LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Rick Harrison might have to negotiate a deal — this time, with his 81-year-old mom.
The “Pawn Stars” ring-leader has been sued by his mother, Joanne Harrison, who claims she has been cut out of companies, trusts and a safe full of cash and silver.
In a lawsuit filed in Clark County District Court on Thursday, Joanne Harrison lays open some family history and sore feelings that date back two decades and appear to have come to a head around the time her husband — “Old Man” Richard Harrison — died on June 25, 2018. When the “Old Man” died, Rick Harrison took control of many aspects of the business and accounts that Joanne Harrison says belong to her, according to the lawsuit.
In addition helping her husband lay the groundwork that turned into the “Pawn Stars” show, she says she is entitled to ownership in family businesses and holdings including the Pawn Shop (47.5%), G&S Pawn Shop (50%), Harrison Properties (35%) and JoRich (100%). The lawsuit alleges her stake in the businesses has been reduced without her consent, and payments to her have shrunk in some cases and completely ended in others.
“I can say that the allegations are false and I think that my 81-year old mother is being manipulated by others for their personal gain,” Rick Harrison said in a statement Tuesday to 8 News Now.
“Pawn Stars” is currently in its 19th season with nearly 600 episodes aired on History over the years. Gold & Silver Pawn Shop has become a tourist attraction on Las Vegas Boulevard. Rick Harrison, his son Corey, and Corey’s friend Austin “Chumlee” Russell have become celebrities, with long lines of tourists stopping to go through the store in hopes of catching a glimpse of them.
Among the allegations in the lawsuit, Joanne Harrison claims was forced to sign over her 51% interest in the pawn shop in 2000 or 2001, when Joanne was in a coma in the hospital.
She also claims Rick Harrison has “failed and refused” to provide documentation detailing the shop’s finances. She says Rick has blocked her from accessing the family’s trust, which “had accumulated approximately $500,000 worth of silver and at least $100,000 in cash” before her husband died.
Rick Harrison had disbursed $25,000 per month to Joanne from 2018 until early 2020, according to the lawsuit. Those payments were reduced to $20,000, and then they stopped completely in March 2020, which is when the COVID-19 pandemic began. She did not receive payments for six months (January-April, June and October) in 2021.
The lawsuit also claims she was kept in the dark about a $3 million loan that was secured using some of her assets.
Joanne Harrison is represented by Las Vegas law firm Hayes | Wakayama.