Comedian Jay Leno is getting sued. The famous talk show host is in a legal battle over the true ownership of an antique 1931 Model J Duesenberg he purchased from an auction in 2005. The car was supposedly sold under false pretenses, the lawsuit claims.
Apparently, the car belonged to John Strauss, heir to the Macy’s department store empire. The estate of the Macy’s department store heir has issued the lawsuit. They claim the famous Manhattan Windsor garage stole the heir’s 1931 Model J Duesenberg and illegally sold it to Leno in 2005. The car had been parked there for more than 50 years until 2005, when the garage put it up for auction without Strauss’s knowledge, according to the lawsuit.
Still, this story has more to it. You see, the garage claimed they did indeed sell it, but only because Mr.Strauss owed them more than $29,000 in unpaid parking fees! The lawsuit states that the garage’s claims were a sham created to justify the sale of the vehicles.
“Notwithstanding the hundreds of thousands of dollars paid by Strauss to the garage over the years, these vehicles were purportedly auctioned off to satisfy certain relatively trivial parking bills,” the lawsuit says.
While Leno’s camp has yet to comment on the issue, it’s clear that he is upset. It has taken him years to find an intact Duesenberg and he was quite happy when he finally found it. It is reported he paid a healthy six-figure sum for the vehicle too. Hopefully this will all get resolved and Jay can go on to amass his awesome collection of rare cars.
These cars were the pinnacle of automotive design in their days so it’s no wonder Jay wanted one so badly.
Source: Automotive News
Photo: Black Hawk Collection