Tennessee judge blocks effort to sell Graceland

ByJared Kofsky ABCNews logo
Thursday, May 23, 2024

Elvis Presley's home of Graceland will not be hitting the auction block on Thursday after all.

During a hearing Wednesday in Memphis that lasted around eight minutes, Shelby County Chancellor JoeDae Jenkins adjourned the sale of Graceland, saying, "The notary has sworn that the notary did not notarize the signature of Lisa Marie Presley on the deed of trust, which brings in the question as to the authenticity of the signature and indeed the deed of trust as being a fraud."

The Tennessee hearing was called to determine whether a mysterious business could proceed with an advertised plan to auction off the estate of the king of rock 'n' roll, which for decades has been a major tourist magnet.

Actress Riley Keough, Presley's granddaughter, sued to stop a company calling itself "Naussany Investments and Private Lending LLC" from auctioning off the site her grandfather bought in 1957. The sale had been scheduled for Thursday morning at the front of the courthouse.

Keough is alleging Naussany presented fraudulent documents last September "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," according to the court documents obtained by Memphis ABC affiliate WATN.

Keough is being represented by attorneys based in Memphis and Jacksonville, Florida. It is not yet clear whether Naussany Investments has an attorney; no lawyer appeared in court Wednesday on behalf of the group.

"We requested the temporary injunction and the court granted it," Jeff Germany, the Memphis-based lawyer representing Keough, told reporters following the proceeding.

Jenkins said "Gregory Naussany" of Jacksonville filed a one-page motion for continuance on Tuesday, but the county chancellor denied the motion Wednesday.

"The court will adjourn the sale as requested because one, the real estate is considered unique under Tennessee law and in being unique, the loss of the real estate would be considered irreparable harm," Jenkins said.

Jenkins added, "Graceland is a part of this community, well loved by this community and indeed around the world."

ABC News obtained a copy of the motion after court on Wednesday.

"I believe the claims made against Naussany Investments & Private Lending are unfounded and do not warrant the issuance of a Declaratory Injunction or Temporary Restraining Order," a man identified as "Gregory E. Naussany" wrote.

"Lending the opportunity to present defense against the allegations made by Danielle Riley Keough, Trustee of the Promenade Trust, Naussany Investments & Private Lending is prepared to provide evidence and arguments to demonstrate the relief sought is not justified in this case," he added. "I respectfully request that the Court consider Motion of Denial and rule in my favor."

ABC News reached out to all email addresses that were listed in court documents for Naussany Investments to seek comment. On Wednesday evening, an individual identifying themself as "Kurt Naussany" responded, "You can wait like everyone else when documents are filed in the next 48 hours."

The addresses for Naussany Investments and the associated firm of NIPL LLC that are listed in court papers are all post office boxes, with one being in Jacksonville and the other two being in Missouri's Ozark Mountains.

Naussany Investments is not listed as a registered business in Florida, Missouri or Tennessee.

Keough's legal team told the court that signatures from Lisa Marie Presley on a promissory note and deed of trust were forged. Court filings say that the documents were "purportedly acknowledged before notary public Kimberly Philbrick in May 2018 in Duval County, Florida" but never recorded with the Shelby County Register.

The court filings show that Philbrick, a registered notary in Daytona Beach, Florida, signed an affidavit on May 8 saying that she never met Lisa Marie Presley and never notarized these documents.

Philbrick has not yet responded to requests for comment from ABC News.

Graceland remains open to the public for tours this week.

ABC News' Josh Margolin contributed to this report.

Related Topics