June 16th, 2024

Graceland foreclosure sale halted as Presley estate’s lawsuit moves forward

By Adrian Sainz, The Associated Press on May 22, 2024.

FILE - Fans wait in line outside Graceland Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, in Memphis, Tenn. The granddaughter of Elvis Presley is fighting plans to publicly auction his Graceland estate in Memphis after a company tried to sell the property based on claims that a loan using the king of rock ’n’ roll's former home as collateral was not repaid. A public auction for the estate had been scheduled for Thursday, May 23, 2024, but a Memphis judge blocked the sale after Presley’s granddaughter Riley Keough sought a temporary restraining order and filed a lawsuit, court documents show. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill, File)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – A judge on Wednesday said Elvis Presley’s estate could be successful in arguing that a company’s attempt to auction Graceland is fraudulent as he halted a foreclosure sale of the beloved Memphis tourist attraction.

Shelby County Chancellor JoeDae Jenkins issued a temporary injunction against the proposed auction that had been scheduled for Thursday in Memphis, where the king of rock “˜n’ roll’s former home is located. Jenkins’ injunction essentially keeps in place a previous restraining order issued after Presley’s granddaughter Riley Keough filed a lawsuit to fight off what she said was a fraudulent scheme.

“Graceland is a part of this community, well-loved by this community and indeed around the world,” the judge said.

A public notice for a foreclosure sale of the 13-acre estate posted earlier in May said Promenade Trust, which controls the Graceland museum, owes $3.8 million after failing to repay a 2018 loan. Keough, an actor, inherited the trust and ownership of the home after the death of her mother, Lisa Marie Presley, last year.

Naussany Investments and Private Lending said Lisa Marie Presley had used Graceland as collateral for the loan, according to the foreclosure sale notice. Keough’s lawsuit alleged that Naussany presented fraudulent documents regarding the loan in September 2023.

“Lisa Maria Presley never borrowed money from Naussany Investments and never gave a deed of trust to Naussany Investments,” Keough’s lawyer wrote in a lawsuit.

Neither Keough nor lawyers for Naussany Investments were in court Wednesday. Keough’s attorney, Jeff Germany, said outside of court that he has not had direct contact with representatives from Naussany.

Naussany did file an unsuccessful motion asking the judge to deny the estate’s request for an injunction.

Kimberly Philbrick, the notary whose name is listed on Naussany’s documents, indicated that she never met Lisa Marie Presley nor notarized any documents for her, the estate’s lawsuit said. The judge said the notary’s affidavit included in the lawsuit brings into question “the authenticity of the signature.”

The judge noted that Keough may be able to successfully argue that the documents are fraudulent if her lawyer presents evidence that proves it. He said Naussany will have a chance to defend itself from the fraud claims.

Graceland opened as a museum and tourist attraction in 1982 as a tribute to Elvis Presley, the singer and actor who died in August 1977 at age 42. It draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. A large Presley-themed entertainment complex across the street from the museum is owned by Elvis Presley Enterprises.

“Graceland will continue to operate as it has for the past 42 years, ensuring that Elvis fans from around the world can continue to have the best in class experience when visiting his iconic home,” Elvis Presley Enterprises said in a statement.

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