Graceland sues city in federal court over zoning delay

By , The Daily Memphian

Graceland has sued the city of Memphis again, this time in federal court, over an indefinite delay of a zoning change allowing Elvis Presley Enterprises to expand the Whitehaven tourist magnet.

The operator of Elvis Presley’s home and related attractions sued the city in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, Oct. 16, alleging the delay was retaliation for its Chancery Court lawsuit against the city and Memphis Grizzlies ownership.

Graceland claims its constitutional rights were violated when city officials asked for the rezoning to be tabled pending resolution of the Chancery lawsuit. That case seeks to resolve whether a FedExForum non-compete clause prevents public incentives from going to one of Graceland’s planned improvements, a 6,200-seat performance venue.

City chief legal officer Bruce McMullen said the federal lawsuit appears to be a rehash of Graceland’s previous claims.  “It is hard to see how the lawsuit is legally sound,” he said in a statement. “Unfortunately, once again it appears EPE is using lawsuits as part of their business strategy.”