Dealing with comedian Jerry Seinfeld was no laughing matter, according to a Manhattan federal court lawsuit filed Friday by a car collector that accuses the comic of selling an inauthentic version of a rare luxury Porsche for $1.54 million.
The collector, Fica Frio Limited, says Seinfeld personally attended the 2016 auction on Amelia Island in Florida where the car — a “1958 Porsche 356 A 1500 GS/GT Carrera Speedster” — was advertised in the catalog as being “From the Jerry Seinfeld Collection.”
The auction was covered by The New York Times, the lawsuit said, and Seinfeld, a rare car aficionado and collector himself, told attendees “I wanted to be here with you all, who see these things the way I do and enjoy it the way I do. I want to see your face and feel your enthusiasm.”
Although the auction materials described the car as “a prized fixture” in Seinfeld’s collection since 2012 and “among the finest restored examples of a highly sought-after four-cam Porsche,” the lawsuit said, the next year an expert refused to certify it because of gaps in the car’s historic record and pedigree.
Seinfeld at first agreed to return the money for the car, said the lawsuit, quoting a 2018 voicemail in which the comedian allegedly said he wanted to “offer my apology for this nuisance and assure you that you will be completely indemnified.”
The comic also said he would “love to know how your guys figured it out because I find that to be interesting cause that’s impressive my guys did not I guess see anything amiss with the car when I bought it,” according to the lawsuit.
But Seinfeld eventually backed out of the agreement and refused to refund the money, said the lawsuit, which seeks refund of the money in return for the car, and claims negligent and intentional misrepresentation and breach of an oral agreement.
In a statement, a lawyer for Seinfeld said, “Jerry has been working in good faith to get to the bottom of this matter. He has asked Fica Frio for evidence to substantiate the allegations. Fica Frio ignored Jerry and instead filed this frivolous lawsuit.”
The lawyer, Orin Snyder, also said, “Jerry is willing to do what’s right and fair, and we are confident the court will support the need for an outside evaluator to examine the provenance of the car.”
Lawyers for Fica Frio declined to comment.