TORONTO – TV auctioneer Laura Dotson says she has proof A&E’s top-rated Storage Wars reality TV series isn’t rigged.
“I can say Dave (Hester) still comes to our auctions, even though there's animosity that he's not on the show. If it was rigged, why would he show up?” Laura Dotson, who runs auctions on Storage Wars with husband, Dan Dotson, told The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday.
The TV auctioneer broke her silence on the messy bid rigging controversy that has dogged Storage Wars since former series star David Hester in December 2012 filed a lawsuit against A&E, alleging the series is faked.
The Dotsons were in Toronto Tuesday to help promote an upcoming Canadian version of Storage Wars as part of a format deal between Rogers Media cable channel OLN and FremantleMedia.
Besides their star-turn on Storage Wars, the Dotsons run auctions as part of their American Auctioneers empire.
Until now, Dan Dotson has done the talking to refute Hester’s claims he was fired from Storage Wars for insisting the producers salt the lockers.
“Hester is in a contractual dispute with A&E. He's spewing stuff like I'm doing bid rigging and that's the furthest thing from the truth… Every locker I've sold on Storage Wars is a licensed, legitimate unit,” he repeated Tuesday.
Despite Hester accusing A&E of planting valuable memorabilia in lockers, the former series star has earned Dan Dotson’s grudging respect after 25 years of working together.
"I don't know what he's going to do. I haven't talked to him,” he insisted.
“Whatever works out for him in life, my hat's off to him (Dave). I just want our paths not to cross anymore. And that's kind of where we are now,” Dan Dotson added.
OLN has commissioned indie producer Proper Television to make 36 episodes of Storage Wars Canada.
The first season of the Canadian series will be shot in Ontario.
The Dotsons have advice for the Canadian producers as they cast for local treasure hunters, auctioneers and appraisers for Storage Wars Canada.
“The show is not just about what comes out of the box. It's a character driven show. And Canada is full of characters, just like anywhere else. It's just a matter of sifting them out,” Dan Dotson said.