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Split image of Elvis Presley (in 1956) and his granddaughter Riley Keough (in 2021).© Getty

Riley Keough's heartbreak as Elvis Presley's former home Graceland set for 'fraudulent' sale

Elvis, Lisa Marie, and her son Benjamin are all buried at Graceland

Faye James
Senior Editor
May 21, 2024
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Graceland, the iconic home and burial site of the legendary Elvis Presley, is facing a dramatic and emotional turn of events. This historic estate, a symbol of the King of Rock and Roll, is set to be sold at a foreclosure auction this Thursday. The news has sent shockwaves through the Presley family and Elvis' legion of fans around the world.

According to a legal notice published earlier this month, Graceland and the surrounding land on Elvis Presley Boulevard will be auctioned off for cash to the highest bidder at Shelby County Courthouse on May 23, as reported by WREG-TV News. 

Elvis' granddaughter, actress Riley Keough, 34, who currently owns Graceland, is fiercely challenging the sale with a lawsuit, claiming it is 'fraudulent.' A temporary restraining order on the sale was issued on Monday, and an injunction hearing is set for Wednesday.

Elvis Presley strolls the grounds of his Graceland estate in circa 1957© Getty
Elvis Presley strolls the grounds of his Graceland estate in circa 1957

The legal notice claims that Riley's mother, the late Lisa Marie Presley, allegedly signed a Deed of Trust in 2018 to secure a $3.8 million loan, using Graceland as collateral. 

This loan was purportedly taken through a Missouri company called Naussany Investments and Private Lending. Now, the company claims Lisa Marie did not repay the money before her untimely death at 54 last year.

The life of Lisa Marie Presley

However, Riley's lawsuit, filed on May 15 in Shelby County Chancery Court, disputes these claims, stating that her mother did not borrow money from the company. "These documents are fraudulent," the lawsuit declares, alleging that Lisa Marie's signatures on the deed are forgeries. 

The lawsuit also claims that Naussany Investments is not a legitimate company. The notary listed on the documents has denied notarizing Lisa Marie's signature or ever meeting her.

The graves of Elvis Presley and his parents at his former estate 'Graceland' in Memphis© picture alliance
The graves of Elvis Presley and his parents at his former estate 'Graceland' in Memphis

When did Elvis Presley buy Graceland?

Elvis Presley purchased Graceland in 1957 for $102,500, the same year he recorded a slew of iconic hits including Blue Christmas and All Shook Up. Lisa Marie inherited the estate after her father's death in 1977 and opened it to the public as a museum in 1982. When Lisa Marie passed away in January 2023, her daughter Riley became the heir to the estate.

The homes' worth has since skyrocketed – in large part thanks to Priscilla's decision to open it to the public – and today it reportedly generates over $10 million annually, plus a Presley executive told Rolling Stone in 2020 that the estate is worth upwards of $500 million.

Graceland stands as an enduring symbol of Elvis' immense impact on American culture. Located in Memphis, Tennessee, the 13.8-acre property attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, all eager to pay homage to one of America's greatest musical legends. 

Elvis Presley with his wife Priscilla Beaulieu Presley and their 4 day old daughter Lisa Marie Presley on February 5, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee© Getty
Elvis Presley with his wife Priscilla Beaulieu Presley and their 4 day old daughter Lisa Marie Presley on February 5, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee

The property was constructed in 1939 by Ruth Brown Moore and her husband Dr. Thomas D. Moore, who named it 'Graceland' after Ruth's aunt, Grace Toof, the original owner of the land.

Graceland offers a fascinating glimpse into Elvis' lifestyle, including the famous 'Jungle Room' filled with greenery and family heirlooms. According to a video on the Graceland website, every item of furniture in the home is an original piece purchased during Elvis' time there. 

Harper Vivienne Ann Lockwood, Lisa Marie Presley, Priscilla Presley, Riley Keough, and Finley Aaron Love Lockwood attend the Handprint Ceremony© Getty
Part of the estate also goes to Lisa Marie's twin daughters Harper and Finley

Today, the property at 3763 Elvis Presley Blvd is one of America's most famous musical landmarks, acknowledged in 1991 when it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It features a museum housing some of the most notable artifacts from Elvis' career, including a 40ft high wall that displays all the awards he received posthumously.

Riley's legal battle over the ownership of Graceland was approved by a judge ten months after her mother Lisa Marie's death in January 2023. She was named the sole trustee of the family estate after a contentious legal battle with her grandmother Priscilla Presley, 78. 

Their disagreement centered around a 2016 amendment to Lisa Marie's will that removed Priscilla as trustee of the estate. Attorneys for Priscilla said she only became aware of the amendment after her daughter's death. 

Graceland Elvis Presley mansion sign Memphis USA© Education Images
Graceland Elvis Presley mansion sign Memphis USA

The amendment removed Priscilla and Lisa Marie's former business manager Barry Siegel, replacing them with Lisa Marie's children Riley and Benjamin Keough. Tragically, Benjamin died in 2020 at age 27.

Lisa Marie passed away in January 2023 at the age of 54 after suffering a cardiac arrest at her home in Calabasas, California. It was later determined that she died from a 'small bowel obstruction' caused by a bariatric surgery she had undergone, according to the autopsy.

Last year, Priscilla confirmed it is her wish to be buried next to her late ex-husband Elvis on his Graceland estate when she dies. Currently, Elvis, Lisa Marie, and her son Benjamin are all buried at Graceland.

When did Graceland open to the public?

Five years after Elvis' death, his ex-wife Priscilla led the decision to open Graceland to the public, making it one of the U.S.' most popular tourist destinations, and largely saving the Presley family from financial peril; the $500,000 annual upkeep of the home while it remained a private residence had significantly dwindled Priscilla and Lisa Marie's fortune.

MORE: Riley Keough remembers late mom Lisa Marie Presley and brother Benjamin on bittersweet day

"Sharing Graceland with the world was her idea from the start," Riley said of her grandmother in a recent Vanity Fair interview, adding: "She's a beautiful woman, and she was a huge part of creating my grandfather's legacy and Graceland. It's very important to her."

She added: "All she wants is to love and protect Graceland and the Presley family and the legacy. That's her whole life."

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