Dave Hester, ex-Costa Mesa Thrift-Store Mogul, Sues TV's “Fake” Storage Wars for Firing Him

During a recent Nerdist podcast interview, Tom Hanks went on and on about how A&E's Storage Wars is his favorite reality TV show.

Actually, the Academy Award-winning actor should refer to Storage Wars as his favorite fictional program, according to a lawsuit filed by Dave Hester, an original cast member and proprietor of the now shuttered Newport Consignment Gallery & Rags to Riches thrift store in Costa Mesa.

Filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court against A&E, Storage Wars producer Original Productions, LLC and 10 named people, Hester's multi-million dollar lawsuit claims that when he complained about staged portions of the show being phony, he was fired.

The cable network, which originally denied the existence of the suit because it had not seen one, is so far withholding comment.

For those who have missed Storage Wars, it follows in-the-know buyers who turn up at auctions storage unit providers hold after renters fail to make payments for three straight months. Bidding begins after a metal door is opened, but other than the junk/treasures visible from outside, the entire contents remain a mystery.

But they are not all a mystery, according to Hester's suit, which accuses producers of planting valuable items to up the drama. The Northern California native also claims in court documents that bidding was rigged as was a female cast member, who allegedly received cosmetic surgery from producers to make her more appealing to viewers.

Known locally for years as “The Mogul” at his thrift store that faced Newport Boulevard just north of 19th Street in Costa Mesa–it's the site of the tiki-rific Newport Surf shop these days–Hester has been involved in another legal tussle over his former role on Storage Wars. Attorneys for rapper/singer Trey Songz sent Hester a cease-and-desist ordering him to stop using his catchphrase, “YUUUP!”

That was the call Hester used when he made bids on Storage Wars. But, according to Songz, he and his audience used it before that during call-and-response portions of his concerts. The deal is, Hester and Songz were using the same spelling and exclamation mark on hats and clothing their were retailing.

Hester sued Songz in November 2011, alleging the rapper's “animal-like and non-human squeal” interfered with the junk collector's use of “YUUUP!,” which he was trying to trademark. Songz counter-sued Hester last April, and the two sides settled before a New York judge in June without disclosing the terms of their agreement.

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