Julien's Auctions, a Los Angeles company set to auction off more than 2,000 of pop singer Michael Jackson's possessions in April, is being sued by the entertainer's production company for failing to return certain "priceless and irreplaceable items."
According to the lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Jackson's MJJ Productions Inc. had been promised an inventory of items that it has not been given. Among the many items in the auction are stage-worn costumes, memorabilia, fine art and furniture.
Darren Julien, chief executive of the auction house, is in Ireland on tour with some of the items, but in an email response to Business Journal inquiries he said he is shocked by the lawsuit.
"This is all news to us," Julien said. "If it is true and he is stating that there are items he does not want sold, why would he have ever given us the items in the first place? We are an auction house and that is all that we do. We are not a mover or storage facility."
Julien was first contacted by Jackson's manager last summer and has since toured the singer's 2,700-acre home known as Neverland Ranch. Julien said he has been in frequent contact with both Jackson and his manager in order to catalog the items, and as recently as a few days ago has set aside pieces that the singer asked not be sold.
"We have been accommodating any requests made by Michael Jackson for the past eight months," Julien said, adding that he plans to try to contact Jackson's representatives Thursday.
Julien, who founded the company in 2003, has managed previous auctions for high-profile celebrities including Cher and Barbra Streisand.
Julien is currently touring several cities in Europe to garner international interest in the auction, slated for April 22-25 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
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