Quebecer sues Jackson estate

A Quebec collector has launched a $5 million lawsuit against Michael Jackson's estate and an American auction house after an auction of memorabilia was cancelled last spring.

A Quebec collector has launched a $5-million lawsuit against Michael Jackson’s estate and an American auction house after an auction of memorabilia was cancelled last spring.

When Julien’s Auctions in Hollywood announced the sale of 2,000 items from Michael Jackson’s Neverland estate, Richard Lapointe said he bid on 170 items.

Lapointe said he was the highest bidder on more than half of those items.

But Julien’s was forced to cancel the auction because Jackson refused to sell — even after the auction house tried to sue him for reneging on the deal.

After the King of Pop died in June, Lapointe said he had missed out on a one-of-a-kind collection worth up to $100 million.

Lapointe said he has lost the opportunity to create the largest private memorabilia collection in the world.

"It's the first time in my entire life of [collecting memorabilia that] I saw the original things come from the [bigger] original artists … like Mr. Jackson," Lapointe said.

But the head of Julien’s Auction House called Lapointe’s lawsuit "frivolous."

"Nobody's ever come after us legally because again our terms and conditions protect us," said Darren Julien. "The terms and conditions that he agreed to before he placed his proxy bids stated that for any reason we can cancel … their bids."

Julien says the auction house often cancels bids if they don’t think that the bidder can afford the items — a practice he said is common in the industry.

Normally, about only two per cent of the bidding takes place before the auction gets underway, Julien said.

"So for [Lapointe] to say he would have won all the lots — that's like saying Michael Jackson has no fans and nobody else would have bid."

Neither Julien nor the Jackson estate have responded in California State Court, but Lapointe's lawyer has extended the deadline for them to take action.