Elvis, Grizzlies, Memphis entangled in court battle over tax incentives

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - One of Memphis' favorite sons is now entangled in a fight with the Bluff City.

Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE) is working to open an entertainment complex at Graceland. However, an agreement between City of Memphis and the Grizzlies makes it impossible to use public funds to open any arena that would compete with FedExForum.

That agreement was one of the things that helped lure the Grizzlies organization from Vancouver, but now it's keeping EPE from opening its 6,200 seat venue in Whitehaven--because EPE said it needs tax incentives to help pay for the venue.

EPE said the venue would not compete with FedExForum, which seats more than 18,000. The group asked Shelby County Chancery Court to take up the dispute.

EPE said it has gone back and forth with City of Memphis and the Grizzlies to negotiate an agreement. But because neither side could come to an agreement, EPE said it was "left with no choice to protect both itself and the city of Memphis by filing a declaratory judgment action."

City of Memphis responded to EPE's decision to go to court with the following statement:

"The city has worked in good faith to attempt to negotiate with Elvis Presley Enterprises to find a suitable resolution for its concerns. The administration is shocked that EPE would use a misleading press statement and a lawsuit to try to advance its position in the negotiations."

The Grizzlies organization did not release a comment concerning the controversy.

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