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.
Audubon Drive ContinuedJune 03, 2006 | Other Source:Reuters
Teacher wrote on June 03, 2006
Mike Curb is well-respected and very active in promoting and preserving music in Nashville and it would be a safe assumption to say that he and his family foundation would be perfect owners for the Audubon home. Michael Curb (born December 24, 1944 in Savannah, Georgia) is an American musician, record company executive, race car owner (in both NASCAR and IRL), and politician who served as Lieutenant Governor of California from 1979 until 1983. He is a member of the Republican Party. A "boy wonder" in business, at age 21 he started his own record company, Sidewalk Records, sold it out for a large amount of money, and was then appointed head of MGM Records around 1971. At MGM in the 1970s, he was associated with Roy Orbison and others such as the Osmond Family. He organised his own group, "The Mike Curb Congregation", which along with the Osmonds was accused by critics of presenting a "white bread" sound but which sold millions of records. Part of the religious right, Curb was encouraged to enter politics in part by Ronald Reagan. Curb was elected lieutenant governor in November, 1978, at the same time as the reelection of Governor Jerry Brown. Brown was out-of-state for much of 1979 and early 1980 seeking the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Curb often took advantage of this to fill the role of acting governor, sometimes vetoing legislation or issuing executive orders that would not be in any way the intent of Brown. Much of this resulted in litigation, but the ability of Curb to act when Brown was out of state was upheld in most instances, setting an important precedent for future lieutenant governors. Despite being seen briefly as one of the Republican Party's rising stars and being promised a bright political future by some national Republican leaders, Curb became disenchanted with elective politics and did not seek re-election. Returning to the music industry, he established Curb Records. He moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1994 where his company records for artists such as Wynonna Judd, LeAnn Rimes, Hank Williams, Jr., Tim McGraw, Sawyer Brown and others. Curb also, in cooperation with Warner Music Group, is an equity partner in church music publishers Word Label Group. A stock car racing enthusiast, he is the owner of Curb-Agajanian Motorsports, a full-time team in NASCAR's Busch Series. Curb's sponsorship and ownership have included three of NASCAR's greatest drivers; he previously owned Richard Petty's famed #43 in 1984 and 1985, including the 199th and 200th career wins for Petty. Curb was also a sponsor for Dale Earnhardt during his 1980 championship winning season, and currently sponsors Darrell Waltrip's #12 Toyota Tundra in the Craftsman Truck Series, driven by Joey Miller. Curb-Agajanian has also run cars in the Indianapolis 500 on occasion. In Nashville, Curb has become known as something of a civic leader and as a benefactor of Belmont University, where his donation toward the construction of a new arena was sufficient to result in it being named the Curb Event Center in his honor. The University also runs "The Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business."
Steve B. wrote on June 03, 2006
Teacher, Nice posting about Mike Curb. He is certainly a very successful man in the entertainment field. My good buddy Steve Holy also records for Curb Records.
Viva wrote on June 05, 2006
Anything that stops that moron getting his bendy mind waves on Audubon Drive gets my vote. If what Mr Geller blabs on about is true, how come he didn't see this coming? Psychic my arse.