Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino is under attack from the legacy of The King of Rock and Roll. The estate of Elvis Presley is suing the hotel in efforts to retrieve stage outfits, jewelry, a high school yearbook, and other memorabilia belonging to the late singer after the “Graceland Presents Elvis” attraction closed earlier this month.
The items in question were all on loan to an exhibit that was leasing space in the hotel, but the lawsuit claims that when the exhibitors (Exhibit A Circle LLC) wanted to get out of the lease, the casino shut down the exhibit and confiscated the artifacts. The hotel claims Exhibit A defaulted on the lease, prompting the closure of the exhibit.
Now, Westgate is being accused of holding the items hostage as leverage in the lease dispute.
Elvis’s estate, Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE), has filed legal papers in Clark County District Court claiming it was denied access to security cameras used to monitor the items. The estate said Westgate aggressively seized the valuables without a legitimate legal basis.
“Without the video, EPE cannot confirm whether the artifacts were damaged, switched out, or otherwise misused,” the documents say.
According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, Mark Waltrip, Westgate’s chief operating officer, has said the 28,000-square-foot exhibit was shuttered as a “protective action.”
The exhibit featured the $1 million annual contract signed on a tablecloth when Elvis agreed to perform at the hotel (then called the Las Vegas Hilton and The International), the black suit he wore for his first performances there, and a number of cars related to the performer.
The space represented Graceland’s first permanent Elvis exhibition outside of Memphis; Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley were present at its opening in 2015.
In the lawsuit, EPE is seeking compensatory damages and a court order requiring Westgate to turn over the artifacts, as well as punitive damages.
(Photo credit Erik Verduzco, Las Vegas Review Journal.)
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