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Employee fired for whistleblowing over unfair business practices

An ex-employee of A&E's hit show "Storage Wars" has alleged that valuables found hidden in the abandoned storage lockers featured on the show are placed there by the producers themselves in order to cheat the viewers. The former employee has filed a lawsuit against the producers, claiming that the producers placed newspapers chronicling the death of Elvis Presley and a BMW mini in the lockers to make the show more dramatic. The ex-employee said that he was fired as a result of his complaints about the show's lack of ethics.

The former cast member is claiming over $750,000 for breach of contract, unfair business practices and wrongful termination. A&E won't comment on the pending lawsuit. "Storage Wars" follows customers who bid for abandoned lockers with the hope of finding something valuable inside.

The lawsuit alleges that A&E continues to place valuable items in the lockers. The lawsuit also claims that the employee was fired after he expressed concerns about the locker items being manipulated, which was illegal. The lawsuit also states that the producers stopped putting certain valuable articles in his units after he complained; however, the practice continued for other participants. Additionally, the lawsuit also alleges that the lockers were staged, which is a violation of the law that intends to protect the viewers from being cheated while they are watching a show that involves intellectual skills.

"Storage Wars" claims that the buyers have very little time to examine the abandoned locker before they decide to bid on it during the auction. The lawsuit also claims that some footage of the auction for the show is also staged.

This former cast member, called "The Mogul" on the show, has been purchasing abandoned storage lockers and reselling the items for the past 26 years. It should also be noted that "Storage Wars" has been top ranked among cable television shows by Nielsen Co. several times since 2010.

If an employee is terminated for raising concerns regarding unfair trade practices and agency misconduct, he or she may have legitimate cause for filing a lawsuit and claiming damages.

Source: Star Tribune, "A&E's 'Storage Wars' reality series is rigged, fired cast member claims in lawsuit," Dec. 11, 2012

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