New STORAGE WARS player arrest secret rocks embattled “reality” show.
The controversy surrounding A&E’s hit reality show Storagre Wars continues to grow as one of itsnewest featured stars recently spent four months in jail stemming from a felony drug conviction, RadarOnline.com reports.
Turmoil within the show is at an all-time high. Execs have locked out Dave Hester after offering and then rescinding a contract option.
Now Mark Balelo, who is being used to fill the Hester void, spent 132 days in jail for a probation violation.
Balelo pled guilty to the felony charge of sale or transport of a controlled substance in 2009. At that time he was sentenced to 60 days in prison and given three years probation.
But he violated that probation in 2011 and was sent back to jail in December.
Balelo, who has been taping episodes in place of Hester, confirmed his drug conviction to Radar in an exclusive interview, explaining: “A limo was rented in my name. I wasn’t even there. It’s not a big deal.”
BUT in June, 2011 police discovered Balelo transporting a firearm, a violation of his probation. Later that year, Balelo left the state as part of a custody battle over his children.
He was arrested for the probation violations and jailed.
"The whole thing was terrible,” his girlfriend Elizabeth Metzidis told Radar. “I want people to know that Mark has a heart of gold. There’s a very dear and good side to him.
“I have a son who has autism and he’s been very active raising money for that cause. At auctions, he’ll donate a (storage) lot for the cause.”
While Balelo hopes his troubles are in the past, Storage Wars is still generating some PR fueled heat, locking out perhaps its best-known character and facing charges that the show is rigged.
“Hester is out and the rest of the cast is working without fully negotiated contracts,” one source says. “And the network is telling everyone not to talk about it.”