Pawn Stars star Rick Harrison is facing some legal trouble, and it’s coming from someone his fans might least expect. Harrison’s mother, Joanne, filed suit against her son in a case involving the alleged mishandling of a family trust, valuables, ownership shares of their company, and other investments.
A description of the lawsuit provided by the Las Vegas Review-Journal stated that Richard Harrison, known in Pawn Stars as “The Old Man” prior to his death, and his wife Joanne Harrison opened the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in 1981. The couple are said to have created an operating entity for the business called G&S Coin Shop, in which Joanne owned 51%, and Richard owned 49%.
At some point in 2000 or 2001, Joanne Harrison spent time in the hospital recovering from a coma. The lawsuit alleges that Rick Harrison, her son, visited at this time and convinced her to sign over her 51% of shares to him, and she agreed though allegedly did not fully understand the situation. Not long after the hospital stay, Joanne learned what she did, though her husband Richard encouraged her to let the issue go and let Rick look over her shares. Years later, in 2009, Pawn Stars would start on television, starring Richard, Rick, Rick’s son Richard “Corey” Harrison, and a family friend Austin Lee Russell (also known as Chumlee), to name just some of those who would appear.
After Richard Harrison died in 2018, Joanne Harrison inherited his 49% stake in the business, but the lawsuit alleges that Rick Harrison failed to provide her with documentation of all business finances. The lawsuit further claims that Joanne believes her son “failed to issue distributions to Joanne commensurate with her proper equity interest in the Pawn Shop.” Richard Harrison allegedly also died with about $500,000 in silver and $100,000 cash in his name, but Joanne Harrison doesn’t have a proper accounting of those valuables.
Rick Harrision allegedly sent his mother payments of $25,000 every month from 2018 to the beginning of 2020, but in the early months of the year, cut her payments to $20,000. Then, when the pandemic hit, Joanne Harrison lost her payments altogether. The lawsuit alleges Rick Harrison (who divorced his wife in 2021) engaged in a breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty, and the suit seeks transparency, damages, and injunctions for all that occurred. Additionally, there’s a request for information on an “unexplained $3 million loan.”
A representative for Pawn Stars’ Rick Harrison initially commented on the lawsuit, saying the star had no idea about it. Harrison later followed up with the newspaper in an email and shared an official comment on the situation:
The comment doesn’t go any further to explain who or what parties are allegedly manipulating Joanne Harrison, though that might come to light should this suit continue.
Pawn Stars is still going strong on History and last aired a new episode from Season 19 back in January. You can also check out episodes on Hulu if you're so inclined and still waiting for some of the other new shows coming later this year.
Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.
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