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Jerry Lewis estate ready for Las Vegas auction amid confusion

Let’s cut to the quick: The home belonged to Jerry Lewis. The jewelry and fine art did not.

The Las Vegas estate Lewis called home from 1982 until his death in August 2017 is again for sale. Real estate investor Jane Popple has listed the home for $1.8 million, with a public auction set for 1 p.m. May 25-27. An open house is scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Popple bought the house for $1.2 million from Sam Lewis, Jerry Lewis’ widow, closing the sale June 30. The estate was the family home for 35 years and was where the couple’s daughter, Danielle, grew up.

The online listing for the estate’s upcoming sale and flyers and signs related to the auction have sparked concern among Lewis’ family. The information also has led to some confusion among those interested in the property.

Originally, the sign placed behind the gate and near the entrance of the house, and also displayed around town, read, “Jerry Lewis Real Estate Auction Forced Sale,” with, “Plus Contents Rolls-Royce, Fine Art and Fine Jewelry.”

Within hours of the sign being placed at the Lewis home, family member and Las Vegas attorney Sean McClenahan — who also grew up in the home and was raised as one of Lewis’ own sons — asked that the wording be changed. It was, and now reads, “Former Jerry Lewis Home Real Estate Auction.”

The term “Forced” was eradicated — this was never a forced sale, as the Lewis family and Popple reiterate — with other items listed as “current owners contents.”

Popple said the original message was a miscommunication between the auction company and the printer who created the sign. “I didn’t like it, and I know the family didn’t, either.”

Azi Williams, who represents Real Estate Resolution Corp. and is helping to stage the home’s sale, said Thursday it was indeed a snag in communication that led to the errant messaging.

When asked how such an error could have occured, Williams said, “That’s a good question. I’d have to find out exactly what happened. When there was a mistake in the wording, they had the signs redone with the correct wording, which was approved by the attorney representing the Lewis family (McClenahan).”

Sam Lewis has declined to speak on the record about the upcoming auction. McClenahan has been enlisted to present the family’s thoughts.

“It must be noted that this is NOT a Lewis Family auction, nor one authorized by the family,” McClenahan said in a text message Thursday. “On behalf of the family, I have requested that both Ms. Popple and the auction company stop using Mr. Lewis’ name to promote this auction. She is free to use the wording ‘Former home of…,’ as it is true, it was his home.”

The Real Estate Resolution Corp.website’s listing for the items up for auction refers to the property as the “Former Jerry Lewis Home.” In smaller print, after “Contents,” the site lists items never owned by Lewis, including the work of such world-renowned artists as Picasso, Norman Rockwell, Peter Max, Claude Monet and Paul Cezanne.

Watches also are listed: Rolex, Cartier, Breitling among those specified. Many jewelry items set with precious stones also are on the list.

Williams said he understood that the juxtaposition of those items under Lewis’ name could be confusing and that Popple had furnished the full list.

“We’re going to have to get that cleaned up,” Williams said. “We will revisit the site and make sure it is worded correctly.”

Popple says, “I’m not a techie, and I haven’t even seen the website. I don’t even know how to call it up.”

Sam Lewis confirmed that none of those items was left in the home after she sold the property. Danielle Lewis said, “My mom, when she moved out, had left a couple of my dad’s shirts that he wore, a couple of signed pictures and portraits. The master bedroom furniture, that was his.”

McClenahan added, “Anything that Ms. Popple is selling now are items that she requested be left in the home because she was such a huge fan (i.e., photographs); old furniture that was going to be donated to Goodwill; or items that never belonged to Mr. Lewis.”

The Rolls-Royce is of particular interest on the list that remains on the auction flyer and website. That vehicle was listed because Popple had planned to buy a Rolls-Royce and include it separately in the auction. “It’s not coming to the auction,” she said.

Popple further explained that the fine-art collection is her own. She said she is an avid collector with about 200 lithographs. She noted that less than half of that collection will be displayed and sold separately. The jewelry belongs to a friend of Popple’s, and it, too, is being offered independent of the home sale.

Popple previously has purchased high-profile property. She bought Ted Binion’s estate on Palomino Lane in 2017 and singer Juan Gabriel’s estate on Pinto Lane in 2014 and has since sold both — Binion’s in March and Gabriel’s in October. The real estate investor lives in a separate estate in Rancho Circle.

Among the items listed in the former Lewis home that once belonged to the entertainment legend are the master bedroom set mentioned by Danielle Lewis; between 21 and 25 newly framed photos and paintings; books from his personal collection; CDs and videotapes with DVD and VCR players; and a few shirts and metal filing cabinets.

“Tell the family not to worry, I’m not going to let anyone do anyone to do anything stupid,” Popple said. “I’m just trying to sell the property.

Sam Lewis moved on July 1 from the home she shared with her husband for more than 35 years. The family oversaw a public auction of Lewis’ estate this past June, selling the majority of his personal belongings and movie memorabilia.

Danielle Lewis briefely visited the home Thursday for a video shoot at the front gate. She has no plans to attend this weekend’s open house. “Probably not,” she said, chuckling. “It’s not really my business.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats! podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1on Instagram.

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