bells in your head? This is why I got personally involved, to claim back the story which is rightfully my fathers.

Furthermore, under federal bankruptcy laws at the time coupled with the facts, my father is also entitled to all proceeds of the sign and the sign itself (or whatever is left). You see, Mr. Berger doesn't realize the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce could not have legally sold him the sign. Once my fathers company went bankrupt, the sign belonged to the feds, and if they could not find a suitable buyer then the sign should have been returned to my father.

And to top it off, the ultimate scammer sealed his fate when being interviewed by the Freetimes...

"Yes, he was aware of Tony Wood's novelty business, he says. But after Wood's company folded, he claims he bought the sign legit from the Chamber of Commerce. (The Chamber confirms the sale to Wood, but has no other records from that time.) Like Wood, he broke the sign up into keepsakes."

Mr. Berger, you claimed you were the original buyer of the sign, are you not? The claim of purchasing the sign legit from the Chamber puts them at risk for illegally selling property they did not own. Please tell me you can come up with an excuse better than this?

You should be ashamed, Hank Berger. Cleveland is a beautiful city with wonderful people and you are the pariah which will keep honest, hard-working people like my father from visiting any time soon...

Please use the link I offer below to see the other evidence I have gathered against the fraudster, Hank Berger. Thanks for reading..


P.S. I encourage the Freetimes or any other news agencies to direct people to this site. Furthermore, I can be contacted at XXX-XXX-XXXX if anyone wishes for an interview or authentic documentation of the evidence I have collected. I will offer the truth without cost, the facts are free.

Scams.netWhat is the name of your state?


Senior Member, Non-Attorney
Scams.net said:
My father, Tony Wood, purchased the Original Hollywood Sign from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce in 1978.
Prove it...
You had better be careful when posting libel against another...

Besides...No one has defamed your father (except you) and no one has claimed to be your father.


Junior Member
Addition: Zigner, I can see your interpretation after reading through what I wrote in my initial post. I feel my post is misleading right off the bat and should clarify my position be restating my comments about this man "impersonating" my father. That it is not true, I apologize. In fact he used my fathers story but did not impersonate him.

I was not completely clear of mind when I first expressed my discontent. Mea Culpa.

I guess thats why I am here, to understand the law better. Unfortunately I dont understand how I defamed my father and I am not claiming the person said he was my father. And I have what I call circumstantial evidence in the article written by the L.A. Times which indicates my father as the original purchaser (linked below). The man in question has offered absolutely no proof, and in fact makes the claim after being confronted by the most recent news agency to invesigate the alleged theft that my father was the orignal purchaser.

Let me be clear, I claim this man used my fathers experience/story to his own benefit when in fact he was not involved - and has since profited because of his claim. I dont know if this falls in the libel/slander/defamation forum. Thats why I am here, to find out.


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