If Tila Tequila wants her old Louis Vuitton purse back ... it's too damn bad ... 'cause one of the stars of "Storage Wars" officially took ownership of the bag, along with a bunch of Tila crap, after winning a storage auction in L.A. ... TMZ has learned.
The person who bought the storage unit is Nabila Haniss -- who bid just under $3k for the unit after only getting a few minutes to scope it out (the same way it happens on the show).
Once she took ownership, Haniss says she was convinced the unit belonged to Tila based on all of the stuff inside ... including self-portraits, a personal diary, racks of clothes, pictures, Louis Vuitton bags, and personal memoirs about TT's engagement to heiress Casey Johnson, who passed away in 2010.
Haniss says she reached out to Tila about the purchase -- but never heard back -- and now believes the troubled reality star's not even aware her unit was foreclosed on.
Haniss says her next move is to sell the contents on eBay.
FUN STORAGE FACT: Haniss bought Paris Hilton's foreclosed storage unit back in 2004 -- and later sold it all off for a small fortune to the person who created the site Parisexposed.com.
Thanks to our friends at Storage Treasures for the pics.
'Storage Wars' Suicide
Mark Balelo Cremated
Family Making Final Plans
2/16/2013 12:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
"Storage Wars" star Mark Balelo's body was cremated, days after he committed suicide, but his family is still undecided about where to place his ashes ... TMZ has learned.
We broke the story ... Mark died Monday from carbon monoxide poisoning -- he left his car running in his garage 2 days after he was arrested for drugs.
Sources connected to the family tell us they had Mark's body cremated Thursday, and plan to hold a small memorial service next weekend.
We're told the family hasn't figured out what to do with Mark's ashes yet ... but will make a final decision before the service.
'Storage Wars' Star
Compared Himself to Russell Armstrong Before Suicide
2/13/2013 12:15 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The night before "Storage Wars" star Mark Balelo took his own life ... he compared himself to another reality star who killed himself -- "Real Housewives" star Russell Armstrong ... TMZ has learned.
Sources close to Balelo tell us ... the A&E star was extremely concerned about his recent drug arrest -- and was worried that it would affect his future on the show.
We're told Balelo was very stressed out ... and said he could sympathize with Armstrong ... who committed suicide after reports surfaced that he physically abused his wife and had fallen in deep financial trouble.
Balelo said he "understood" why Armstrong would resort to such drastic action ... because the thought of public humiliation was too much for him to handle.
As we first reported, Balelo killed himself by carbon monoxide poisoning early Monday morning.
'Storage Wars' Star
Days After Drug Arrest
2/12/2013 5:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
"Storage Wars" star Mark Balelo killed himself today by carbon monoxide poisoning ... TMZ has learned.
Multiple sources close to Balelo tell us he was found dead in his car ... which was parked and running in the garage at his auction house in Simi Valley, CA.
According to our sources, Balelo had been arrested for a drug-related offense on Saturday.
We're told when Balelo got out of jail he was distraught, and asked his fiancée to come over because he was afraid he might hurt himself.
We're told they met at his office on Sunday, they talked for a few hours, he took a 4 hour nap -- and when he woke up seemed better.
The fiancée left Balelo at the office Sunday evening. We're told one of Balelo's employees found his body Monday morning.
Balelo appeared on a handful of "Storage Wars" episodes over the past few seasons.
Law enforcement sources tell us an autopsy will be conducted tomorrow.
Show is RIGGED
12/11/2012 10:35 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
"Storage Wars" -- the hit A&E show -- is deceiving viewers by making it seem contestants are bidding on unseen items, when the best goods are actually planted inside ... this according to a lawsuit obtained by TMZ.
The lawsuit -- filed by the former star, David Hester -- claims he was axed when he complained to producers about the alleged rigging practices.
Hester claims in one case producers planted a BMW mini car under a pile of trash. In another case, Hester alleges producers planted a pile of old newspapers that announced the death of Elvis. For some reason, that's a valuable commodity.
And Hester goes on ... claiming the show even gave less than photogenic cast members money for plastic surgery to "create more sex appeal."
Hester claims in the suit he was wrongfully terminated because he blew the whistle.
But Dan Dotson -- the guy behind the show's auction company -- disagrees, telling TMZ, every unit seen on the show is legit and has a seal on it before they open it ... making it impossible for A&E to tamper with the units before filming begins.
Dan adds, “We only sell legitimate units on Storage Wars. Every unit goes through a 64-day legal process and no one has access to units prior to auction.”
A rep for A&E tells TMZ, "We do not know about a lawsuit being filed and we do not comment on pending or threatened litigation."
'Storage Wars' Stars
Idiot Hackers Tried to
Jack All Our Money!
7/11/2012 5:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
The Bad News: Two A&E stars from "Storage Wars" almost lost their life's savings when a couple of cyber criminals hijacked their financial accounts last week.
The Good news: The thieves were REALLY dumb.
TMZ spoke with Dan and Laura Dotson -- the auctioneers from "S. Wars" -- who tell us the hackers remotely broke into their home computer and stole all sorts of critical information, including credit card and bank account numbers.
But the Internet thieves pulled a rookie mistake ... and tried to make some MAJOR purchases all at once ... which immediately raised a red flag with the credit card's security team.
Once the Dotsons were alerted to the situation, they obviously denied the charges -- and quickly cancelled their cards and changed their account passwords.
It gets worse ... while still connected to the reality TV stars' computer ... the perps began to chat over instant message about the heist in progress. Laura, thinking quickly, took a screen grab of the convo.
Laura and Dan tell us they've already reached out to authorities ... and hope to press charges as soon as cops can identify the culprits.
'Storage Wars' Star
and Trey Songz --
YUUUP ... They've Settled
6/23/2012 5:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Did Trey Songz and 'Storage Wars" star David Hester settle their dueling lawsuits over the phrase YUUUP? YUUUP!
Did TMZ first report that Songz and Hester each filed dueling complaints in New York, because each wanted the right to sell merchandise with the aforementioned phrase of affirmation? YUUUP!
Did lawyers for both parties file docs this week dismissing their lawsuits? YUUUP!
Were the terms of the settlement made public? NOPE!
Are you as tired of this gag as we are? Don't answer that ...
Trey Songz & 'Storage Wars' Star
Trademark Battle Heating Up?
4/17/2012 12:40 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Has R&B superstar Trey Songz counter-sued "Storage Wars" star David Hester in their trademark battle over the term YUUUP! ... YUUUP!
Do both Songz and Hester each claim they have the trademark to the term YUUUP! and sell merchandise with the term on it? At least according to court docs filed in New York??? YUUUP!
Did Hester originally sue last year, asking a judge to allow him to continue selling merchandise and using the term ... even though Songz had sent him a cease and desist letter? YUUUP!
Did Songz, in papers filed on April 2, claim he's had the right to use the trademark since back in 2009 ... while Hester only filed his trademark in 2011? YUUUP!
Does Songz want a judge to void Hester's trademark and award him damages? YUUUP!
Has a judge ruled? Nope.
'Storage Wars' Star
I Need BIG MONEY
... or I'm Off the Show!!
1/9/2012 4:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
"Storage Wars" star Dave Hester -- the "YUUUP" guy -- tells TMZ he's ready and willing to walk away from the biggest A&E reality show ever ... if the network doesn't up their "unjust" contract offer.
Hester was out in L.A. this weekend ... sporting a hat with his signature catchphrase on it ... when he told our photog he hasn't locked up a deal to return to the show next season.
The reality star explained, "Right now I'm in negotiations with A&E and I would just hope they would get away from their unjust contract negotiations ... the ball is really in their court."
He adds, "I don't know what their plans are ... but I would like to be on the show. Maybe 'Storage Wars' without Dave Hester??"
And to make matters worse ... Hester says he wasn't even invited to A&E's Christmas party.
A rep for A&E had no comment.
'Storage Wars' Stars
Uncover Real-Life Pirates' Chest
Filled with $500,000 in Gold
11/13/2011 6:35 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The people behind "Storage Wars" just stumbled upon their most incredible discovery yet -- a real-life pirates' chest that's at least 200 years old ... containing half a mil in gold doubloons
Dan and Laura Dotson came across the stash inside a foreclosed storage locker at an auction in Contra Costa County, CA -- which they sold off to one lucky bastard for just over a grand.
The Dotsons discovered the pirates booty after auctioning off the locker -- a small treasure an expert described as "Pieces of Eight Spanish Gold," dating anywhere between the 16th and 19th century.
According to one source, the coin box was so heavy ... it took 3 people to move it out of storage.
We're told an appraisal expert valued the collection at around $500,000. Yo ho ho!
Mystery Trunk Contained $24,000
In De-Faced Bills
8/20/2011 4:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
It's the creepiest jackpot ever -- a recent bidder on "Storage Wars" paid $400 for a bunch of crap, including an old trunk ... which contained a shocking $24,000 in cash ... but for some reason, none of the bills had faces on them.
In case you're unfamiliar -- the A&E show features auctions in which people bid on the abandoned contents of large storage lockers ... but they only get a few seconds to see what's inside.
Laura Dotson -- who runs the auction company for the show with her husband Dan -- tells TMZ, the buyer paid the $400 for the locker ... and soon after, discovered the MOUNTAIN of cash inside the trunk.
The eerie part -- whoever owned the trunk beforehand drilled the faces out of every single bill. It's unclear why, but we're told the money was still considered legal tender ... despite losing face.
U.S. Treasury Fun Fact -- A bank will accept bills with the faces cut out ... if the both serial numbers are still in tact and the bills pass a series of tests.