Media outlets are reporting that Tonight Show host and noted car collector Jay Leno is being sued by the estate of a Macy’s department store heir over a 1931 Duesenberg Model J that he bought from a New York City garage in 2005.
Leno purchased the Duesenberg and a 1930 Rolls-Royce for $180,000 from the garage, which allegedly claimed the owner failed to pay his bill, according to a complaint filed yesterday in New York State Supreme Court. Wendy Lubin, daughter of late Macy’s executive John Straus, sued Leno, his company Big Dog Productions Inc., and the Windsor Garage where Straus parked the cars for more than 50 years, according to the complaint.
The estate alleged that, after Straus rejected Leno’s offer to purchase the Duesenberg, the comedian entered into a “sham” transaction with the garage to buy the car.
“Notwithstanding the hundreds of thousands of dollars paid by Straus to the garage over the years, these vehicles were purportedly auctioned off to satisfy certain relatively trivial parking bills,” Lubin and the estate said in the complaint.
Bruce Bronster, a lawyer for Leno and the garage, said, “The allegations will be proven in a court of law to be untrue. Mr. Leno bought the car in good faith after a lien sale for fair market value and only recently heard of these allegations.”
The Duesenberg and Rolls Royce “were stored in several of my clients’ garages,” Bronster said. “Over a period of years, the owner became extremely delinquent in the payment of storage fees. Repeated efforts to bring the account current were unavailing, leading to a lien sale to cover the monies due.”