Elvis Presley’s daughter Lisa Marie has lost almost all of her share of her late father’s US$100 million (AU$136.6m) trust fund, leading to a bitter court battle with her former financial manager.
According to court documents, obtained by the Daily Mail, the late rock star’s only child, now 50, has accused her former business manager Barry Siegel of squandering her share of the estate, while allegedly paying himself a US$700,000 (AU$848,000) salary.
The trust fund has now reportedly been reduced to just US$14,000, which Presley claims is a result of “reckless and negligent” investments, with one large one in American Idol’s holding company – which ended up going bankrupt.
According to the publication Presley claims Siegel “enriched himself with exorbitant fees”, while blaming him and his firm Provident Financial Management of running her funds “into the ground” – something he has strongly denied.
“Siegel repeatedly led Lisa to believe she was in ‘good shape’ with her finances,” the documents stated. Presley is said to have fired Siegel in 2015 after learning of her true financial situation, after 10 years working together.
Siegel is now counter-suing for US$800,000 in damages, claiming Presley lost the money through her “uncontrollable spending habits”.
Presley reportedly blames the company for selling 85 per cent of her trust’s stock in Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE) in 2005 – apparently its largest asset at the time. The documents state that she was told it was worth $100 million, when actually “the Trust received, net of taxes, only approximately $40 million cash and $25 million in stock in American Idol’s future holding company”, the papers go on to state.
From there, she claims Siegel began liquidating the trust’s principal assets to allow Presley’s lavish lifestyle to continue, while he allegedly encouraged her to spend at a budget that was twice her annual post-tax income.
Presley also claims her trust’s real estate portfolio was run “in to the ground”, with mortgages on two houses the trust owned in Hawaii and Hidden Hills, California, stacking up to more than the properties were worth themselves in 2010.
In their counter claim, Siegel and his company cited the fact Presley is currently going through her fourth divorce from guitarist Michael Lockwood, 56, who’s demanding huge spousal support of US$40,000. According to Page Six, Presley has claimed she is US$16 million in debt, and a judge has since ruled while she won’t need to pay monthly spousal support yet, but will have to pay $50,000 for his legal fees.
Siegel’s lawyer told Starts at 60 in a statement: “Since inheriting her father’s estate in 1993, Lisa Marie has sadly squandered her fortune twice. Elvis Presley Enterprises accumulated $20 million in debt by 2003 as a result of Lisa Marie’s spending. It was at this point that Siegel secured a fantastic deal that rescued Elvis Presley Enterprises from potential insolvency. That transaction provided Lisa Marie with millions of dollars in income annually, preferred stock and the additional cash she desperately needed. Barry Siegel received no direct benefit from that transaction, which made Lisa a multi-millionaire.”
They added: “Mr Siegel repeatedly urged Lisa Marie to cut spending and advised her on how she might better manage her finances. Lisa Marie refused all advice and continued to spend excessively over the next ten years, which has now depleted her second fortune. Unfortunately, these financial and personal misfortunes are a direct result of Lisa Marie’s refusal to listen to her family, friends and trusted advisors.
“It comes as no surprise that a person in her position would try to blame others rather than take responsibility for her own actions.”