LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Elvis Presley estate has filed a lawsuit against a Las Vegas casino-hotel that is holding artifacts and memorabilia involving the King as part of a leasing dispute.
Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc. filed the lawsuit Monday in Clark County District Court seeking to retrieve stage outfits, jewelry, letters and a high school yearbook, among other artifacts from the career, home and wedding of Elvis.
The estate and business group is trying to get back hundreds of items it loaned to the much-hyped "Graceland Presents Elvis" attraction at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino.
The off-Strip property took control of the items last month when it shut down the attraction that includes a museum exhibit, wedding chapel and theater. The move came after the third-party operator, Exhibit A Circle, said it was quitting.
The lawsuit accused the casino of holding the valuables hostage for leverage in its leasing dispute with Exhibit A Circle, noting the estate has been cut off from a security camera that allowed it to monitor the items. It's asking the court to order the items be returned and seeks punitive damages.
Elvis Presley Enterprises declined to comment further on its lawsuit but previously said Westgate aggressively seized the valuables without a legitimate legal basis. Elvis Presley Enterprises runs the Graceland attraction in Memphis, Tennessee.
Westgate's chief operating officer Mark Waltrip declined to discuss the case.
The latest lawsuit is separate from the legal dispute between the casino and Exhibit A Circle that is being reviewed by an independent arbitrator. The Elvis estate group says it's not involved but Exhibit A Circle's manager is also the managing partner of the company that owns a majority of Elvis Presley Enterprises.
Westgate maintains that Exhibit A Circle defaulted on its 10-year lease with the casino. Waltrip suggested the closure was caused by poor attendance but he said the casino spent millions of dollars outfitting the space and wants to recoup money owed as part of that leasing agreement. He said the company hopes to reach an amicable solution with all parties.
Exhibit A Circle previously said the casino violated the contract first but declined to elaborate.