Uri Geller's dream of turning the first home Elvis Presley owned into a museum dedicated to the paranormal has been dealt a setback nearly as bizarre as the spoon-bending trick that made the Israeli-born psychic famous.
Geller, who thought he had purchased the Memphis property in an eBay auction last month for $905,100, (481,000 pounds) learnt on Friday the sellers had turned around and sold the 3,000-square-foot (280-sq-metres) house to a foundation set up by Mike Curb, the long-time music producer.
The King of rock 'n' roll lived in the house at 1034 Audubon Dr. for 13 months before moving to Graceland, the now-famous Memphis estate where he died in 1977.
It was not immediately clear what Curb, elected lieutenant governor of California in the late 1970s, paid for the four-bedroom, two-bath home Elvis bought in 1956 with royalties from "Heartbreak Hotel."
What was clear late on Friday was that Geller was preparing for a protracted legal fight to get the house back. "We are absolutely, mind-blown angry," Geller told Reuters by telephone from his home in London. "Of course we're going to sue."
Geller and his two partners, New York lawyer Pete Gleason and Lisbeth Silvandersson, a Swedish-born jewellery maker who lives in England, may not be able to pursue a breach of contract claim against the sellers.
That's because eBay maintains real estate auctions on its site are marketing events, and not actual sales.
"The platform we provide in real estate really serves to generate interest," EBay spokeswoman Catherine England told Reuters. "... It isn't a legally binding contract."
And yet another odd twist may yet give Geller a chance.
The sellers, a husband and wife, recently had their debts discharged in bankruptcy court, Doug Alrutz, Geller's Memphis lawyer, told Reuters.
While the couple had included the home in their list of assets, the court did not appreciate its value. As a result, the bankruptcy trustee is now thinking about reopening the case, a move that could lead the court to reverse all the sellers' actions, Alrutz said.
Source: Reuters / Updated: Jun 3, 2006