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Treasures of Paris (Hilton) Offered for $20 Million

February 03, 2006|Robert W. Welkos | Times Staff Writer

Is there a limit to how much attention one celebutante can get? Apparently not.

A Phoenix-based broker is trying to auction off a veritable "King Tut's tomb" of Paris Hilton-abilia discovered in a Los Angeles-area storage locker, including photos of Hilton in various stages of undress, as well as her personal diaries recounting sexual escapades.

He's seeking $20 million.

David Hans Schmidt, dubbed the "Sultan of Sleaze" for brokering deals involving celebrity porn, said the items were obtained last November when the contents of the storage facility were sold off for $2,775.

Schmidt said the items include 18 diaries whose pages recount Hilton's sexual dalliances, celebrity encounters and other adventures; photographs of Hilton in a number of locales, such as St. Tropez, and "wild parties" on yachts and in private homes; as well as her computers, clothing, videos and furniture.

A publicist for the hotel heiress, who is famous for being famous, confirmed that Hilton's personal belongings had been "illegally seized" from the storage facility, but said he could not comment on Schmidt's description of the items because he has not seen them.

The publicist, Elliot Mintz, said the things were left at the storage facility while Hilton, 24, was moving from one Hollywood Hills home, where she had lived with her sister, Nicky, to another nearby in 2004. But, due to what the publicist called a "bureaucratic foul-up," the items were sold to an unidentified buyer.

Mintz said Hilton was "incredibly upset and angry" and felt "victimized."

He added that Hilton's lawyers are threatening legal action against anyone in possession of the items.

Schmidt said the things were being kept in a safe location, out of state.

Although he said he initially thought the items might sell for about $5 million, after further review he said the bidding could start at $20 million.

Schmidt said he would be happy to return the items to Hilton -- if she can afford the asking price.

"I might give a small discount to Paris," Schmidt added.

Mintz said he was "certainly not closing the door" on Hilton's buying back the materials, but he also characterized the $20-million asking price as "rather irrational."

Mintz said he issued a news release Thursday drawing attention to the items in the hope that "someone is going to do the right thing, contact us and arrange for the return of the goods."

He said they included "many, many photographs, videotapes and journals or diaries that belonged to Paris."

This isn't the first time that Hilton has suffered a security breach: The heiress shot to fame after a homemade sex video surfaced on the Internet in 2003, and information from her T-Mobile account, including phone numbers of her celebrity friends, was posted on the Internet in 2005.

Mintz said Hilton's accountants made the necessary payments on the storage locker but added that "they never were credited to that account for some reason, or there was some bureaucratic foul-up. Then the ... storage company auctioned the stuff."

Meanwhile, Hilton advisors were evaluating their options.

Her attorneys are looking into the legal question of whether Hilton's diaries are copyrighted, Mintz said.

Schmidt contends that he has the "right of fair use" when it comes to the materials.

"Paris Hilton no longer owns this property," he said. "All right, title and interest in this property belongs to the bidder who won this sale last November."

He declined to describe the diaries' contents but said they include "everything that would be dear to a woman's heart: relationships, personal feelings, sex, love, breakups, sexual experiences, all those little things that make up a little girl's life. Her deepest, darkest secrets."

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