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Television award tale has more twists and turns than an episode of ‘The Sopranos’

Bensonhurst man: I’m the source of the mystery Emmy, but I’m no TV star

Brooklyn Daily
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The plot thickens.

A man has stepped forward claiming to be the previous owner — but not the original owner — of the Emmy that a Bensonhurst singer and construction worker found in the trash near his 28th Avenue home two months ago and, now that the search for the statue’s source has sparked a media storm, the supposed former award-holder has a case of tosser’s remorse.

“Now that this whole thing is coming up, I’ve definitely been thinking maybe I shouldn’t have thrown it out,” said Thomas Fyfe, who claims to have bought the statuette at a yard sale 20 years ago.

Fyfe lived just down the street from Ishmael Cekic for three decades, until September, when he was forced to move after his building was sold, he said. The move forced him to cull the junk he had accumulated over the years, including the Emmy that he bought as a boy, he said.

The story of his finding the gold trophy may not be quite the glitzy epic Cekic was counting on when he set out on a quest to return the prize to its original owner last week.

As Fyfe tells it, he was walking down Bay 43rd Street with his mother in the early 1980s when they came across a stoop sale between Stillwell and Benson avenues.

“It’s weird, but I remember the day pretty clearly,” said Fyfe, who, at 32-years-old, would have been a teenager at the time. “There wasn’t a conversation on it — it was, ‘This is shiny. He likes it. How much?’ ”

His description of the item matches Cekic’s: an old, but handsome Emmy, with the band that would usually display the winner’s name missing from the base.

And the decision to toss it did not take much more thought.

“We had limited time to move, and we were throwing out whatever we didn’t need,” he said. “The Emmy had been sitting on my desk for 25 years — it was just collecting dust.”

So began Cekic’s roller-coaster relationship with the object. Cekic, an actor and vocalist, was walking down his block on Sept. 20, when a glint of gold caught his eye, he said. Further inspection revealed the prize, but at the time, he did not know what it was, he said. It was not until two days later, when he was watching the 2013 Emmy Awards, that the eureka moment occurred, according to him.

“I’ve always wanted to be an actor, so I watch the Emmys every year,” said Cekic. “So, I had the Emmy sitting on my coffee table, and then I saw the Emmy on the TV. I must have done three double-takes and then I yelled for my wife.”

Cekic turned to the media for help finding the award’s original owner last week, but Fyfe’s tale leaves him and us without much to go on. Fyfe is no small-screen star, and the stoop sellers did not strike him as show-biz types, he said. Not only that, but the supposed former owner said he does not want the item back.

“I think it would be distasteful if I asked for it back with all that’s going on,” Fyfe said.

So the Emmy seems to be stuck with Cekic for the time being. If it is any consolation to the self-proclaimed former owner, the laborer with artistic aspirations said that he recently turned down an offer of $10,000 for the iconic piece.

“I told him I’m not interested in selling, that I want to find the owner,” said Cekic. “He said to give me a call back if I change my mind.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.
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