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Dave Hester's suing A&E over Storage Wars? Yuuup!
A&E's Storage Wars follows a group of people who earn money by purchasing abandoned storage units at auctions and rummaging through them in the hopes of finding valuable treasures. Among the original cast members of the unscripted series is "The Mogul" Dave Hester, consignment store owner and archrival to fellow storage unit treasure hunter Darrell Sheets. Hester is reportedly suing the network and Original Productions over the show, after being fired over comments he made about the show.
One of the great things about Storage Wars is seeing the cast members discover unexpected valuable goods amidst what seems like a mess of garbage in a storage unit. During the initial auction, they can look into the storage units, but they can't actually dig around in them before bidding, so they never really know what they're buying until they go through it. Whoever bids has to hope that whatever's inside is worth more than they're paying. The show tallies up the estimated value of the findings in each episode to show who came out on top and who lost money (and wasted a lot of time digging through someone's old, unwanted junk).
According to EW Hester filed a suit in Los Angeles Superior Court claiming that he was fired from the series after he made light of its "outrageous conduct." Hester's lawsuit cites examples of the show's alleged fraud, including an episode where a pile of newspapers announcing Elvis' death was discovered, and another having to do with a BMW mini that was buried under a bunch of trash. The lawsuit also said, "When Hester complained to producers that A&E’s fraudulent conduct of salting and staging the storage lockers was possibly illegal, he was fired."
His suit seeks damages in excess of $750,000 from the show.
I'm all for exposing the truth in situations like these, especially in the case of a show like this, which pretty much relies on those big finds (or big losses), in addition to the personalities of the cast members and their dynamic, particularly during the bidding. Since it sounds like the cast would actually benefit from this staging - assuming it only involves adding treasures to the units and not omitting them, or adding empty boxes for expensive electronics or something to mislead the people into over-bidding - it seems like Hester got busted for either exposing the show's secrets or making them up (depending on what the truth is) and was let go for it. Now he wants to cash in.
We'll have to see what develops from this and if any other cast members from the series come forward, either to deny Hester's claims or to support them.