A Camano Island man discovered last week the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gives out more than Oscar awards, it gives out lawsuits as well. The Academy filed a federal lawsuit alleging Jim Dunne and another man in Florida exchanged a counterfeit or stolen Oscar through eBay.
The Academy did not return requests for comment.
According to the litigation, Dunne “acquired the Statuette from a moving sale” and promptly tried to sell it online. Soon, he took it off the website because, according to the Academy, “fearing that the Academy might learn of it”.
Post-1950 Oscars are property of the Academy, which has the “right-of-first-refusal” to buy them back for between “$1 and $10”.
Dunne told KING 5 he often sells items online, and only put the Oscar up for sale because he thought it was pre-1950 and “I’m safe”. His post included concern about the award’s authenticity.
He sold it to a man in Florida for $25,000 and said soon after, the buyer asked for and received a refund. Dunne said he then got more information the award might be fake.
It wasn’t long before the Academy contacted him.
“The heading on the email was ‘Stolen Oscar’,” Dunne explained, “I went, ‘oh crap.’”
The Academy’s lawsuit states the award may have been stolen years ago from Aaron Rochin, who won for sound work on the 1978 movie, “The Deer Hunter”.
Dunne said he told Academy attorneys he no longer had the award and that it was probably a fake.
“They’re just a machine,” Dunne said of the litigation, “Their funds are unlimited, so it doesn’t matter if they crunch over the little people. Maybe that’s what they do.”