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Flea Market Reality TV Show Not So Real After All?

James Logan High School, the filming site, pulls plug on wannabe TV show after not getting paid, school officials say. And some of the things Producer Michael Gouveia has told Union City Patch don’t quite add up.

Updated May 24, 9:21 a.m.

It was kind of a cool concept — a reality show about a flea market with the promise of celebrity guests — and it was being filmed at supposedly for a major TV network.

, launched April 29, seemed to be growing in popularity, say attendees, and last Sunday's event included a car show and some food trucks. The show's producer and organizer of the flea market even said he would be auctioning off storage units donated by popular A&E reality show Storage Wars. [Ed.'s note: The Facebook post has since been deleted, but a screen shot is included in the photo gallery.]

But on Wednesday the school district pulled the plug on the wannabe show, issuing a press release stating that show producer Michael Gouveia wasn’t paying the district rental fees and had failed to present insurance documentation, according to district spokesman Rick La Plante.

The district’s statement:

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.

Neither the District nor Logan High was involved in running the event.

Gouveia was to pay $800 per week, plus additional weekly custodial costs of $120, La Plante said.

In addition, a few of the things Gouveia has told Union City Patch don’t quite add up.

Maggie Nye, a spokesperson for Original Productions, which produces Storage Wars, said the company has “absolutely no knowledge of Michael Gouveia.” A production manager for Storage Wars also said the show’s producers have never donated storage units and have also never heard of “Flea Market Wars.”

Gouveia declined to speak with Union City Patch, saying he only would comment with an attorney recording the conversation.

One issue is over the spelling of his last name.

In an April 24 email exchange with Union City Patch, Gouveia confirmed the spelling of his last name as “Gouvea.” However, according to the New Haven School District, the name on file is “Gouveia.”

The misspelling of the last name, which could have been a typo on his behalf (see attached screenshot of author’s email inbox), is key because a Google search of “Michael Gouveia” turns up a link to someone with that name who has a criminal background.

A “Michael Gouveia” from San Leandro pleaded guilty in September 2005 for scamming EBay customers of more than $34,000 after auctioning non-existent Mickey Mantle and Michael Jordan rookie cards.

According to online federal court records, that Michael Gouveia was sentenced by a U.S. Disrict Court in San Jose to eight months in federal prison and three years supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $34,792.40 in restitution.

In an interview with Patch last month, Gouveia said he was a Los Angeles-based producer but would not comment on his previous work history. He said then that he selected Union City after scouting various locations in the Bay Area.

But the New Haven Unified School District lists a San Ramon address for him and has a San Leandro P.O. box on file from when he filled out his initial paperwork.

The Flea Market Wars Facebook page, which was briefly taken down, noted that Gouveia “Worked at A+E Networks (Executive Producer).” (See attached screenshot.) The reference has since been removed from the Facebook page.

LinkedIn profile for a “Mike Gouveia” lists him as a Los Angeles-based executive producer at RealityWorldTV. There's a RealityWorldTV Twitter account listing the same 310 area code phone number used to promote Flea Market Wars in tweets to a porn star and various models soliciting donations for a church. The Twitter page account holder signs some of his tweets with “Mike."

That Twitter page has since been deleted following Union City Patch's report.

Regardless of Gouveia’s mysterious history, the cancellation of Flea Market Wars is a loss for the community, residents said.

Union City resident John Celestre said he’d gone to each of the three Flea Market Wars events with his 80-year-old mother.

“It was growing every week. It would double in size,” Celestre said. “Everyone seemed to be having a good time. I kept seeing people spending money. Everyone was buying. It was just nice to see that.”

Like many others, Celestre was upset to see an announcement on the Flea Market Wars Facebook page that cited “disagreements with the New Haven Unified School District and the City” as the reason for the end of the filming.

Later, on Wednesday afternoon, a post on the Flea Market Wars Facebook page was made that alleged their agreement was for the school district “to receive a percentage of the success of the pilot. In return, Flea Market Wars would rent out the parking lot until the end of the 2012 year.” The poster said a district employee made the deal with Flea Market Wars without receiving authority from his superiors.

“This had nothing to do with insurance forms. Those were sent in and paid in full over a month ago,” read a comment posted by Flea Market Wars on Facebook.

In the previous Patch interview, Gouveia had touted his filming concept as “incredible.” “Not only does it help the school district, it brings the community together,” he said.

The show was pitched to have a similar concept as Storage Wars but with a slight twist. Each weekend, a celebrity guest was to attend the flea market and pick an item from five different vendors for less than $20 a piece. Those purchases were to be appraised for their value at the end of each episode.

At the end of the season, the celebrity guest who made the most profit from their purchases would receive $50,000 to be given to a charity and the top five vendors who sold the items of greatest value would receive $50,000 to split amongst them, according to Gouveia.

But according to market goers, there were no celebrities or cameras.

Juan Lecaros, owner of, sold goods at the Flea Market Wars each week. He said two cameramen were present the first week, but he hadn't seen them since.

“[Gouveia] seemed legit. He seemed like a nice guy,” Lecaros said. “The whole reason I was doing it was if it was legit, it’d be another outlet for the store to get noticed.”

“It’s like any other flea market, you pay for your spot and sell what you have,” Lecaros said.

He said Gouveia had waived the $30 vending fee for him the last two weeks and told him he might be one of the vendors featured on the television show.

Celestre said he was eager to round up some of his belongings to sell this weekend before learning of the cancellation Tuesday night.

“I was hoping it would grow larger, and we would have fun with it,” Celestre said.

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Laurie May 24, 2012 at 02:59 AM
Who is running this city and school? Didn't anyone investigate to see if this was real?Just take someones word for it? Greed always clouds common sense.
Johnny C. May 24, 2012 at 04:20 AM
Well I hope a reputable Vender will take over and reinstate the James Logan High Flea Market ,I thought it was great for the community myself !
Rita May 24, 2012 at 06:09 AM
I was looking forward to this Sunday I think this flea market was a great idea for our community I hope we can some how continue this fleamarket to raise money for Logan .
True Gentleman May 24, 2012 at 06:20 AM
So here's the scam: 1) Promote and pubilicize to a small trustworthy communinity a reality tv show, where the top five vendors have a chance at winning $10,000.00 each. 2) Select a finacial suffering and vulnerable school district High School parking lot that will charge a minimal rental of only $800.00 or less a week for the location. 2) Charge each vendor a $30.00 "vendor fee" 3) Lure 75 to 100 vendors to rent space each weekend and collect $2,250-$3,000 in rental space. 5) Use cameras to appear a reality tv show is being filmed. 6) After cost, profit is approximately $1,200- $2,000.00 in one day for doing nothing but subleasing a high school parking lot. This is why no celebrities or cameras (except for the first date) were ever seen. I'm glad to hear the school district officials caught on.
Monica May 24, 2012 at 06:23 AM
Maybe there's a way we can still have it?? To bad this would have been so great for our community.
Edward May 24, 2012 at 06:32 AM
If California Sales tax was not collected, from the sellers, James Logan High School could be left with a Tax bill and a fine. This is a scam to collect Sales Tax and hurt James Logan High School. The Proof will be in the "Footage". Don't fall for this INS and Sate Board of Equalization TRAP. (first posted on April 26, 2012 but everybody wanted to believe....Like measure "H"..They think a 12 million dollar measure can pull 44 million dollars out of a hat.)
Edward May 24, 2012 at 06:36 AM
http://unioncity.patch.com/articles/flea-market-wars-reality-show-to-be-filmed-in-union-city#comment_3160878...I said it sounded fishy back then but everybody wanted to "BELIEVE". (a little X files music here).
Edward May 24, 2012 at 06:37 AM
If the School District wanted to raise money outside of taxing homeowners with Measure "H", this could be a great way people could sell items they don't want or need and donatge 50% of the procedes to the NHUSD.
Danny L. May 24, 2012 at 06:43 AM
Really sad situation, not just for Union City and the school district, but also for the many individuals and small businesses that were hoping to have a regular place to sell their wares and make a living. Times are so tough, and we all were really hopeful and invested in making the market (and tv show) a success. We're all victims of this guy, and, yes, very naive.
Edward May 24, 2012 at 06:56 AM
There is nothing that says the school district could not carry this on through the summer, but, have the Logan Boosters run it to raise money for their after school activities. Just do it legaly, collect the sales taxes and have a lot of fun doing it. Every year Firework Stands go up on the site. Why not do more like this flee market Idea outside of the original promoter?
Edward May 24, 2012 at 07:09 AM
How about the people who run the "Fireworks Stands" for the James Logan Football or Baseball? Instead of just 5 days of fireworks sales, they could have 52 Sundays of vender rentals plus their fireworks sales. If everyone, who wanted measure "H" to pass, showed up and brought in their old unused items or their crafts and set up tables with $30.00 donations, just hink of all the community support that could be built up. It would also show the NHUSD can think "outside the TAX box" for keeping programs going. In fact, if it took off, a "REAL" reality producer might make a documentary of this. It could get some good press and some good financial donations to boot.
Edward May 24, 2012 at 07:14 AM
It could, if you could get the Logan Boosters that run the "Fireworks Stands" and other fund raisers to sponsor the event each Sunday. "Street Eats" is working and the "Sunday Parking lot flea market" was working because the Venders were working. You just need a legitimate sponsor.
Zoneil Maharaj May 24, 2012 at 07:30 AM
The Twitter page for @RealityWorldTV that we linked to and have screenshots of has been deleted. However, the Flea Market Wars Facebook page is up and running again, but without the last several posts about the cancellation of the show, the note of "Worked at A+E Networks," and the May 18 post about auctioning storage units donated by Storage Wars -- all of which we took screen shots of and have included in the above image gallery.
Robert Swartz May 24, 2012 at 02:47 PM
I have a valid CA. State Resale License - had to show it and pay a higher fee to be there Last Sunday - they charged me $35 for 1 space - paid via PayPal online. I pay CA sales tax on my sales - but I don't show or 'Charge" my customers on site - just comes out of the total sales.
Jennifer van der Kleut May 24, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Scandalous! Great reporting Zoneil!
Tonya F May 24, 2012 at 07:33 PM
the patch has remover all the postings by Flea market wars. The truth hurts
Tonya F May 24, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Please go to Flea Market Wars facebook page for the true story. http://www.facebook.com/FleaMarketWars
Tonya F May 24, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Why would the patch remove the whole story from Flea Market Wars. I thought this was an open forum. Who are you protecting??? and why???
Publius May 24, 2012 at 10:13 PM
You called it, Edward. You should be proud of your Spidey Sense.
Johnny May 25, 2012 at 04:52 AM
Scam or no scam, the event was good for union city and I really hope the city will sponsor a weekly flea market and farmers market at Logan High. We were there one weekend, paid $30 for a spot and sold about $600 worth of stuff. And this is stuff from our garage that we no longer want or needed.
Don May 28, 2012 at 06:02 AM
Hmmm... Remember "Music Man"?
Edward May 28, 2012 at 07:20 AM
Yes, and in the end the comunity was better off for comming together and supporting their musicians. Could that mean that the Flea Market idea is a good one? Could the School District raise money for programs without the "music Man"?
lol edward June 23, 2012 at 06:02 PM
LOL EDWARD, are you some kind of left wing paranoid nut job? Do you have aluminum foil lined around your room ? HAHAHA Oh no! Watch out, the government is going to get you becuase of the 5 second video clip of you having your stuff on display!" " This is a big sting operation! The government is setting you guys up! You're not paying your taxes!" GTFO nutjob.

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