Connect with us

Lifestyle

A judge blocks the foreclosure sale of Elvis' Graceland, after his heir alleges fraud

Published

on

A judge blocks the foreclosure sale of Elvis' Graceland, after his heir alleges fraud

Elvis Presley pictured with then-girlfriend Yvonne Lime at his home Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee around 1957.

AP


hide caption

toggle caption

Advertisement

AP


Elvis Presley pictured with then-girlfriend Yvonne Lime at his home Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee around 1957.

AP

A judge in Tennessee has blocked a foreclosure sale of Elvis Presley’s Graceland compound, after his granddaughter sued to stop it.

A company called Naussany Investments & Private Lending LLC advertised that such a sale would take place on Thursday, saying the trust that controls Graceland owed the property as collateral after failing to repay a 2018 loan taken out by Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis’ only child.

Advertisement

Actress Danielle Riley Keough, who goes by Riley, became the owner of the Memphis property after her mother’s death in January 2023. She alleged in a lawsuit earlier this month that Naussany Investments not only forged documents, but doesn’t actually exist.

The 61-page complaint says that in September 2023, the company “presented documents purporting to show that Lisa Marie Presley had borrowed $3.8 million from Naussany Investments and gave a deed of trust encumbering Graceland as security.”

But Keough says Presley never borrowed money from or gave a deed of trust — for Graceland or any other property — to Naussany Investments, alleging “these documents are fraudulent.” Moreover, the lawsuit argues that Naussany Investments “is not a real entity” at all.

“Naussany Investments & Private Lending LLC appears to be a false entity created for the purpose of defrauding the Promenade Trust, the heirs of Lisa Marie Presley, or any purchaser of Graceland at a non-judicial sale,” it reads.

Shelby County Chancellor JoeDae Jenkins sided with Keough after a hearing on Wednesday.

Advertisement

The Associated Press reports that he issued a temporary injunction to block the sale, essentially extending a restraining order he had placed on Naussany Investments last week.

Jenkins said in court that it would be prudent to delay any foreclosure sale of Graceland, given its prominence.

“The public interest is best served, particularly here in Shelby County, for Graceland is a part of this community, well loved by this community and, indeed, around the world,” Jenkins said, according to NBC News.

The 14-acre compound is a popular tourist destination as well as the final resting place of several of Keough’s family members, including Elvis and his parents, as well as her own mother and brother.

Jenkins also said that Keough will likely succeed in her lawsuit, “provided that you prove the fraud that has been alleged.”

Advertisement

Keough was not present on Wednesday, and her lawyers declined to comment on ongoing litigation. Naussany Investments did not have representation in court, according to multiple media outlets.

Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE), the company that manages the late singer’s estate, told NPR via email that “there will be no foreclosure.”

“As the court has now made clear, there was no validity to the claims,” it said. “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 a best in class experience when visiting his iconic home.”

Keough is accusing the company of forging documents

Riley Keough, pictured at the Met Gala earlier this month, is fighting a foreclosure sale of Graceland.

Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images


hide caption

Advertisement

toggle caption

Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images


Riley Keough, pictured at the Met Gala earlier this month, is fighting a foreclosure sale of Graceland.

Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Advertisement

The lawsuit names as defendants both the LLC and Kurt Naussany, whom it says has acted on the company’s behalf by sending Keough’s lawyers “numerous emails seeking to collect the purported $3.8 million debt and threatening to conduct a non-judicial sale of Graceland.”

Emails NPR sent to several addresses linked to the company have not been returned, and a Naussany phone number listed in the legal filing is out of service.

Adding to the intrigue, Kurt Naussany told NBC News via email that “he left the firm in 2015 and should not be named in the filing” — though one of the exhibits attached to the complaint shows a signed email he purportedly sent in 2023.

A lawyer for Keough told NPR he could not comment on pending litigation. EPE said in an emailed statement that any outside claims to the Graceland property “are fraudulent.”

“There is no foreclosure sale,” it said. “Simply put, the counter lawsuit [that] has been filed is to stop the fraud.”

Advertisement

Priscilla Presley — Elvis’ ex-wife and Lisa Marie’s mother — also refuted claims of a foreclosure sale on her social media accounts on Monday. She shared a picture of the front of the Graceland mansion, covered by animated red text reading: “It’s a scam!”

The lawsuit alleges that the documents purporting to show the loan and deed of trust at issue are “forgeries.”

“While the documents bear signatures that look like the signatures of Lisa Marie Presley, Lisa Marie Presley did not in fact sign the documents,” it says.

And it points to two clues that further suggest they are fake.

The documents were supposedly acknowledged before a notary public — an officer appointed by the state to witness such transactions — named Kimberly Philbrick in Duval County, Fla., in May 2018, according to the lawsuit.

Advertisement

The notarial acknowledgment on one of the documents includes language saying it was acknowledged before the notary “by means of ( ) physical presence or ( ) online notarization,” with the option to check either. But online notarization — and therefore, the language mentioning it — wasn’t authorized in Florida until 2020.

Secondly, Philbrick herself says she did not notarize either of the documents. She swore as much in an affidavit signed earlier this month, which was submitted alongside the complaint.

“I have never met Lisa Marie Presley, nor have I ever notarized a document signed by Lisa Marie Presley,” she wrote. “I do not know why my signature appears on this document.”

Another attachment shows Naussany Investment’s notice of the foreclosure sale, published online on May 12, on the grounds that the loan using Graceland as collateral was not repaid.

It said it would hold public auction outside the Shelby County Courthouse at 11 a.m. on May 23, and sell the property to the “highest and best bidder for cash.”

Advertisement

Keough, arguing that the company has “no right whatsoever” to conduct the sale, asked the court to issue an injunction permanently blocking the sale and declare that the note and deed of trust are fraudulent (and therefore unenforceable).

Last week, the judge issued a restraining order that prohibits the company, defendant Kurt Naussany “or any party acting in concert with either of them” from conducting a sale ahead of Wednesday’s hearing.

Elvis’ home base is now a major tourist draw

Visitors line up to enter the Graceland mansion in 2017, 40 years after Elvis’ death.

Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images


hide caption

Advertisement

toggle caption

Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images


Visitors line up to enter the Graceland mansion in 2017, 40 years after Elvis’ death.

Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Graceland started as part of a cattle farm. Elvis bought the grounds and existing mansion for $102,500 in March 1957. Its worth was estimated between $400 million and $500 million as of 2020.

Advertisement

Elvis moved in later in 1957, after he finished filming “Jailhouse Rock.” He would go on to expand the mansion to 17,552 square feet, adding fixtures like the kidney-shaped swimming pool and sheet music-styled gates.

Graceland remained his home base for the next two decades, until he died there in August 1977.

The estate then went to Elvis’ dad, Vernon Presley, and subsequently to Lisa Marie upon her 25th birthday in 1993. Keough officially became the owner in August 2023, after a months-long legal dispute with her grandmother over her mother’s will.

Graceland has been open to the public since 1982, and has expanded over the years to include a hotel, several museums, restaurants and an entertainment complex, among other attractions.

Advertisement

It employs hundreds of workers and draws upwards of 500,000 visitors annually, according to the venue, which calls itself the “most famous home in America after the White House.”

Graceland joined the National Register of Historic Places in 1991, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006, becoming the first rock-n-roll site to be named to both lists.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Lifestyle

2 climate activists were arrested after spraying orange paint on Stonehenge

Published

on

2 climate activists were arrested after spraying orange paint on Stonehenge

In this handout photo, Just Stop Oil protesters sit after spraying an orange substance on Stonehenge, in Salisbury, England, on Wednesday. (Just Stop Oil via AP)

Just Stop Oil/AP/PA


hide caption

toggle caption

Advertisement

Just Stop Oil/AP/PA

Two climate activists have been arrested at Stonehenge in England after spraying orange paint on the well-known historic landmark.

The group Just Stop Oil took credit for the Wednesday action, which they said was a call on the United Kingdom to stop the use of fossil fuels by 2030.

“Continuing to burn coal, oil and gas will result in the death of millions. We have to come together to defend humanity or we risk everything,” Just Stop Oil said in a press release.

Advertisement

The group said the orange cornflour used on the monument would wash away in the rain.

It identified the two activists responsible as University of Oxford student Niamh Lynch, 21, and Birmingham resident Rajan Naidu, 73.

The Wiltshire Police confirmed that officers arrested two people on suspicion of damaging Stonehenge.

The action took place just one day before the summer solstice — the longest day of the year — when thousands of people are expected to descend upon the historic monument.

English Heritage, the group that manages Stonehenge, said in a post on X that the site remains open. It called the incident “extremely upsetting” and said its curators were assessing the extent of any damage.

Advertisement

In its press release, Just Stop Oil said it wouldn’t be enough for the UK to stop any future oil and gas licenses, but rather urged the government to sign a legally binding treaty barring it from extracting and burning oil, gas and coal by the year 2030.

UK political leaders were quick to condemn the demonstration.

In a post on X, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “Just Stop Oil are a disgrace.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer, who is running against Sunak in the upcoming election, saidthe damage done to Stonehenge was “outrageous.” Starmer called Just Stop Oil “pathetic” and said those responsible for the action “must face the full force of the law.”

It’s the latest public protest initiated by activists with Just Stop Oil, whose members have also interrupted tennis matches at Wimbledon, disrupted the London pride parade and defacedclassic works of art.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Lifestyle

Celeb Hologram Creator Hit with $900 Million Sexual Assault Verdict

Published

on

Celeb Hologram Creator Hit with $900 Million Sexual Assault Verdict

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Lifestyle

Much Ado About First Folios — the world's largest Shakespeare collection reopens

Published

on

Much Ado About First Folios — the world's largest Shakespeare collection reopens

The new main exhibition hall at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., on June 14, 2024.

Jared Soares for NPR


hide caption

toggle caption

Advertisement

Jared Soares for NPR

The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. — home to the world’s largest Shakespeare collection — is emerging from a four-year metamorphosis that has left it almost entirely transformed — new museum spaces, new leadership announced, new programming outreach.

After years of being available only to scholars, the jewels of the library’s collection — 82 copies of Shakespeare’s “First Folio,” printed 400 years ago — will now be together on public display for the first time.

We got a behind-the-scenes sneak peek to look at how the Folger is reaching out to new audiences.

Advertisement

Shakespeare and the classics in Chocolate City

So much has changed at the Folger Shakespeare Library since it closed for renovations in January 2020, that it makes sense that the show reopening its performance space is called Metamorphoses. Mary Zimmerman’s adaptation of Ovid’s epic Roman poem is all about change, and Karen Ann Daniels, who directs programming for the Folger and is artistic director of its theater, sensed that it could speak to underserved audiences in D.C. if the Folger Theatre did it right.

“The play could really lean into the larger history of the populations of D.C.,” she said. “I’m totally thinking Chocolate City. That’s really where my idea came from.”

Her idea was to do the play with an all-Black cast, a notion director Psalmayene 24 wasn’t sure he was on board with until Memphis police officers fatally injured Tyre Nichols, a Black FedEx employee, last year during a traffic stop. The director said he worked through his grief at the incident by incorporating elements of the Black diaspora into Metamorphoses to celebrate Black humanity.

Artistic Director of the Folger Theatre Karen Ann Daniels at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., on  June 14, 2024.

”The play could really lean into the larger history of the populations of DC,” said Folger Theatre Artistic Director Karen Ann Daniels, shown here in the Folger’s performance space on June 14, 2024.

Jared Soares for NPR


hide caption

Advertisement

toggle caption

Jared Soares for NPR

“So in some ways this play is a response to America’s own proclivity for lethal anti-Blackness,” he said. “And when you do a show like this at a place like Folger, it says something about how not only Folger Theatre is changing, but how American culture is changing, how D.C. is changing, and how universal the stories that pass through this theater actually are. These stories are for everyone, and can be told in many different ways.”

Advertisement

The librarian has a favorite First Folio. It’s not the fanciest one.

A huge display case in the middle of the library’s new exhibition space glows softly, quietly announcing that it contains the Library’s crown jewel: 82 copies of Shakespeare’s First Folio printed in 1623 — more than a third of all the copies that are known to exist.

The First Folio marked the first time, just a few years after Shakespeare’s death, that his works were collected into a single volume, which makes it a benchmark for scholars. But no two of the copies collected by Henry and Emily Folger in their lifetime look the same. Some are skinny, others massive.

The main exhibit at the Folger Shakespeare Library

One of the Folger Shakespeare Library’s 82 copies of the First Folio, the Bard’s complete works printed in 1623, just a few years after his death.

Jared Soares for NPR


hide caption

Advertisement

toggle caption

Jared Soares for NPR

“These were all printed in 1623,” confirmed Folger librarian and director of collections Greg Prickman, “in the printshop of William Jaggard and his son Isaac, but over the intervening 400 years a whole lot has happened to these books. Sometimes they get damaged and parts are removed. Sometimes parts are added from other copies.”

Asked if he has a favorite, he headed to the far right side of the display case, past Folios prettily bound in leather with gold tooling.

Advertisement

“The one that I like the most is #30 — the only copy in this collection that has the original binding that was put on when this book was first purchased, not long after it was printed.

“So, if you wanted to see, ‘What does Shakespeare’s First Folio look like when it was just another quote-unquote new book?’ that’s the copy that you’re gonna be looking at, is #30.”

A sampler of Shakespearean insults

To the right of the main display case, there’s a smaller interactive display that lets you create a Shakespearean conversation. We only spent a few moments with it, but the display makes its own selections from phrases in the Bard’s plays once you choose a category — perhaps “blessing” (“You have been nobly born”) or “burning” (“Do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee”).

We only played with it for a few minutes, but we note that the plays contain a full complement of Shakespearean insults, so in theory, it could have you spouting such Elizabethan invective as:

“Away, thou rag, thou quantity, thou remnant.” (Taming of the Shrew, Act 4, scene 3)

Advertisement

“I am sick when I do look on thee.” (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 2, scene 1)

“I must tell you friendly in your ear, Sell when you can; you are not for all markets.” (As You Like It, Act 3, scene 5)

“More of your conversation would infect my brain.” (Coriolanus, Act 2, scene 1)

“The rankest compound of villainous smell that ever offended nostril.” (The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act 3, scene 5)

“And thou unfit for any place but hell.” (Richard III, Act 1 scene 2)

Advertisement

“Villain, I have done thy mother.” (Titus Andronicus, Act 4, scene 2)

“Would thou wert clean enough to spit upon!” (Timon of Athens, Act 4, scene 3)

The Mulberry Conundrum

The exhibition space has lots of rare manuscripts in a room called “Out of the Vault,” which of course made us wonder what else is in “the vault,” which is not open to the public. So we asked, and were led down a staircase to an imposing, steel, bank-vault door, behind which lie the refrigerated (“because that makes the books happy”) library stacks containing the quarter of a million other volumes in the Folger’s collection.

There are also 100,000 objects down here, ranging from paintings of the Bard, to props, costumes, models and “pieces of the tree,” said Prickman, enigmatically.

Folger Shakespeare Library Director of Programming and Exhibitions Greg Prickman outside the main exhibition hall.

Librarian Greg Prickman is the Folger’s Director of Collections and Exhibitions.

Jared Soares/Jared Soares for NPR

Advertisement


hide caption

toggle caption

Jared Soares/Jared Soares for NPR

Advertisement

“The mulberry tree,” he continued when pressed. “’Objects associated with Shakespearean legends’ is probably the best way to put it. I’m not the one to tell this story.”

So we looked it up.

Shakespeare allegedly planted a mulberry tree at his home in Stratford. More than a century later in the 1750s, the home’s then-owner, Rev. Francis Gastrell, got so tired of people asking to see it that he chopped it down, and local entrepreneur Thomas Sharpe bought the wood and had it crafted into Shakespearean souvenirs — everything from a carved casket that was presented to actor David Garrick (1717-1779), to snuff boxes and medallions.

So many items were created that they pretty clearly didn’t all come from one tree, but the Folger has some.

Why the Folgers placed a bet on the Humanities

The impulse to reach a more universal audience is what led Folger Library director Michael Witmore to spearhead the library’s $80.5M rethink — a wholesale “metamorphosis,” if you will, of a building and a mission that had been, frankly, functioning quite well.

Advertisement

“For the first part of the Folger’s existence, it was primarily a research library,” said Witmore, “serving scholars who were studying everything from animal husbandry to lyric poetry to theater. But we have the facilities and collection to do more, and this renovation allows us to take a world-class research library and surround it with a cultural institution that is a destination.”

A destination in the service of words written more than 400 years ago. Words that are also available digitally — “we digitize in order to create access, said Prickman, “and we exhibit materials in order to create access. The originals remain.”

And the presence of those originals just down the block from the Library of Congress, U.S. Capitol, and Supreme Court, was a big part of the intention of Henry and Emily Folger, said Witmore.

A view of the new underground entrance to the Folger Shakespeare Library’s exhibition areas.

A view of the new underground entrance to the Folger Shakespeare Library’s exhibition areas.

Jared Soares for NPR


hide caption

Advertisement

toggle caption

Jared Soares for NPR

“We need these words and these stories to elevate our sense of what’s possible as citizens. When you think about what happens in the Capitol, which is where words — you may not agree with them, you may think they’re funny or shallow — but it’s where words really matter. Including when the court is looking at what those words mean.

Advertisement

“So to put a Shakespeare library where his works are being performed, and where people are working through the poems and other things, right in this spot I think is a big bet on the importance of the humanities and the arts in a functioning democracy.”

Story edited and field produced by Jennifer Vanasco. Broadcast story produced by Isabella Gomez Sarmiento.

Continue Reading

Trending