A faded superstar claims memorabilia was stolen from him, but this time it's not O.J.
Michael Jackson contends in a lawsuit that his famous left-hand glove, the entry gates to his Neverland Ranch, dozens of child statues, luxury cars and nearly 2,000 other items are being kept illegally by a Beverly Hills auction house that plans to put them on the block next month.
Among other allegations in the suit, filed Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, was that Julien's Auction House broke its contract with the singer by not allowing him to view photographs of the items and choose the ones he wanted withheld from the sale.
But the situation isn't as simple as one, two, three.
Darren Julien -- owner of the company that has auctioned possessions of Cher, Barbra Streisand, Marilyn Monroe and others -- said there was no such provision in the contract with the singer's company, MJJ Productions. Even so, Julien said his firm had returned several items Jackson wanted withheld, including three cars.
"Everything has been aboveboard," said Julien, who was in Ireland exhibiting Jackson items -- including the white glove worn during performances of his 1983 hit "Billie Jean" -- to publicize the April 22-25 auction at the Beverly Hilton.
Alan Gutman, an attorney who filed the suit for Jackson's firm, declined to comment.
Julien said he was asked to come to the Santa Barbara County ranch in July, where he spoke to Jackson by phone. "I don't know where he was, maybe Las Vegas," Julien said. A deal was struck to take the items to prepare for auction, he said. Hauling them off took 10 semi-trailer trucks.
Julien estimated the auction could bring as much as $3 million. That would beat what O.J. Simpson got in December for illegally retrieving memorabilia from a dealer in Las Vegas -- nine years in prison.