Lucille Ball auction of love letters to occur after nasty legal battle

Lucille Ball love letters will be sold at auction, after a contentious legal battle between the daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz and the widow of Lucy's second husband.

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    The daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, shown here in this 1951 'I Love Lucy' still, was unable to prevent the auction of Lucy's love letters.
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Some of Lucille Ball's love letters and awards will be sold at auction after a judge ruled to block the sale but imposed a hurdle that the comedienne's daughter cannot overcome.

Although Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert O'Brien agreed to block the sale Friday, he imposed a $250,000 bond that Lucie Arnaz Luckinbill would have to pay to get a restraining order issued. Her attorney, Ronald Palmieri, said the amount is too high and can't be met.

"We won on a legal basis, and the judge took it away from us on an economic basis," Mr. Palmieri said. "That is very sad."

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Ms. Luckinbill is the daughter of Ball and first husband Desi Arnaz. She sought the return of some of the items after Susie Morton, the widow of Ball's second husband, Gary Morton, offered them for sale.

Ball and Gary Morton were married until the time of the actress's death in 1989. He later married Susie Morton. She consigned several items to Heritage Auction Galleries, including a Rolls-Royce, some of the couple's love letters and photos, and some of Ball's personal items. The items are scheduled to go on sale Saturday at an auction being conducted online and in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Ms. Morton sued Luckinbill this week, seeking a judge's order allowing the sale to go forward. Luckinbill in turn sought the restraining order Friday.

Through Palmieri, she had sought the return of the love letters and Ball's lifetime achievement awards, which she said would be donated to a museum honoring her mother.

Heritage President Greg Rohan has said the auction house supported Susie Morton and had received documentation from her affirming her right to sell the items.

Susie Morton's lawsuit claimed that Luckinbill had forfeited her right to the items after her mother's estate was distributed.

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