TRENTON, N.J. (CN) – An auction house sued Kobe Bryant, claiming he’s interfering with an auction of 100 items of his sports memorabilia for which it’s already paid his mother a $450,000 advance – which she spent.
Goldin Auctions sued Kobe Bryant in Federal Court. They are the only parties to the complaint.
Goldin, of West Berlin, N.J., claims it offered Pamela Bryant a $450,000 advance in January, and that if the June auction is canceled, “there are in excess of 900 items worth approximately $1.5 million in other collectibles set for auction not consigned by Pamela Bryant that will be in jeopardy of not being sold.”
Goldin Auctions claims that Pamela Bryant contacted auction house president Kenneth Goldin on Dec. 27, 2012 and offered to consign it got sale items from her son’s “childhood, high school basketball career and entry into the National Basketball Association.”
Included were Kobe Bryant’s Italian Rieti jersey, his 1996 High School McDonald’s All-American ring, a 2000 All-Star Game signed ball, a Lakers jacket and a team-issued 2000 Lakers championship ring, the complaint states.
“Defendant Kobe Bryant’s mother, Pamela Bryant, represented to Kenneth Goldin of Goldin Auctions that most of the sports memorabilia had been stored in her possession for over fifteen years. Pamela Bryant represented that five years ago, she put the items in a storage unit in New Jersey after Kobe Bryant indicated to Pamela Bryant that the items belonged to her and that he had no interest in them.”
Goldin claims it wired $450,000 her as an advance on Jan. 3, once they were in possession of the items.
“Pamela Bryant indicated that the money received from the advance was going to be immediately used to purchase a new home,” the complaint states.
“On April 30, 2013, Goldin Auctions issued a press release titled ‘Goldin Auctions Presents: The Kobe Bryant Collection.’ The press release indicated that the June 2013 auction would feature over 100 unique items from Kobe Bryant’s childhood, high school career and entry into the NBA, including championship rings, game-worn high school uniforms and much more. The press release indicates that the items have been consigned to auction by the Bryant family and will come with a signed letter of authenticity from Pamela Bryant.”
Goldin claims that the press release made national news. That very day, it claims, Kobe Bryant’s attorneys, Loeb & Loeb, sent a cease-and-desist letter.
“The letter demands (1) the immediate return of Kobe Bryant’s personal property, (2) ceasing any and all references to Kobe Bryant being involved in the consignment, and (3) assurances by May 1, 2013 that Goldin Auctions will immediately discontinue the June 2013 auction.”
Kenneth Goldin contacted Pamela Bryant, who was on a vacation in Thailand, and she assured him that the items legally belonged to her and that she had already used the advance to buy a home in Nevada, according to the complaint.
“Pamela Bryant also indicated that her son gave these items to her, stating, ‘Here mom, these are for you.’ When Kobe Bryant would come to Philadelphia to visit his mother, she would ask him if he wanted any of the sports memorabilia, to which he replied, ‘No.’ After Kobe Bryant got married, Pamela Bryant asked his wife (approximately 7-8 years ago) if she or Kobe wanted any of the sports memorabilia, to which Kobe’s wife replied that the items were from Kobe’s past and they did not want them. After that discussion, Kobe and his wife never discussed the items with Pamela again. Pamela packed up the items, and paid to store and insure them in West Berlin, New Jersey at a cost of $1,500 a month. Pamela Bryant indicated to Ken Goldin that Kobe Bryant has never demanded the return of any of the items, nor were they in any way improperly taken from Kobe Bryant without his permission.” (Parentheses in complaint.)
The auction house claims it will “suffer irreparable harm,” if the auction is canceled.
It seeks a temporary and preliminary injunction preventing Kobe Bryant from interfering with the June 2013 auction and a declaratory judgment stating that Goldin is the legal owner of the sports memorabilia.
It is represented by Jeffrey Cohen, with Flaster/Greenberg, of Cherry Hill, N.J.
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