Category - Storage Auction Reality

Will Nabila Haniss Join the Cast on Storage Wars as the New Villain?

Nabila Haniss Storage Wars

Nabila Haniss.

She’s not a princess but she’s not the evil queen, either. She slides in and out of that gray area. You like her. You can’t stand her. But make no mistake about it, Nabila knows her stuff.

She’s been in the storage auction business for twenty years. Nabila accomplished one incredible feat that no other Storage Wars cast member has to date – win a locker worth millions.

In 2007 Nabila won a locker for $2,775. The owners of the 6,000 square foot storage unit were none other than Paris and Nicky Hilton.

The socialites rented the locker after their home had been robbed, but then defaulted on the storage unit due to lack of payment. How much did the Paris Hilton owe? Only $208 bucks!

Seriously? Are you kidding me?! The socialites couldn’t find time away from their celebrity parties to pay the pittance for their locker and then blame the moving company.

Once the news traveled that Nabila had scored Paris Hilton’s locker, she was approached by Bardia Persia (fake name) who bought the contents for $10 million!

Oh yeah, Nabila won the lotto locker.

Locker contained Paris Hilton’s private videos, personal photographs, personal diary, and more. Which then begs the question – Hilton girls, why not stash your personal and most private belongings at one of your family’s vacation homes? Doh.

That locker catapulted Nabila into the storage auction stratosphere.

Do you think she’d get lucky twice? I think Nabila has that celebrity locker Midas touch. In 2013 she won a locker for under $3,000 (seems to be a magic number). Storage unit defaulted by Tila Tequila best known for her MTV reality series, A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila.

Not a million dollar locker, but still a big score for Nabila. She did reach out to the reality star who did not respond. Nabila then proceeded to sell the contents of the locker on eBay. A Louis Vuitton purse, clothes, photos, self-portraits, personal diary (what is with celebrities and personal diaries in storage lockers?), and more.

Nabila may not call the Storage Wars cast “Pukes.” That was Dave Hester’s take on everyone. Nabila instead chooses to describe the cast members as a “traveling circus.”

It’s really hard to argue with her on that assessment.

She’s set to appear on a few episodes of season 5 on Storage Wars, but will she become a permanent cast member on season 6?

She has cash to flash. She has had success. She’s bad-ass.

Do you think she could take on the role as the new villain on Storage Wars?

Storage Wars: Canada

Storage Wars Canada

Despite the controversy surrounding Storage Wars and Dave Hester's allegations against it, the show continues to be the most popular program on A&E, and it's not going anywhere. Indeed, even as rumors fly about three more stars being cut, the show continues to film new episodes – and grow into new territories.

Storage Wars already has plenty of spin-off series, including Storage Wars: Texas and Storage Wars: New York. Now the series is moving to Canada, where its rights have been purchased by OLN. Storage Wars: Canada is casting right now, and developers are scouring the country looking for Canadian treasure hunters with the same amount of flair of the U.S. stars.

Rogers Media, the Canadian company that owns OLN, insists that their version will deliver all the same wisecracks and excitement of the U.S. version of the show while remaining completely authentic. Producers have already declared that units will not be salted or faked. Of course, they can hardly be expected to say otherwise, so viewers may take that with a grain of salt.

According to an interview on Huffington Post, Dan and Laura Dotson are making their way north of the border to participate in the program, which starts filming this month in Ontario. This certainly explains their disappearance from the rosters for the American series, and it should help bring fans over from one show to the other.

But what can we really expect from a Canadian Storage Wars?

According to the interview with Dan and Laura, the program will be mostly focused on the bidders themselves, with less emphasis on the auction finds. The show will follow behind-the-scenes with bidders as they prepare for and travel to auctions, in order to best capture the spirit of the Canadian setting and the colorful local cast.

To particular interest for auction hunters may be the cultural difference in treasure-hunting up north. If handled deftly, these cultural differences could make for an intriguing show indeed. Then again, it may prove to be nothing more than a money grab and tired reiteration of a successful premise. We won't know until we see it.

Dave Hester’s DUI Conviction

Dave Hester DUI

For many fans, Dave Hester was the best part of Storage Wars. From his obvious knowledge about the industry to his infectious catch-phrase, he definitely helped give the show that special “something” that makes it stand out from all the other reality shows. After his recent problems with the show's creators, however, fans are suffering from his absence.

Dave expressed his concerns about the staged aspects of the show, a maneuver that led to his dismissal from the program. That lawsuit is still working itself out, but his sudden absence from the show has led to a lot of wild speculation among fans and tabloids.

One piece of gossip that's been surfacing throughout the web has to do with a Dave Hester arrest for DUI. Unfortunately for the people looking for a juicy scoop, this is hardly fresh news. In fact, his legal history is even posted on the A&E web page because it was an important stepping stone on his current career path.

In 2005, Dave Hester was arrested for DUI. As part of his recovery, he had to do community service – a common punishment for first-time offenders in the area. Instead of picking up trash, however, he was assigned to work in a thrift store. The experience gave him the inspiration to pursue a resale business of his own, and the rest is history.

To date, it appears that no further Dave Hester arrests have been made. Although he's having problems with A&E, he seems to be staying on the right side of the law. And, unlike some of the other rumors flying around the Internet, he's in no danger of going bankrupt any time soon: Between severance pay, a pending lawsuit and a healthy business, Dave continues to be successful even outside the public eye.

Who is Brandi Passante?

Brandi Passante

If you haven't been a long-time fan of Storage Wars, you may not be able to answer the question: “Who is Brandi Passante?” On the other hand, this auction hunter has gained some notoriety recently for something completely unrelated to her show: Pornographic materials on the contentious site AreYouUp. Brandi sued the site creator for the photos and video footage, which she claims to be falsified, and for subsequent behaviors over social media.

This isn't the first time that Brandi Passante has caught unwanted attention on the web. An earlier rumor circulating among the tabloids suggested that she and her long-time boyfriend had a dark history with the law, even going so far as to circulate a supposed mug shot. Of course, any attempts to find reputable sources backing this up quickly reach a dead end.

These stories do raise some interesting questions, though. Who is Brandi Passante, really, and why is a reality TV star getting so much unwanted and unflattering media attention?

In reality, Brandi Passante is no different from any other Storage Wars star. She's the long-time partner of Jarrod Schulz, and the couple own and operate a thrift store in Orange, California. Together, they're called “The Young Guns” on the TV show due to their initial low budgets. After a few seasons of competing with the bigger players, though, they've started to amass wealth, which has helped both of them become household names among reality TV fans.

Storage Wars is an undeniably popular show, and Brandi Passante is often singled out for her attractiveness and shapely physique. It's hard to find search results about her that don't mention some of her better physical “assets,” and these qualities certainly aren't harming the show's ratings. Indeed, her good looks may have something to do with the recent trend of casting attractive young women in reality shows regardless of how realistic their participation may be.

Battle Baggage: And the Dufus Award Goes To…

Mark Baggage Battles

Season finale of Baggage Battles proved one thing: You don’t need brains to bid, just bucks. Auction was held in the northwestern Bayou of Louisiana.

Farm estate sale with five barns loaded with collectibles, mystery trunks, and one huge locked shed ready for the highest bidder to steal for a deal.

Let’s start with Sally and Laurence. Two items that drew their attention: an old fashion wooden Zenith radio they won for $75. Really? Seriously?

Out of the plethora of Americana collectibles they went for a less-than-mint condition radio. In all fairness the team did buy a mystery box for $20.

Stop the train!

Can you call it a mystery box if it’s an open box? You could see Sally pick through the items inside the open box before the auction. That’s why the S&L team won 3rd place in this episode’s Dufus Award. Please give the television audience more credit. We can SEE you dig through the box, Sally. Doh!

Amidst the junk inside the box was a penny mechanical bank which dated back to the early 1900s. It was in fair condition and appraised around $500.

Slick Billy missed the memo to dress casual but maybe without a jacket that was casual for him. He had his eye on two items: an old military trunk and a small wooden box. Billy stated twice he was ready to retire for the rest of his life. Put that on hold, for now.

Military trunk he won for $150 was a bust. He found a traveling optometrist kit inside along with few old magazines and a raccoon (don’t ask). Billy thought he could sell the antique traveling kit for $350. There’s a very small market for that type of collectible. Good luck with that.

Billy also won the wooden box for $200. Quite a gamble but it paid off. It was a Voltamp electric shock therapy kit. Why does that item sound like something Billy should keep…

Billy took the Voltamp to have it appraised by Mysterion who manages a store that looked like a cousin to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum, but not in a good way. Mysterion appraised the kit around $800, if it worked.

So how do you test it to see if an antique electric shock therapy kit works? Test it on each other - Doh!

Billy held the hand rods while Mysterion turned on the machine. JOLT! Billy was wickedly amused as was Mysterion. So much so they both shocked each other for fun. That’s when the show went from informative to creepy in zero to 30 seconds.

Hot diggity dog now it’s time to review our Dufus Award winner, Mark. His motto, “Sometimes you get. Sometimes you get got.”

Dufus move #1 – Mark stood on top of a plastic crate to peer into the locked storage shed. As he stepped one foot off the crate, the other foot crashed into the center and broke it. Doh!

Dufus move #2 – Mark had his sites set on winning a red Texaco sign, however, when the bid came for that item, the auctioneer had switched its place with another item unbeknown to Mark. He won a totally worthless antique fan for $150. Doh!

Dufus move #3 – Mark jumped the bid on the storage shed to $550. Inside was not the Holy Grail but a shed full of empty boxes within empty boxes. Doh! (I didn’t mention the fact he tried to use bolt cutters to cut the lock when a man came with a key – Double Doh!)

Poor sap. Mark sat on what looked like an adult potty chair. Yep, that summed up that experience. He did however discover one saving grace; an old 30s-50s RCA microphone.

Mark had it appraised at a local radio station. It’s a ribbon microphone. Called that because there’s a very delicate ribbon inside and if damaged, renders the microphone useless. Kermit, the radio DJ (not the frog) had Mark read a script to test the microphone. Hot diggity dog, it worked!

Projected profits:

Billy - $800
Sally & Laurence - $555
Mark – loss of $100

Mark at this auction, you get got.

Get To Know Mike Braiotta and Joe Pauletich from Storage Wars: New York

Joe Mike Storage Wars New York

Mike Braiotta and Joe Pauletich are the American idols of the storage auction world, right? Are they just actors playing scripted roles on TV? Or are they the real deal?

I can tell you that Joe and Mike are both real deals in their own way. They both have a history of working storage auctions professionally, so in that regard they are not merely actors. They were selected to star in Storage Wars: New York because they can walk the walk and talk the talk in an entertaining way.

Joe Pauletich, fondly known as “The Legend,” definitely lives up to the name. He’s been buying and selling the contents of New York storage rooms for more than 20 years, so his famous intuition and bidding demeanor are both genuine. Yes, he’s acting on a new TV show this year, so that makes him an actor. But he’s doing what he does best, just like those crocodile wrestlers down in the everglades.

Joe is from Queens, so he knows his home turf and he’s come to know his stuff very well. I his own words, "I have a sixth sense when it comes to buying storage rooms," Joe explained. "They all talk to you in a different way. When that door opens, it’s like stepping into another dimension." He calls it ESP, which stands for “Extraordinary Storage Perception.”

Known as Joe P to his local buyers, he owns SoHo Treasures, the shop where he retails his best storage auction finds. Joe explains how he decides what to bid on, “You have to look, and you see the quality of stuff, how they packed it, where the boxes came from. If it's a dirty person, I'm not so interested. If the people have money and if it was moved professionally, that will be something that I'm more interested in." Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Mike Braiotta, age 33, is a lot younger than Joe P, but he’s got quite a reputation built up from the years he’s been frequenting storage auctions. Mike is a Bronx native, now of Westchester, and affectionately known as “The Hustler” because he likes to buy and flip his auction finds as fast as humanly possible.

Mike says, “When I leave a locker,” I know what I’m going to sell. I try not to keep anything for more than five days.” And NY Daily News reports, “Long as he can remember, he says, he liked stuff. Just, you know, stuff. He wanted to dig into it, look through it, maybe own it.

"When I was a kid, I collected everything… Baseball cards, you name it. My uncle was a junkman and he took me to an auction when I was about 10. I learned everything from him."

Follow Mike and Joe, the American Storage Idols throughout this season and see what you can learn from a couple of pros while you’re sitting at home in your lounger instead of standing around in an auction crowd. Get yourself ready to put your education into action at local auctions whenever the time is right.

Castle: Storage Auction Hunting Goes Mainstream

Storage auction fans may have had a pleasant surprise if they caught the October 8th episode of Castle, “Secret's Safe With Me.” The show, now on its fifth season, follows the exploits of a crime novelist who teams up with a local detective to solve crimes using his deductive reasoning and extensive list of contacts. In the October 8th episode, the investigation led the duo to a storage facility, where bidding on the contents of an abandoned unit was a crucial step in solving the crime. The detective team even gets into a bidding war to ensure they get the contents they need.

Storage facilities aren't exactly a new setting for crime dramas, but highlighting the auction itself is definitely a sign of the times. Castle is well-known for folding in plenty of pop culture references into each episode, and the auction was clearly a nod to the current auction-hunting phenomenon. That these auctions went from being relatively unknown and obscure to full pop-culture icons is a peculiar mark of our time.

Obviously, storage shows like Storage Wars and Auction Hunters have put the storage business front and center, but these shows wouldn't be popular if they didn't tap into something primal for viewers. Plenty of reality shows don't make it past the first few seasons, and they certainly don't all spawn spin-offs and creep into the public consciousness. So what is it about storage auctions that capture our imaginations so much?

There's certainly an element of treasure-hunting. The idea of finding something valuable and long-forgotten has been a powerful icon in our cultural mythology since before the written word. In a way, storage auction TV is just the newest iteration of the tale of Aladdin and the Cave of Wonders.

There's more to it, though. People are, in many ways, defined by their possessions. When we crack open a storage unit, we're doing more than sifting through items – we're sifting through a small part of a person's history. In a culture that's simultaneously more isolated and more connected than ever before, taking an intimate peek into each other's lives holds a lot of power for the public imagination.

Dan Dotson Bio

Dan Dotson

One half of a husband-and-wife team, Dan Dotson is the featured auctioneer on A&E's Storage Wars. A native of Riverside, California, Dan and his wife are co-owners of American Auctioneers and run a number of storage auctions and provide other auction services.

Dan grew up in the auction business. His grandfather worked as an auctioneer for cattle and farms in Arkansas, and he passed the trade along to his grandson during the summers when Dan wasn't in school. From the age of 11, Dan was educated in the field, and he began working his first auctions at the age of 16.

Since then, Dan has developed a successful career in the auction business. He founded American Auctioneers in 1983 as an auction house specializing in pottery, porcelain, dolls, furniture and collectibles; in 1996, he met Laura and she became his wife and business partner. They soon shifted their company's focus toward storage units, and they also started doing auctions for estates, business inventories and foreclosure auctions. Their company also handles fundraisers and appraisals.

In 2010, Dan and Laura started work on the TV show Storage Wars. Although Dan is the primary auctioneer on the show, he does sometimes stand aside to let his wife take center stage. They act as neutral parties with a friendly attitude toward all of their buyers, and they sometimes need to step in to cool down the tempers of fiercely competitive bidders on the show. When not officiating auctions, Dan is also the chief adviser of Storage Treasures, a web portal focusing on storage auctions across the country.

Is Storage Wars Texas Disrupting DFW Area Storage Auctions?

Back in September, we asked readers to weigh in on whether Storage Wars: Texas was disrupting the regular storage auctions in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Readers weighed in with their comments and insight, and here are the results:

  • Auctions take longer. Whenever the film crew is present, a 30 minute auction can take several hours to complete. The crew will film lots of extra footage of bidding, and they may request that some people stay behind to reenact bids for the show as well. Being present at a filmed auction nearly always seems to result in long, hot hours in the sun.
  • Auctions are much more crowded. People are eager to be involved in a television production, even if it just means watching one get filled. Normally quiet auctions can easily be swarmed with 100 or more people, and people bring their whole families to the auctions, so children are often present and may not be watched very closely by their parents.
  • Bids are higher. Whether this is due to the number of novices who don't know better or the amount of people trying to get some air time for the show, it's not clear. Many people have reported that bids are nearly double what they'd normally be during filmed auctions, though, so professionals often try to steer clear.
  • The cast and crew are generally quite easy-going and easy to get along with, but some people definitely sense a “scripted” vibe from them and that can be a bit awkward for bidders. The people you hang out with on the set may not act exactly like you'd expect them to from watching the show.

The good news is that these changes seem to primarily affect the auctions that are being filmed, and local businesspeople are able to make a decent profit on the regular auctions. By avoiding the overcrowded taped auctions and sticking to the quieter, less-public affairs, auction-hunters are able to make a decent profit on the items they find without getting swept up into the hype. Some novices are still paying way more for units than they're worth, but good deals are still available to those who know where to look – and are patient enough to wait for them.

Does this match with your experience? Leave a comment to let us know whether you've noticed any differences in the way auctions are being handled in your area now that Storage Wars: Texas is filming there.

Roy Williams Makes a Guest Appearance on Storage Wars TX

Roy WIlliams Storage Wars Texas

A former NFL player, Roy Williams was a defensive back for the Dallas Cowboys for seven years, then finished his career with two years for the Cincinnati Bengals. He made his first appearance on Storage Wars: Texas when Ricky and Bubba found some memorabilia bearing Roy's autograph. After talking with him, they convinced him to come out and participate in his first storage auction in Season 2 of the show.

In 2011, Roy had some down-time while his agent was looking for the right team to pick him up. This left him with plenty of free time to explore the auction world and connect with fans through the show. His presence on Storage Wars: Texas undoubtedly helped lure in more eager fans for the program.

Roy hasn't returned for Season 3. Now officially retired from football, Roy works as a sidelines reporter for the Oklahoma Sooners, bringing him closer to his college roots as a player at University of Oklahoma. Whether he still attends storage auctions in his free time is unknown, but it's always a possibility.