After just three Flea Market Wars events, school district officials have pulled the plug, with unraveling facts about the show and its producer creating some buyer’s remorse.
The setting for the show — a flea market in the parking lot of James Logan High School in Union City — officially kicked off April 29 and was set to film every Sunday. The concept was meant to build off the popularity of similar shows like Pawn Stars and Storage Wars. Crowds were growing. Buzz was buzzing.
Flea Market Wars’ producer, Michael Gouveia, promised to bring in celebrities to buy items from competing vendors, and even said the popular A&E show Storage Wars would donate storage units to be auctioned off.
It all sounded great — until the New Haven Unified School District cut the cord on the show. And just as quickly as it had started, Flea Market Wars unraveled and serious questions were exposed about the show and its producer.
Though crowds grew in size each week, after the first Sunday marketgoers never reported seeing any cameras. And nobody ever reported seeing anything close to an actual celebrity.
According to district spokesman Rick LaPlante, Gouveia hadn’t paid the proper district rental fees and didn’t provide any insurance documentation necessary to tape the show. Gouveia was supposed to pay $800 per week, plus additional weekly custodial costs of $120, La Plante said.
The district released a statement saying:
“The New Haven Unified School District has terminated its relationship with the individual who was renting the James Logan High School parking lot on Sunday mornings to run a flea market that he said he was having filmed for a “Flea Market Wars” television pilot. The individual failed to provide requested insurance documentation and has not paid his rental fees.”
This is where it starts to get fuzzy.
Maggie Nye, a spokesperson for Original Productions, which produces Storage Wars, said the company has “absolutely no knowledge of Michael Gouveia.” Furthermore, a production manager for Storage Wars added that the show’s producers have never donated storage units and have also never heard of “Flea Market Wars.”
Eagle-eyed readers might notice Gouveia’s last name is spelled differently from SFBay’s previous story on Flea Market Wars. In April, Gouveia confirmed with Union City Patch that the spelling of his last name was “Gouvea.” However, according to the New Haven School District, the name on file is “Gouveia.”
A typo? Perhaps. It also may or may not be coincidental that a Google search of “Michael Gouveia” returns results for someone in the area with a criminal background. A “Michael Gouveia” from San Leandro pleaded guilty in 2005 for scamming eBay customers out of more than $30,000 by auctioning non-existent Mickey Mantle and Michael Jordan rookie cards.
The Facebook page for Flea Market Wars Facebook page — since removed — said that Gouveia worked at A&E Networks as an Executive Producer. Before being taken down, The page had said “disagreements with the New Haven Unified School District and the City” forced them to stop filming.
A comment posted on Facebook by Flea Market Wars had read:
“This had nothing to do with insurance forms. Those were sent in and paid in full over a month ago.”
Regardless of any other claims by Gouveia, residents say the cancellation of Flea Market Wars is a loss for the community. Gouveia had originally said he planned to donate the proceeds to school district, but since there isn’t any real show being filmed, it looks like there won’t be any real money donated.