December 28, 2007
Trekkie Claims Auctioned Prop Was a Fake
NEW YORK - A Trekkie who paid $6,000 for a poker visor that was supposedly worn by the android Data on the television show "Star Trek: The Next Generation" claims in a lawsuit against Christie's auction house that the prop is a fake.
Ted Moustakis, of Towaco, N.J., said he began to doubt the authenticity of the visor and other items he purchased at an auction of CBS Paramount props in 2006, after he brought it to a convention in August to have it autographed by the actor who played Data, Brent Spiner.According to the lawsuit, Spiner recognized the visor as the one that had been sold by Christie's and told Moustakis that it wasn't the real deal. The actual visor had been sold by the actor himself some time ago.
Moustakis, who became a Star Trek fan at age 7, said he was humiliated.
"I thought this was a great piece of memorabilia to have, and I was so proud to get it," he said.
Christie's spokesman Rik Pike stood behind the authenticity of the auction and said the disgruntled buyer's case had no merit.
The lawsuit, filed in state court in Manhattan, demands millions of dollars in punitive damages and a refund for the visor and two other items Moustakis bought at the 2006 auction: a table that was part of a set on "The Next Generation" and a uniform that was in Data's wardrobe. Moustakis said he paid $6,600 for the table and $11,400 for the uniform.
He said that, upon close inspection, the table doesn't look like the ones that appeared the show, and the uniform appeared to be one of several made for the program, not a one-of-a-kind, as Moustakis believed it to be.
"They defrauded collectors, fans, honest people," said Moustakis' lawyer, Richard Borzouye. "It's negligent misrepresentation."
Calls and e-mails to CBS Paramount weren't immediately returned.