A fired “Storage Wars” star has filed a lawsuit against A&E and the reality show’s producers, claiming they committed “fraud on the public” through an alleged “intent to deceive” the show’s audience.
On the show, Dave Hester, 47, was one of seven principal cast members who travel to public auctions across California where they bid against each other to obtain the contents of abandoned storage lockers, which they then resell through their own venues.
Hester alleges that the show’s producers often added “valuable or unusual items” to storage lockers to “add dramatic effect, even going so far as to stage entire storage units.”
“Nearly every aspect of the series is faked, even down to the plastic surgery that one of the female cast members underwent in order to create more ‘sex appeal’ for the show,” Hester contends in the 14-page complaint.
An example of one item Hester alleges was placed in a storage facility by producers was a valuable painting by impressionist Jack Wilkinson Smith. Hester, who paid $750 for the entire unit, said he was able to resell the painting for $155,000.
In another episode, a mini BMW was found beneath a pile of what appeared to be trash.
Hester, who is seeking more than $750,000 in damages, is suing for wrongful termination, breach of contract, breach of good faith and fair dealing, unfair business practices, and declaratory relief.
The complaint claims that Hester’s termination occurred after he “complained to producers that A&E’s fraudulent conduct of salting and staging the storage lockers was possibly illegal.”
A&E has yet to comment on the pending litigation.
Known on the show as “The Mogul,” Hester is a 26-year veteran in the buying business. He claims in the complaint that due to the demands of working on the series he had to close his storefronts and resort to reselling items online via eBay, Amazon.com, and Craigslist.
Hester is seeking a jury trial.
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