Whitney Houston's auctioneers are refusing to back down in their fight to sell the late star's Emmy.
According to a letter obtained exclusively by RadarOnline.com, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences threatened legal action against Heritage Auctions earlier this month for planning to auction Houston's 1986 Emmy statuette, claiming the award is the exclusive property of the Academy.
However, Heritage Auctions is firing back. In an exclusive statement provided to Radar, president Greg Rohan argues that the Academy has so far refused to produce a document signed by the star agreeing to their terms.
"The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences claims that at the time Ms. Houston received that Emmy statuette she signed an agreement that it would not be sold. We have asked the Academy multiple times to produce that signed agreement but still have not received it," writes Rohan, who also says he has the blessing of the Houston family.
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Furthermore, he claims many Emmy winners have sold statuettes in the past with no problems.
"Why is the Academy now demanding return of Houston's Emmy when they did not stop over three dozen earlier public auctions the past decade of Emmy awards, almost all of them awarded to white recipients?" Rohan continues. "Based on their behavior thus far, we think the Academy is simply trying to bully the Houston family, and we're going to stand up for our consignor, regardless of the cost."
Cameron Stracher, a lawyer for Heritage Auctions, says that the Academy's legal position is that "you never really win an Emmy; you just borrow it."
Heritage Auctions plans to donate their entire commission from the sale, which is still slated for Friday, to a charity chosen by the Houston clan.
Houston, who died from a drug overdose and drowning incident in 2012, won her Emmy for a 1986 Grammy Awards performance of her hit "Saving All My Love For You."