Dave Hester, who was one of the main personalities on Storage Wars before he allegedly got dropped from the show's currently-airing fourth-season episodes after complaining about the show's legitimacy to network and production executives, is now suing the A&E reality show, RadarOnline reported Tuesday.
As part of the five-count multi-million dollar lawsuit filed by Los Angeles attorney Marty Singer in California, Hester is claiming Storage Wars is rigged and has been engaging in "illegal activity" and "deceiving the public," according to the website.
"The truth is that Defendants regularly salt or plant the storage lockers that are the subject of the auctions portrayed on the Series with valuable or unusual items to create drama and suspense for the show," the suit reportedly alleges.
In the suit, Hester charged that producers staged entire units, the show pays for storage lockers for "weaker" cast members, the series gets items from businesses advertised on Storage Wars and then places them in the units, and the series plants items in the lockers post-appraisal, RadarOnline reported.
Hester also reportedly claims Storage Wars paid for a female cast member to undergo plastic surgery in order to hype up her sex appeal, features scripted interviews with cast members, and fakes scenes of bidding. According to the website, Hester is now seeking millions for breach of contract and wrongful termination in violation of public policy in addition to three other counts.
Some of Storage Wars' cast members, including Hester, allegedly voiced their concerns about how fake the show had become to the network and show executives in early September, but the executives -- which included A&E's senior vice president Neil Cohen, producer Jeff Bumgarner and Ernest Avila, the production company's executive vice president of business and legal affairs -- apparently dismissed the allegations.
"Bumgarner got angry and didn't want to hear anything more about salting units. Cohen admitted he was aware of the salting issue but didn't know the extent, as described by Hester. Avila identified two AETN executive who he indicated knew the scope of the salting issue and who had been aware that the storage units were salted from the beginning of the series," noted the lawsuit, according to RadarOnline.
Hester was then locked out of appearing in a few fourth-season episodes, which filmed in October, after his attorney Stephen Barnes reportedly sent Avila an September 18 letter in which Hester requested he be indemnified by Storage Wars for any third party complaints about the series' "authenticity of the auction process."
An A&E representative told RadarOnline, "We do not know about a lawsuit being filed and we do not comment on pending or threatened litigation."
The website reported the network had previously defended Storage Wars as being "100% real and not staged."
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