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Riley Keough narrowly avoids Graceland auction after lawsuit –– for now

A Tennessee judge has temporarily blocked the sale of Graceland by Naussany Investments & Private Lending LLC

Beatriz Colon
Beatriz Colon - New York
New York WriterNew York
May 22, 2024
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There's been a new development in Riley Keough's efforts to save her grandfather Elvis Presley's iconic Graceland estate from being sold on auction.

The Daisy Jones & the Six actress –– who is the sole trustee of her late mom Lisa Marie Presley's estate, The Promenade Trust, and owner of the famed Tennessee home –– has narrowly avoided it being auctioned by Naussany Investments & Private Lending LLC (NIPL, LLC), who she sued on Monday.

During a hearing on Wednesday, May 22 at the Shelby County Chancery Court in Memphis, Tennessee, Chancellor JoeDae L. Jenkins temporarily blocked the sale by the private lending company, which would have taken place on Thursday.

During the hearing, which lasted about ten minutes and Riley did not attend, the judge said: "Graceland is a part of this community, well loved by this community and indeed around the world," and: "The estate is considered unique under Tennessee law, and in being unique the loss of the real estate will be considered irreparable harm," per the New York Times and People.

The move on behalf of NIPL to sell Graceland stems from a lawsuit they filed in September against Lisa Marie, who they claim failed to make good on a $3.8 million loan from 2018, and moreover listed her 15% stake in Elvis Presley Enterprises, plus Graceland itself, as collateral. (She sold 85% of Elvis Presley Enterprises in 2005 as a result of her mounting debt.)

In Riley's own suit, she claims not only that NIPL forged her late mother's signature on the deed of trust, but also that the notary who allegedly witnessed her signing the deed has said she did not notarize anything, and moreover that she has never met Lisa Marie.

Harper Vivienne Ann Lockwood, Lisa Marie Presley, Priscilla Presley, Riley Keough, and Finley Aaron Love Lockwood attend the Handprint Ceremony© Getty
The Presley women, including Lisa Marie's twin daughters Harper and Finley, in 2022

Riley's legal team has further argued that there is a possibility that NIPL is a "false entity," and in delaying the trial to determine the validity of the claims, the judge has allowed for "adequate discovery."

MORE: Lisa Marie Presley's teen daughter Finley shares emotional tribute in her honor, Riley Keough reacts

MORE: Riley Keough makes rare comment about husband Ben Smith-Petersen and his 'scary' job

In their September lawsuit against Lisa Marie's estate, NIPL claims she first took out a loan (under similar terms as the $3.8 million loan) for $450,000 in July 2016, however she repaid it in full less than a month later.

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

The second loan, the $3.8 million, came in May of 2018, and per court documents obtained by Entertainment Tonight at the time, the private lender provided as proof two checks from a U.S. Bank made out to Lisa Marie, as well as a loan agreement signed by her (the one her daughter claims are forged), agreeing to pay the loan in full by May 16, 2022, or else risk the collateral promised to secure the loan, Graceland.

MORE: Riley Keough and Priscilla Presley honor Lisa Marie's birthday as never-before-seen personal belongings are unveiled at Graceland

Elvis purchased Graceland in 1957 for $100,000 at age 22, and his ex-wife Priscilla Presley moved into the iconic property when she was 18 years old in 1963. At the time of the "Suspicious Minds" singer's death in 1977 when he was 42 years old, Graceland was reportedly worth $5 million, a $4,900% increase in value from when he first bought it.

Riley Keough and Lisa Marie Presley arrive at ELLE's 24th Annual Women in Hollywood Celebration at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on October 16, 2017 in Los Angeles, California© Getty
Lisa Marie passed away aged 53 on January 12, 2023

Still, despite the increased valuation, it was in fact Priscilla's decision to open it to the public in 1983, which made it one of the U.S.' most popular tourist destinations, that largely saved 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.)

Today, it reportedly generates over $10 million annually, and a Presley executive told Rolling Stone in 2020 that the estate is worth upwards of $500 million.

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