PHOENIX (CN) – An auto auction company allowed rock star Alice Cooper to misrepresent that he owned a 1970 Oldsmobile and auction it off with a forged title, the car’s owner claims in court.
Steven Mehta sued the Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction Co., Alice Cooper and his wife, the Solid Rock Foundation, Chip Saggau and Personal Auto Service Specialist, on Jan. 15 in Maricopa County Court.
Mehta says he asked Saggau if he could sell Mehta’s 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W40 for him.
Saggau told Mehta that Alice Cooper was a friend of his, and would “from time to time” help him sell cars at Barrett-Jackson, according to the complaint.
Mehta claims Saggau told him that “on prior occasions, Cooper would represent to the public that the cars Saggau was trying to sell were in fact part of Cooper’s personal collection. Saggau reported that it was his experience that Cooper’s celebrity status would bring a higher winning bid.”
Mehta says Saggau told him he would auction off the Oldsmobile with Cooper’s help. He says Saggau promised to pay him $30,000, to take $5,000 for himself, and to split any money left over.
And, Mehta claims, Saggau said he would give part of his proceeds to Cooper’s Solid Rock Foundation, a Christian-based organization that provides at-risk youth with after school arts programs.
Mehta says he delivered the Olds to Saggau and Cooper on Jan. 16 without a signed title, and refused to sign the title until their agreement was in writing. He says he and Cooper talked before the auction about how Cooper was selling the car.
Cooper drove the Oldsmobile onto the stage at the auction that day with an autographed photo of him inside it, “and through his words and actions represented that it was his,” the lawsuit states.
The car sold for $38,500. Mehta says Barrett Jackson “aided and abetted the conversion of the vehicle” by transferring the title to the purchaser and misrepresenting that it belonged to Cooper. “The title was then forged during the process when the vehicle was transferred to the purchaser, defendant John Doe number 1,” according to the complaint.
Mehta says he complained to Barrett Jackson “that the vehicle was in fact stolen by false pretenses and a forged title,” but the auction company is “hiding and protecting the location of the car and identity of purchaser.”
He says the sale money went to Saggau, and/or Barrett Jackson, and/or Cooper and/or the Solid Rock Foundation.
Mehta wants the car back, and punitive damages for conversion, fraud, negligence and aiding and abetting.
He is represented by Robert Lewis, who did not respond to a request for comment. Nor did Solid Rock Foundation.
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