- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 14, 2005

RICHMOND — An Orange County man who auctioned a flag on EBay that purportedly flew over the Pentagon during the September 11 terrorist attack has filed a lawsuit claiming a construction company ruined the deal, which would have brought him $371,300.

David Nicholson auctioned the flag in March to raise money for treatment for his kidney cancer.

An initial EBay auction drew a final bid of $371,300, but the bidder would not honor the sale because of questions raised by Facchina Construction Company of Maryland about the flag’s authenticity.

John A. Andrews II, chairman of the Loudoun County School Board, purchased the flag for $25,000 in a second online auction to place it at a new school being named after two Virginia victims on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon.

Mr. Nicholson is suing Facchina and one of its employees, Pete Elliott, for the $346,300 difference between the two bids.

“The flag would have brought at least a million dollars,” Mr. Nicholson said.

Mr. Nicholson found the flag in May 2002 tucked away among several boxes donated to the auction house he owned. Mr. Elliott signed a letter of authenticity that the flag had been flying from a company crane during the attack.

Mr. Nicholson rejected offers from around the world to buy the flag, opting instead to donate it for educational exhibits around the country. He said he decided to sell the flag upon learning he had an aggressive form of kidney cancer and would need more money for medical expenses.

During the first online auction, Facchina denied having a flag flying from a crane during the attack and said Mr. Elliott was not authorized to give the letter of authenticity. Days later, the bidder who had offered $371,300 backed out of the deal.

“It’s not so much about the money now,” said Mr. Nicholson, who filed the suit Thursday. “It’s just they need to admit the flag was there and quit jerking everybody around.”

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