3OYS: Peoria man says Three Stooges memorabilia no laughing matter

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Three Stooges are one of the most popular comedy acts that aired on TV starting in the 1930s.

Their slapstick routines made Moe, Larry and of course Curly household names.

There's not an episode Robert Leonard hasn't seen. He started watching the Three Stooges as a kid back in Boston and still watches them today.

"They would run the Three Stooges on a daily basis on the local TV station there in Boston, so as soon as you got out of school, everybody would go running home to watch the Three Stooges on TV," Leonard told 3 On Your Side.

Leonard is such a fan of the trio, that he found himself collecting items that once belonged to the Stooges.

For example, Leonard had a gold money clip that was actually owned and used by Curly, one of the Stooges. In fact, Curly even had his full name, Curly Howard, engraved on it. "The prize possession of mine was that gold money clip that Curly owned and that was my favorite piece. I paid $1,000 for that back in the 1980s."

Leonard says he had all kinds of Three Stooges memorabilia. But, times got tough financially for Leonard and he found himself in need of money.  So, he decided to sell off the items.

He turned to an auction company called Premiere Props, operated out of California.

Leonard says he signed a contract with Premiere Props and allowed them to auction off his entire Stooges collection in June. And the items, he says, sold fast. "It all sold for $13,050, and they (Premiere Props) get a 25 percent cut of that which I agree, that's fine. I'm not going to fight them about that."

After deducting their commission and other fees, Robert says Premiere Props owes him between $9,000 and $10,000.

However, after four long months of waiting, Leonard says he hasn't seen a dime. "That's not right," he says. "That's not fair." Leonard also complains that Premiere Props has decreased its communication, which concerns him.

3 On Your Side got involved and we contacted Premiere Props. The company says it has every intention of paying Leonard his money, although a company representative indicated they're unsure exactly how much money they owe him.

They also say they intend to deposit the money this week, whatever that amount is, into Leonard's PayPal account.  Leonard says he's heard that before, but he's never received anything.

Other consumers have complained to the Better Business Bureau about the company, saying they too were promised their money following an auction, but reportedly never got it.

Premiere Props is quick to point out that, according to the contract signed by Leonard, they are within the time frame of getting him is money.  The contracted states "90 days."  However, Premiere Props maintains the 90-day clock doesn't start ticking until they receive money from the buyer, and then Premiere Props has 90 days to get the money to Leonard.

Leonard says it's been a roller coaster ride for him. He's already waited four months to get his money and wonders why he even sold his Three Stooges collection.  "Why did I deal with these people in the first place?" he wonders.

3 On Your Side will stay on top of the issue and will air an update to let you know if Leonard gets his money and how much he receives.