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Posted by + on Feb 12, 2013 in Entertainment, Featured | 1 comment

The “Storage Wars” Curse: Mark Balelo’s Suicide Follows Dave Hester’s Lawsuit and Reported Bankruptcy

The “Storage Wars” Curse: Mark Balelo’s Suicide Follows Dave Hester’s Lawsuit and Reported Bankruptcy

The body of Mark Balelo, a buyer who appeared on several episodes of  Storage Wars , was found on Monday, apparently the victim of suicide. The 40-year-old Balelo, known as Rico Suave on the show due to his flamboyant clothes and attitude, had been arrested two days earlier on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine. It’s believed that he committed suicide via carbon monoxide poisoning. An autopsy was scheduled to take place on Tuesday.

Balelo had reportedly sunken into a depression after his arrest, and had phoned his fiancé to come over “because he was concerned he may hurt himself,” according to the New York Daily News. She left him at his office “after he seemed to be doing better, but his body was found early Monday morning by employees.”

In 2011, Balelo bought a storage locker that contained a 1938 Action Comics #1  comic book that apparently had been stolen from a locker belonging to Nicolas Cage some 10 years earlier. Balelo returned the comic book, which was valued at $1 million, to Cage. Reno 911!  creators Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant reportedly plan to turn the story into a movie, though oddly it won’t star Cage but possibly Jason Statham.

Meanwhile, a breach-of-contract lawsuit filed by former cast member Dave Hester continues to wend its way through the legal system. Hester, who filed the suit in December after being fired from the show, alleges that Storage Wars  producers intentionally placed valuable items inside the storage lockers that are unopened on the show in an effort to gin up ratings and buzz.

In his lawsuit, Hester alleges that he was fired because he complained to network A&E that the reality show is in fact staged, and that he is owed around $2.2 million. “The truth is that (producers) regularly salt or plant the storage lockers that are the subject of the auctions portrayed on the series with valuable or unusual items to create drama and suspense for the show,” the suit reads.

A&E has asked that the case be thrown out of court, but intriguingly has not commented on Hester’s charges that the show’s events are staged for the cameras.

Rumors that Hester is currently bankrupt seem to be just that, as confirmation of his bankruptcy cannot be made as of this writing.

As for Storage Wars  itself, its last original episode aired on December 18, 2012; A&E still lists it as an active show, but no details on its future have been made public.

Kevin Zimmerman
Kevin Zimmerman has contributed 410 posts for Rotten Monkey
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Kevin Zimmerman Bio:
A recent parolee from the Institute of the Vaguely Chuffed, Kevin Zimmerman has written professionally on a variety of topics that are too numerous to count (in part because of his ongoing difficulties with plane geometry). He has an IQ well into the dozens, and lives somewhere in North America with an uncertain number of mammals.

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1 Comment

  1. Frankly, the show is better off without Hester. He is the type of person that is hard to take, a friend who is as likely as an enemy to cut your throat. Glad he’s gone.

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