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Maxim magazine featured the Primo in its May 2007 issue. "A titanium shaft and carbon-fiber grip give this boom stick more ball-crushing power than certain leagues allow, so buy it in black, paint it to resemble a legal brand and enjoy a leisurely stroll around the bases," Maxim commanded.
Orders poured in. "I honestly turned my phone off," Mabie says.
A year after the Primo debuted, Mabie claims, Rawlings came out with a glove also named the Primo.
"That was my marketing idea," Mabie says of Rawlings' ads for the Primo glove. "If you look at the name, you look at the logo, the color scheme, all of it, is truly mine. In my opinion." He's right — the colors, logos and fonts are similar. But Rawlings also uses a fierce stallion on a shield with a green and red backdrop and "Italia" written on it.
Mabie hired lawyers from Blackwell Sanders to fight for his name. He says they told him that he would probably win, but Rawlings would keep him in court for so long, fighting it would be too expensive.
The bat business did OK, Mabie says, but it wasn't enough to earn him a living.
A dark-colored Chevy Astro Van hooks into the parking lot in front of a used appliance store owned by Bill Mabie, Chuck's brother, near Interstate 435 and East Truman Road.
The video shows a man getting out of the van and running across an open field toward "New Pallet Rack Cheap" signs. The man collects three or four signs, runs back to the van, throws them in and drives away.
It's 6:30 p.m. Monday, October 20.
Mabie says the man on the video is Ron Boone; in addition to being Jacoby's son, he's one of the owners of Erotic City, a porn emporium.
Within the past year, a man was convicted of prostituting and sexually abusing his 14-year-old stepdaughter in Erotic City's coin-operated video booths (The People vs. Erotic City, March 25), a 16-year-old boy accused a man of sodomizing him inside the adult bookstore, and a man was shot in the head behind the building. Boone vehemently defended Erotic City, denying culpability in the girl's molestation, and blaming her for the incident by saying she had a fake ID and could have called for help. He portrayed Erotic City's owners as victims who had been persecuted by Jackson County and the "masturbation police."
Boone also runs a forklift company located around the corner from Erotic City. And he owns an Astro Van, according to Jackson County property-tax records.
On October 21, Mabie called the police and reported that Boone and Jacoby had stolen his signs. The police asked Mabie if he wanted to press charges; Mabie considered it but decided not to.
A week later, The Pitch called Boone to ask whether he had taken Mabie's signs. "I don't have any idea what you are talking about," Boone said politely.
Informed that Mabie had a video of the theft, Boone again said, "I don't have any idea what you are talking about."
A woman — not Jacoby — answering Jacoby's phone at Warehouse 1 did know about the sign thefts.
"Well, actually, those signs were there illegally, and if you'd notice, those signs have been removed by the city of Kansas City," she said.
Mabie's signs were illegally posted. Steve Barquist, Kansas City's manager of right-of-way inspections, says no signs other than authorized signs — traffic and street signs — can be in the right of way, which stretches 10 feet behind the curb.