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Leno Lawsuit Triggers Suicide

10/23/2008 10:13 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Jay LenoA man sued along with Jay Leno over a car dealer has killed himself.

Dennis Ricca shot himself in the head, according to the New York Post, days after a Macy's heir filed a lawsuit claiming Ricca, Leno and others "knowingly participated in certain unlawful purported auctions and sales" of two cars owned by the heir. Leno got one of the vehicles -- a 1931 Duesenberg, worth $1.2 mil. Ricca got the Rolls valued at half a mil.

A mourner told The Post, "That did it to him," referring to the lawsuit.

John Straus, the Macy's heir, claims he kept the cars in a garage managed by Ricca's company. Straus was $20,000 behind in storage fees but says he paid the money. Nevertheless, according to the suit, the garage unlawfully auctioned off the car.


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If he paid $180,000 for it, that is the deal of a lifetime. The LAST original, unrestored Deusenberg that is in the original owners family. That adds $$$$$$$$$$$$ to the value of the car. I read an article from 2005 on the car and even thought it was in a garage it is in poor condition. In such bad shape Leno has no choice but to restore it. It amazes me that someone had not gotten to the car before now. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

2189 days ago


Hey Tom, yes, it was 180K. I'm surprised the family left it in that garage for so long.. but I guess they figured... what else do we do with it. Yes, it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

"The car’s estimated value is $1.2 million, but Leno bought it from the garage after a “sham” auction for a mere $180,000, Straus’ family charges in a Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit. "

Have a nice day :)

2189 days ago


Has anyone REALLY been able to check out Obama's birth records. He is not qualified to be US President. He was born out of this country...and his birth was REGISTERED in Hawaii. Read the law/requirements for becoming the US President....if Obama can run, then we should be voting for Arnold/The Terminator. Obama is a Muslim, no matter what he says. "I have visit 57 states", he says that because there are 57 Muslim states....he is going to make every effort to destroy the USA....some of u idiots just don't get the picture and won't till u have the Muslim hoard on your doorsteps, chopping off heads. He is a good speaker....but he has no substance, he is a lair, the ultimate ANTI-CHRIST.

2189 days ago


My2Cents- If there some are illegalities in the "auction"then there is a problem. Leno knows exactly what that car is worth and he knew what he was doing when he grabbed it for $180,000.That # is way short of its true value. It is literally the last one, and one of a kind. I am sure he wil restore it, IF he gets to keep it. This cats suicide sure muddies up the picture though.

2188 days ago


Hey Tom, Yeah, the guy killing himself doesn't make things look too good for Mr. Leno. It's a shame the car's in such bad shape. I hope that no matter who gets it, that it's restored to it's original beauty. And I agree, Leno had to have known the "deal" he was getting. That's why I think it was so shady... I think he wanted the car so badly, the garage owner did whatever it took to deliver it to Leno.

2188 days ago


Out of respect for the family of Dennis Ricca, can you please reserve all personal comments about him. In a country that promotes "freedom of speech", discussion about the story details is one thing, however, calling the him any names for the manner in which his life ended or "prosecuting" him without the full details is completely disrespectful. Granted, he may have been involved in this, but this does NOT define him as a person, his life or who he was. Before making judgements, please think of his wife, children and the rest of the family that will be reading your posts. Thank you.

2188 days ago

tw judgements here. I have no idea where you came up with that. I respect the family and what they are going through. Nothing changes the fact he killed himself in the middle of the investigation. One of the main characters in a possible shady deal with a celeb, kills himself. Those are facts. You can shade that any way you wanna.......

2188 days ago


Can we just stop with the f'n politics? Please take it to a political topic and rant over there! I came her to talk about the goofballs and idiots of Hollywood, NOT Washington D.C. Take it to the latest political topic and STAY there! Mr P, I would never tell anybody how to vote and I don't you to tell me how to vote. There is a reason why it is kept private in this country. You are free to voice your opinion, but please take it to a subject on politics. 'Nuff said.

Anway, killing yourself over a car is just stupid. I doubt it was all about the car. It could have been a factor in things, but I doubt it was the only reason. Leno has always struck me as a greedy pig and I wouldn't be surprized if he did weasel in on obtaining the car. I'm not saying he is guilty of anything, but he just seems so hinkey to me. The guy blaming the lawsuit for the guy's suicide just needs to close his yap. Nobod know what goes on in someone elses head when they cpmmit suicide and this guy is a shining example of pointing the finger to shame Leno and the other goofballs he blames for the suicide.

2188 days ago


Yucky suicide is not a wimpy way to go. There are many variables which can cause suicide such as clinical depression. IF he committed suicide strictly to duck a lawsuit, then yeah it is a cowards way out. But your comment denotes suicide in general as a wimpy way out and that is far from the truth. Was Kurt Cobain a wimp or troubled? Or comedian Richard Jeni who suffered from depression. Your comment is wrong. It is like my saying Yucky you are an a**hole simply because of one comment but for all I know, you may be a great guy/or gal whichever you are but you get the idea. Don't judge until you are in someone's shoes and know the complete story and facts surrounding one who commits suicide. The tabloids including TMZ, survive by doing that. Be better than that.

2188 days ago


Well here is my take. Lets assume the following. You leave your car at a storage facility, and somehow stop paying the storage fees. After a lengthy period of time and several attempts to notify the owner of the situation , they still do not respond. A lawyer applies a mechanics lien on the vehicle, which during the procedure the owner is notified by registered mail. After a certain period of time where the owner neglects to respond eventually the storage facility is able to legally obtain a clear title to the vehicle. Once the storage facility obtains clear title, They become the vehicles owner and do whatever they like with the vehicle. They then auction the vehicle off, and Jay Leno who is a serious collector of similar vehicles, buys the vehicle through an auction. Jay Leno then does whatever he wishes with the vehicle, since he is the new owner. After all this transpires, the former owner passes away. While settling the estate, the heirs to the former owner realize what had transpired a few years ago, and file a lawsuit because the vehicle in question was rather valuable. Provided their is a title which changed hands when Jay leno purchased the vehicle, the heirs have no case and Jay Leno will retain ownership of the vehicle as long as everything had been done legally years before. Now it certainly would be a different case if no title was ever issued to the storage facility or the legalitys concerning this were not done correctly according to new york state law.

Towing places and repair shops do this all the time, when a vehicle is abandoned and storage charges and legal fees are incurred. That is the legal way for them to aquire title and dispose of a vehicle. Now if the car in question was a 1985 yugo, do you think the heirs would have filed a lawsuit? The same legalitys arise weather the vehicle is a yugo or a deusenberg.

2188 days ago


Thanks for the info Bill. Didn't know they could actually take ownership of the car. Interesting.

2188 days ago


2 cents. The sad thing is the car is in such bad shape. There is a trend with classic cars to leave them original instead of a restoration. This car was bodied by a rather obscure company in New York. In fact the body style itself is not that desirable, among that level of collector. The story and the original condition and the original family's ownership really launch this car into the stratosphere as far as value goes. Once the restoration starts it will not be original and it has already changed hands so it is no longer in the original owners family. Now it becomes a multiple owner, restored car with a body built by an unknown coachbuilder and not a desirable body style. Now what is worth? By the way, the car has 7,000 miles on it.

2188 days ago


posted by ME: 8. Oh, and another thing Mr. P: Do you know what happened to McCain's 1st wife???
WHile he was a POW, she stood by him, waiting for him for years to be released. Not knowing if he would live or be killed.
He was released, he came home. She was in a car accident which paralized her... so he dumped her and married the chippie he's with now.
This is something the press is keeping quiet. It was mentioned a while ago, a quick snipet, then they let it die down. Pathetic. That speaks volumes of his character.
Posted at 9:58AM on Oct 23rd 2008 by MePosted at 9:58AM on Oct 23rd 2008 by Me

Dear ME:
Or are you verifying the IQ of the average Obama supporter.
Do you really think for a minute the liberal press would sit on a story that had the potential to smear Sen.McCain?
And really, if you want to call someone pathetic, and comment that their failed marriage is a sign of their do you think Sen.Ted Kennedy's (D) wife felt when he was out in a drunken stuper drowning his girlfriend? Or how about the humiliation Hillary felt when Bill Clinton (D) WASN'Tsmoking that cigar with Monica?
It saddens me that people like you are not smart enough to evaluate real issues when marking your ballots....but, thank God you live in a free country where you still have the right to be stupid and vote.

Dear ME:
Or are you verifying the IQ of the average Obama supporter.
Do you really think for a minute the liberal press would sit on a story that had the potential to defame Sen.McCain?
And really, how do you think Sen.Ted Keneddy's wife felt when he was out in a drunken stuper drowning his girlfriend, Mary Jo Kopekney?

2187 days ago


Listen here. Dennis Ricca is my cousin. We are all shocked and saddened by his death. As far as what went on with the lawsuit, I do not know. All im asking is to be respectful to my family in our time of grief. Thank you everyone.

2184 days ago


You bunch of morons ,mad because Obama won,you didlike him because he is BLACK you bunch of racists ,I hope he show what a black men can do ,I am white I vote for him ,after I saw which M'cain choose for Vicepresident Sarah "clown"Palin I choose Obama is least he is a good husband,like Mccain left his wife ,his kids don't even like him ,he married this one because is RICH,he choose Palin after his wife meet her and like her.whaooooooyou choose a Vicepresident because your wife likes her?he meet her only one time .what kind of poltic,responsible men do tha? I saw the interview when he said that and his wife stood by him.Obam is going to show all the racists like you what a black men can do ,you generalize people because the race ,religion or sexual orientation,i bet one in your family is married to a black.I will laughfing sooo hard..Mc'cain have a bad personality,making faces like a little brat child ,clipping his finger it was annoying.We are going to make !and Barack Hussein Obama is a beautiful name you yse it HUssein like a evil name I speack Arabic and meand and leran the facts before you speak MORONS......

2127 days ago
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