Leno settles Duesenberg lawsuit

Tonight Show host and noted car collector Jay Leno has quietly settled a lawsuit that accused him of illegally buying a 1931 Duesenberg Model J that had belonged to John Straus, the elderly heir to the Macy’s fortune.

According to a report in the New York Post, the terms of the settlement involving Straus’ family, Leno and the Windsor Garage are confidential, but a source said the family got some money, but not from Leno, who gets to keep the car.

Leno lawyers Ronald Berg and Bruce Bronster said only their client was "happy with the outcome," according to the Post story.

The suit claimed that the 85-year-old Straus — a grandson of Macy’s co-founders and Titanic victims Isador and Ida Straus — was suffering from dementia in 2005 when the garage threatened to auction off his Duesenberg and 1930 Rolls-Royce unless he paid his $22,000 parking bill. Leno eventually bought the car for $180,000 and claimed he paid a fair price for the car, which he said was in poor condition. The car had sat untouched for many years in the Windsor Garage. The car had been considered the last unrestored Duesenberg that was still in the possession of the original owner, until Leno purchased the car and became its second owner. (See our original story here.)

Leno has since had the Model J restored and keeps it as part of a collection that includes several other Duesenbergs.

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