Tennessee Attorney General Investigates Attempt to Sell Graceland at Foreclosure Auction

Tennessee Attorney General Investigates Attempt to Sell Graceland at Foreclosure Auction

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee’s attorney general said Thursday that his office is investigating a company’s attempt to sell Elvis Presley’s Graceland home at a foreclosure auction, a move that was detained by a judge after the granddaughter of the king of rock n’ roll filed a lawsuit alleging fraud.

Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti said in a news release that the beloved Memphis tourist attraction “became the target” of Nausanny Investments and Private Lending when it attempted to sell the home-turned-museum based on claims that Presley’s daughter, Lisa Marie Presley had failed. to repay a loan in which Graceland was used as collateral.

Shelby County Chancellor JoeDae Jenkins issued an injunction Wednesday against the proposed auction, which was scheduled for Thursday. Jenkins’ court order essentially kept in place a previous restraining order issued at the request of Presley’s granddaughter. Riley Keough.

Tennessee’s designated attorney general can investigate and bring civil lawsuits, including in cases of alleged consumer fraud. But his authority in criminal courts is significantly more limited and is generally reserved for representing the state during appeals. Local district attorneys, who are elected, file criminal cases.

“My office has fought fraud against homeowners for decades, and there is no home in Tennessee more beloved than Graceland,” Skrmetti, a Republican, said in the statement. “I have asked my attorneys to investigate this matter, determine the full extent of any misconduct that may have occurred, and identify what we can do to protect both Elvis Presley’s estate and anyone else who may be similarly threatened.” .

A spokesman for the district attorney’s office in Shelby County, which includes Memphis, said it was not currently investigating. And a spokesman for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said the Shelby County district attorney has not asked it to investigate.

An FBI spokesman in Memphis said the FBI does not comment on the possibility or likelihood of investigations and declined to comment further.

Darrell Castle, a Memphis attorney who is not involved in the case but is following it, said he was not surprised by the state attorney general’s involvement.

“That’s what should happen, it’s that important,” Castle said. “Someone with investigative authority should investigate it and get to the bottom of the matter.”

After the judge’s ruling Wednesday, a statement from someone who appeared to be a representative of the company said it was withdrawing its claim, which Presley’s estate said was based on false documents. Online court records did not immediately show any legal filings suggesting the claim had been dismissed.

A public notice for a foreclosure sale of the 13-acre (5-hectare) property posted in early May said the Promenade Trust, which controls the Graceland museum, owes $3.8 million after defaulting on a 2018 loan. Keough, an actress, inherited the trust and ownership of the house after her mother’s death. Lisa Marie Presleylast year.

Naussany Investments and Private Lending said Lisa Marie Presley had used Graceland as collateral for the loan, according to the foreclosure sale notice. A lawsuit filed last week by Keough alleged that Naussany submitted fraudulent documents regarding the loan in September 2023.

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

Naussany filed an unsuccessful motion denying the lawsuit’s allegations and opposing the estate’s request for an injunction. Nausanny did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Thursday.

A statement emailed to The Associated Press after Wednesday’s ruling said Naussany would not proceed because a key document in the case and the loan were recorded and obtained in a different state, meaning “legal action would have to be filed in several states.” The statement, sent from an email address listed in court documents, does not specify the other state.

Court documents listed company addresses in Jacksonville, Florida and Hollister, Missouri. Both were for post offices, and a reference from Kimberling City, Missouri, was for a post office box. The company is also not listed in state databases of corporations registered in Missouri or Florida.

Kimberly Philbrick, the notary whose name appears on Naussany’s documents, indicated that she never met Lisa Marie Presley or notarized any documents for her, according to the estate’s lawsuit. The judge said the notary’s affidavit calls into question “the authenticity of the signature.”

Graceland opened its doors 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 attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. A large Presley-themed entertainment complex in front of 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 around the world can continue to have the best experience when visiting his iconic home,” Elvis Presley Enterprises said in a statement.

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Mattise reported from Nashville, Tennessee.