Guest Post: Former Star Claims Storage Wars is Fake

By Eve Pearce

Storage Wars has enjoyed a phenomenal degree of success since it first hit the screens in 2010. An episode of season two attracted 5.1 million viewers, making it the most popular program in the A&E Network’s history at that point. The show features auctioneers and buyers in action and has created a boom in the popularity of the storage auction industry. Unfortunately recent revelations by former star David Hester shed doubt upon its claim to depict real life situations. He is accusing the makers of the series of unlawfully firing him when he questioned whether or not their actions were legal, which poses the question, ‘How real is reality TV?’

The Allegations

Storage Wars has been a mixed blessing to those within the industry. On the one hand, it has inspired people all over the country to become buyers. After all, what better way to advertise a job in the storage auctions industry is there than to air a show depicting excited buyers competing for the best lots? The downside is that this has made these auctions a lot more competitive, which has affected some buyers’ livelihoods. Whatever your views on the program, most would agree that it makes for avid viewing. However few people possess a desire to watch reality TV that isn’t actually based on reality. Hester alleges that virtually every aspect of the show is fake. He says that the producers regularly plant items in the storage units and have even staged entire storage units.

Punitive Damages

Hester is accusing the series producers of unfair business practices, wrongful termination and breach of contract, among other charges. He filed his lawsuit in a Los Angeles Superior Court on 12th December and stated that the show obtains antiques and memorabilia from the Off the Wall Antiques Company, which is featured regularly in the program. He is asking for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damages and argues that the producers’ conduct warrants the imposition of punitive damages as a means of punishing them and preventing them from treating the cast of future shows in a similar manner.

Popularity Unlikely to Decline

Hester’s lawsuit makes reference to questions that the public have previously posed about whether items were placed in storage units and quotes a statement that the A&E Network made on the matter claiming that no aspects of the show are staged. ‘The items uncovered in the storage units are the actual items featured on the show,’ a network representative told ABC News. If Hester’s claims are revealed to be true then this means that the network willfully deceived the public. However media experts have predicted that the show is likely to remain popular even if it is proven to be fraudulent. Editor of the Hollywood Reporter Michael O’Connor points out that a certain amount of staging is to be expected in reality shows for logistical reasons. He says that Storage Wars gets such huge ratings that the likelihood is that it will not see a decline in viewers.

Implications

It is one thing airing a show that accurately depicts people finding hidden treasures at storage auctions but exaggerating the amount of valuable items that are usually found is an entirely different matter. If the producers of Storage Wars have indeed planted antiques and memorabilia in storage units then this means that they have falsely advertised the attractiveness of the industry and drawn a sea of buyers that has increased competition. Other reality TV shows have managed to survive allegations of ‘faking it’. The Discovery Channel’s Man vs. Wild faced criticism after a crewmember accused Bear Grylls of booking into hotel rooms and lying about ‘roughing it’ and the TLC show Breaking Amish was slated for allegedly faking the backgrounds of its stars. Both of these programs remained popular in spite of the controversy that surrounded them. Whether Storage Wars will do the same remains to be seen but one thing is for certain: those within the storage auction industry will not be happy with the producers if they are deemed to have acted in a fraudulent manner. Hester would not escape blame either, as it would mean that he had gone along with a fake show for several series.

Storage Wars Bio: Darrell Sheets “The Gambler”

The senior member of another father and son auction hunting duo, Darrell Sheets “The Gambler” has laid claim to some pretty hefty scores in his years of sifting through storage units. Some of his biggest finds include a letter that was found to have been written by president Abraham Lincoln, which netted him $15k, in addition to a couple of paintings by Picasso. Darrell came upon storage auctions when he was 20 years old, after being fired from a landscaping job that simply didn’t fit his personality.

Laying down cash on delinquent storage lockers, however, was something else entirely. Since appearing on Storage Wars, Sheets has been absolutely blown away by the show’s fans and the general response they’re getting. He never expected this kind of publicity or success for something that seemed to be a relatively quiet little niche. As opposed to the other professional buyers on the show, Darrell has made a name for himself by taking bigger risks and taking them more often.

The reason for this is that Darrell looks at storage auctions differently than his competitors. Whereas Barry, Brandi, Jarrod and even Dave might work by the day, trying to only spend what they must in order to turn a profit, Darrell works by the month. If he’s a few grand up by the end of the month, it’s been a successful one, all told. This means that Darrell will keep on buying and laying out cash even when the competition isn’t quite as eager to jump on a unit.

This is not to suggest that Darrell is simply shooting in the dark and hoping for good luck. He applies the same perceptive experience, savvy and good buyer’s judgment when it comes to selecting one storage unit as opposed to another. Sheets has mentioned he likes “clean” looking units without too many dusty footprints or indications of grime because it means that the original owner most likely boxed up and secured valuables and goods they cared about, but then through some twist of fate lost their ability to access it.

Darrell and Brandon Sheets Pose on Storage Wars After a Big Score

Darrell calls these kinds of lockers “virgin units” because of their cleanliness. On the contrary, he feels that units that have mud and boots tracked all over them have likely been used semi-recently as an outpost for their original tenant and it’s far less likely that he’ll find something spectacular tucked away that the owner never intended to give up. In fact, one of Darrell’s favorite tell-tale signs to look for is whether or not the tenant paid a professional moving company to install their stuff in their storage locker.

People that pay professional movers are able to pay professional rates, which means they have good stuff. It also means they might have been using the storage locker as a staging area for getting into a new home or out of an old one, and that there could be some hefty estate valuables tucked away inside. When the locker door rolls up and Darrell has scanned through all of his go-to signs, he finally trusts his gut. “If I want it, I get it,” Darrell says. In fact, Darrell’s nickname is fitting in that he has described storage auction hunting as the kind of roller-coaster ride that you just can’t get off once you’ve experienced your first high.

Darrell claims to have experienced about 20 truly excellent and lucrative storage auction lockers in his time, and he says that the feeling of getting one of those lockers has been enough to propel him through this industry for 20 solid years. Turning $3,000 into $100,000 in a week or too is just too sweet to walk away from according to Sheets.

Here’s a video of a fan spending some time with The Gambler if you want to get an up-close look at his big personality.

 

The Top 10 Hottest Pictures of Sexy Brandi Passante


There’s no denying it: Brandi Passante is Storage War’s resident hottie, and she’s drumming up quite a fan base of her own. It’s safe to say that a good number of fellas fond of watching Storage Wars are mostly tuning in to see Brandi show off her next short skirt and tight top.

Brandi is a curvy girl with an ample bust and shapely figure. She usually shows off her boobs by wearing tight fitting tops. She’s also fond of letting her low scoop necks show off her sizable cleavage.

Brandi Passante Showing Off Her Massive Cleavage

Here’s Brandi paying up for a storage unit she and Jarrod have just won.

Her dress has certainly been adjusted to display her assets.The wide black belt also helps to push Brandi’s boobs up into view.

Brandi usually dresses casually for interviews on Storage Wars and whenever she’s working at her and Jarrod’s thrift store Rags to Riches.

But it’s not uncommon to see Brandi turn up to a new episode and a new auction dressed to kill. She favors simple but elegant dresses that show off her naturally attractive body without going too far over the top. She has a definite California Girl style going on.

Next up, we’ve got Brandi in a playful devilish mood, during an interview with the filming crew. Whenever Brandi gets up close to the camera for a one on one it’s easier to get a sense of her sweet personality and charming disposition.

Cute Brandi is in a spunky mood on the set of Storage WarsShe sometimes gives her partner Jarrod a pretty harsh talking to whenever she feels he’s overpaid for a unit, but there are also plenty of moments where her innate sweetness shines through.

Brandi seems to have gotten up to some kind of mischief in this shot and she’s holding a hand up to her face to conceal a wry smile.

Many of her young male fans have taken note of Brandi’s large breasts, but in truth she has a the whole package with a classic hourglass figure.

Here’s a picture that truly shows off Brandi’s boobs as she wears a tight black tanktop and leans up against a storage unit while taking a phone call.

Brandi Passante's Giant Boobies

Here our storage queen is sporting some brown retro tinted sunglasses, a revealing spaghetti strap top and a long pendant necklace. Talk about looking hot without even trying!

Brandi doesn’t seem particularly happy in this photo, but that’s O.K. She’s also plenty attractive when she’s just a little bit mad.

When Brandi isn’t on the scene making big purchases and sifting through storage auction units looking for buried treasure, she’s a mother two her and Jarrod’s two children.

The couple has stated that their real interest in storage auctions and their thrift store lies in being able to provide for their family and attain financial freedom. What’s sexier than a beautiful woman with a strong drive?

Next up in our countdown of the sexiest Brandi Passante photos is this little gem that shows our girl in a full-on headshot. Although Brandi usually has a soft and playful appearance, her facial features are actually quite striking in this picture.

A striking head-on photograph of brandi passanteHer hair is dirty blonde and her dark brown eyes are very round and soulful. Her face is capable of great expression.

This is a very beautiful portrait style photograph that shows off Brandi’s naked and open gaze.

She’s not the kind of girl that needs a lot of make-up and concealer to look good. Much of her charm comes from her natural un-fussed style.

This picture is proof that some simple lip gloss and a set of hoop earrings is all that Brandi needs to let her natural beauty shine through.

Brandi probably gets some cute points for being one of the underdogs, too. She has the least significant financial assets of all the Storage Wars buyers.

It is estimated that Brandi is worth about $700 thousand all told, but this is really not much compared to some of the multi-millions that her competitors are slinging around.

Brandi and Jarrod just need to put in some more time and keep on doing their best to make careful purchases and they’ll soon have an even greater nest egg socked away.

Here’s a candid shot of Brandi lounging back in a director’s chair and getting comfortable. Part of Brandi’s allure is the fact that she seems like a real person. She’s escaped the common celebrity pitfall of seeming plastic and unreal. Brandi’s wearing a simple green dress here but still looking hot as ever.

brandi lounging around on Storage WarsThere’s no need to play the unattainable goddess at all times, and even when Brandi is fired up and irritated she still seems like a real person.

Brandi’s working her way up into a “so what” expression while casually lounging back in this fold-out director’s chair. It’s anyone’s guess what she’s talking about.

Although she’s occasionally guilty of being whiny, Brandi also has plenty of fun on the show and that makes us like her all the more.

She seems the least likely of all the buyers to result to downright jerky tactics like running up a unit’s bid price just to torment the buyer that actually wants it. We’re looking at you, Dave Hester.

And now for something completely tasteless. Here’s a close-up of Brandi’s chest. Now we understand why the demographics of Storage Wars viewers are skewed strongly to the 18-25 year old male crowd…

Brandi's Big BoobsBrandi’s physical measurements have been the topic of frenzied speculation for some time now, but there has yet to emerge a definitive answer regarding her bust size.

For now, the reality will have to remain a mystery, although it’s pretty clear that Brandi does not have breast implants.

This is a screen capture from one of the episodes of Storage Wars where Brandi is standing in the hall and discussing a unit purchase with Jarrod.

Here’s an elegant full-length shot that shows off Brandi’s long legs. Her dress and make-up are understated which is all the more indication of her natural beauty. She doesn’t need to spend hours in front of a mirror to look presentable, but has a nice natural glow from living in California and soaking up the sun.

Full length feature photograph of Brandi PassanteShe’s got a bit of a stern face on in this image, but it’s all for show as she poses to look tough enough to hang with all the other auction buyers.

Brandi has a versatile look thanks to her light features and dirty blonde hair. She can pull of a wide range of outfits and colors, though some argue she looks her best in darker tones.

One thing’s for sure: we appreciate the effort that Brandi puts into looking good before she shows up to the set for filming, which is must more than we can say for her often schlubby partner and the other professional schlubs that they bid against.

Brandi brings a sorely needed element of softness and grace that the show would just be a middle-aged sweat-fest without. I’m confident Storage Wars would not have the strong viewership it can boast today if it weren’t for Brandi locking in so much male attention.

Our next sexy Brandi shot is a candid shot taking by our storage goddess herself. She looks to be getting ready to head out for a night on the town and we can see two small bird tattoos on the tops of her feet.

Brandi passante cell phone capture and tattoosDoes this ink speak to some bad-girl tendencies that Brandi once had or is currently suppressing for her TV roles? There have been rumors floating around that she once worked as an adult entertainer, but there’s nothing really conclusive out about that yet.

All we know is that she looks cute taking a picture of herself using her cell phone and a mirror and seems to be checking out a new dress – maybe this is a shot from inside a dressing room?

The arms are a little funky but otherwise I think Brandi can pull it off. Black is always a good color on her and it’s impressive that she still has this great a body even after having two kids!

Brandi is some kind of wonder woman that doesn’t seem to slow down. When she’s not spending time with her family or filming new episodes of Storage Wars, she’s working overtime to take her Rags to Riches thrift shop to the next level of profitability.

We’ll round out this round-up with a cute picture of Brandi in an inquisitive mood, mugging it up for the interview camera yet again. Be sure to tune into Storage Wars to Brandi and all the other storage auction buyers in action!

Cute profile pic of Brandi during an interview on Storage Wars. Until then, enjoy these sexy shots of our favorite storage auction goddess!

Storage Wars Bio: Dan Dotson

Storage War’s Dan Dotson has been steeped in auctions his entire life, starting out at the tender age of 11 when his grandfather, an auctioneer of cattle and farm equipment, began showing Dan the ropes. Since then, auctions have been a constant fascination for Dotson, who would spend summers working for his grandfather.

From then on, Dan has never strayed far from the auction scene, becoming known as a self storage auctioneer as well as an auctioneer of collectibles, antiques, furniture and estates. In 1983, he began American Auctioneers, which would first put him on the map as a top auctioneer.

Dan’s a prolific work-a-holic and is famous for  usually running about 2 auctions per day for up to 6 days per week, and up to 1,500 in a good year. His American Auctioneers is responsible for handling everything from business close-out sales, to foreclosure auctions to sales for charity. His prodigious work ethic has certainly paid off for him now. It’s estimated that Dan Dotson is worth 3 and a half million dollars all told.

dan dotson and his wife laura on the scene of a storage saleIn 1996, after American Auctioneers had been established as a success, Dan met his wife Laura.

Laura was not only the apple of his eye but also a shrewd business woman, so the two collaborated on several auction based projects and their teamwork continues today, since they co-host Storage Wars and conduct their cadre of zany and eccentric storage pickers around the country looking for hot storage units and big scores.

Dan has the essential rapid fire patter you’d expect from a seasoned professional auctioneer. On Storage Wars, he calls out units very quickly and maintains order once the bickering starts following a tight bidding war. Check out this video to see Dan and his wife Laura in action on an estate sale, and to get an experience of Dan’s famous “heirloom chant” auctioneer calling.

 

Storage Auction Tips From Dan Dotson

Dan has built up a great deal of storage auction wisdom over his decades of selling units. One of the best storage auction tips Dan gave behind the scenes of Storage Wars regards “smelling out” units.

Of course, you can’t smell a storage unit when you’re watching it being sold on TV, but you can when you’re in person the scent, or stench, a unit gives off can be the greatest clue to its potential.

For example, musty newspapers have a very distinct odor, and the mustier they are, the older they likely are. Dave Hester took a big whiff of a unit on Storage Wars and it smelled like a winner, so he bought it and found collectible newspapers featuring Elvis on the front page.

Dotson also mentions that gasoline is another very distinct smell that can give you clues as to whether or not you’re likely to find valuable lawn care equipment in a given storage unit.

 

Storage Wars Bio: Dave Hester the Mogul

Dave Hester “The Mogul” cuts an imposing figure on the set of Storage Wars, with his squat frame, steely glare and trademark, “YUUUUUUUUUP” bidding calls. Owner and manager of the Rags to Riches consignment store, Dave heads the largest retail operation of all the Storage Wars crew. In terms of hustle and drive, Dave might be the most possessed of all the buyers. He is responsible for 15 employees’ paychecks, so he needs to turn a profit on his unit purchases if he wants to stay afloat.

Dave got into storage auction buying in a somewhat roundabout way. After being convicted of a DUI and sentenced to community service at a consignment shop, he realized the business model made sense and that he could use the ample repossessed storage sales happening in California in order to feed his own shop with inventory. Today, his shop is located in Costa Mesa.

By the way, Dave’s shop, being run on consignment, is a bit different from your traditional thrift store in that people will often show up with goods they need sold. They’ll pass this work on to Dave and his crew who will take a cut of the final sale price for their trouble.

To this end, Dave relies on Storage Wars to boost his profile and thereby draw in more interested consignment customers that want to see the star in real life. To this end, Dave is not above drumming up attention for himself by acting outlandishly at times.

dave hester smiling at a meetingOn the show, Dave is willing to employ any tactic necessary to get the units he wants. Although Barry is often eccentric and loopy, Dave can be downright aggressive, obnoxious or worse. By way of intimidation, he will intentionally keep bidding on a unit he knows another picker really wants.

Once he’s jacked the final price up to where it’s really going to hurt the other buyer, he’ll leave it be and let the other cast member eat the high price tag. Essentially Dave has just jacked up the cost of a unit he wasn’t even interested in order to eat into his competition’s profits. Perhaps he’s hoping the other buyers will turn tail and quit since they’re not clearing enough money on their purchases. Maybe he’s simply in a bad mood.

Although he can sometimes become emotional on the set of Storage Wars, especially if he ends up overpaying for a junky unit, Hester usually keeps things business like and efficient. He wants to feed his thrift store with goods and keep his business running smoothly, but that doesn’t mean he’s immune to some of the showmanship that has turned Storage Wars into such a phenomenon.

For example, in one episode Dave rolls up to the storage facility in a custom screen printed truck with Dave Hester Auctions and YUUUUUUUUUP printed all over it just to flex his financial muscle.

At times he’ll offer unsolicited advice to “young guns” Jarrod and Brandi, saying that Jarrod needs to spend some time reading through trade show magazines and catalogs to “get his knowledge up” regarding item types and their values.

Storage Wars Bio: Barry Weiss

Knowledgable, often cranky and sometimes downright eccentric, Barry Weiss brings his unique touch of personality to the bidding action of Storage Wars. Barry recalled in an interview that he probably started attending auctions at age 15, so hunting for modern day treasure is clearly a passion of his to last him into his 60’s. Mr. Weiss is an inveterate collector and something of a pack rat, but he says what interests him most are the things he hasn’t yet seen before.

He’s always on the hunt for something exciting, new and different. Barry loves everything from vintage cars to choppers to outlandish clothing. Barry has a flowing humorous patter and the gravely chopped rhythm of his voice draws ample comparison to Jack Nicholson. Capable of losing his temper and nutting off, especially when he overpays for a crappy unit, Barry is described as being friendly and mellow off the set.

Dealing in antiques for this many years, the Storage Wars star has amassed an estimated net worth of $7 million. From watching storage wars, you might not always be able to tell that Barry is sitting on that kind of green, though. He gets plenty testy whenever he bids too aggressively on a storage shed only to find it’s full of junk.

barry weiss showing off his pearly whites and skelton gloves

What about Barry Weiss’s more bizarre auction buying tactics? In early episodes he was noted for bringing a pair of genuine night vision goggles to peer more deeply into units up for sale.

What about the time he consulted a professional psychic in order to determine the likelihood of a big score?

Whether they’re all just for showmanship or simply intended to distract his competitors, Barry’s tactics have definitely earned him the stamp of “that guy”.

This picture shows what Barry’s all about. Despite all the tense bidding wars, he genuinely has fun on set, perhaps more so than any other buyer.

Here, Barry’s seen wearing his trademark skeleton gloves in preparation for some serious unit picking.

In California, Barry has been spotted at Brandi and Jarrod’s Now and Then thrift store meeting fans of Storage Wars and signing autographs.

One thing’s for sure. Barry’s got his own sense of style. Equally comfortable in plaid or skeleton printed sweatshirts, this Storage Wars star isn’t afraid to do his own thing, on or off set. Although Barry doesn’t quite need the money anymore, he does use his influence and deep pockets to search the local storage auction scene for the best collectibles and antiques to add to his inventory.

Get up close and personal with this video of Barry showing off one of his many antique cars. This is uncensored Barry at his finest, and not for the faint of heart:

Storage Wars Bio: Brandi Passante

When Jarrod Schulz shows up to an auction to lay down some cash, Brandi is always there to ensure he’s making good decisions. Helping to run their joint thrift store, Brandi is primarily concerned with minimizing risks on big auction units and making sure that Jarrod doesn’t spend them both to the poor house.

Brandi’s birthday is May 16 and she is thought to be in her mid 30’s. Brandi and Jarrod have two children together and they started a thrift store that they feed with their auction purchases after they began to run out of room in their home to store treasures.

Brandi is sometimes criticized by viewers for being overbearing and keeping Jarrod on a short leash, but she is only trying to make sure that their fledgling business succeeds. It’s unclear whether this dynamic is rooted in reality or intentionally played up for the show to give the characters more depth.

Although Brandi and Jarrod have reportedly been together for 12 years and have children together, they are not actually married. Nevertheless, they have an interesting on-screen relationship and seem to balance one another out well.

Brandi Passante posing for Storage WarsIn being labeled the “Young Guns” of the storage auction buying crew, Storage Wars is indicating that Brandi and Jarrod have the least financial capital of any of the other central buyers.

There are many costs associated with opening and running your own auction-supplied thrift store, which explains some of Brandi’s trepidation regarding Jarrod’s purchases. She keeps close watch on every transaction to make sure they won’t be bankrupted.

Most of the time you could describe Brandi’s demeanor as skeptical and cautious. She tries to tamp down Jarrod’s excitement when it comes to buying units because he can sometimes let his enthusiasm for the unit outpace his self-control and wind up taking a loss.

Case in point, the episode where Jarrod spends $1,700 on a unit because it’s full of vintage toys that are still in their original boxes.

Unfortunately, the toys themselves only end up being worth $300. Brandi is always trying to buy in reference to their thrift store and looking for items she knows they can turn a profit on, such as still boxed electronics.

On the flipside, sometimes Brandi is an overly reserved bidder and can miss out on bigger opportunities because or her lower tolerance for risk. In this way, Brandi and Jarrod balance each other out pretty well. It’s also worth noting that Jarrod doesn’t always take Brandi’s advice, to his own detriment!

 

Brandi and Jarrod have both expressed the fact that their appearance on Storage Wars has given a slight boost to their thrift store, called “Now and Then” and located in Orange county, California. However, it hasn’t yet blown their sales profits through the roof.

This is alright with Brandi, who says she’s more interested in slow, steady and sustainable growth over time so they can support their family.

Their thrift store is roughly 3,000 square feet and if you visit it when you’re in the area you’ll find all kinds of things for sale, ranging from furniture to electronics with everything in between. Since Brandi and Jarrod both work at the store, they’ve noted that many people come by just to see them and get a chance to talk with Storage War stars.

You can connect with Brandi Passante on Facebook or via twitter.

And yes, for all those of you wondering, there’s every indication that Brandi’s boobs are real…