Priscilla Presley Fights Lawsuit From Ex-Business Partner Who Claims She Brokered A24 Movie

Priscilla Presley is mired in a legal battle with a company that claims it has the exclusive right to exploit her name, image and likeness.

Priscilla Presley Partners (PPP), a firm started by Brigitte Kruse and Kevin Fialko, claimed that it helped broker a deal for the A24 movie adaptation of Presley’s memoir — as well as a settlement of an estate dispute challenging the will of her late daughter, Lisa Marie — and has sued to enforce its rights.

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The company alleges breach of contract against Presley — who allegedly was months away from bankruptcy before it started managing her business affairs — for reneging on their agreement to partner with Keya Morgan, Stan Lee’s former business manager charged with multiple counts related to elder abuse against the comic book legend.

A judge on Monday scheduled an evidentiary hearing to assess whether Presley can be sued in Florida state court.

In a statement, Marty Singer, a lawyer representing Presley, denied the allegations in the suit. He added, “My client made significant claims against PPP and its principals Brigitte Kruse and Kevin Fialko for misappropriating hundreds of thousands of dollars long before this specious lawsuit was filed.”

The alleged misappropriation of funds relates to allegations that Kruse attempted to sell Presley’s home to herself. In a declaration to the court, Kruse said that she was directed to do so as co-trustee of Presley’s trust “in the same manner prior trustees held title to her home.”

According to the complaint, filed in Florida state court in October and first reported by The Daily Beast, Presley in 2022 approached Kruse, a well-known auctioneer who has conducted numerous Elvis memorabilia auctions, to take over management of her business and personal affairs. She was installed as manager and majority stakeholder in PPP, which was formed to exploit Presley’s name, image and likeness (NIL). Kruse was also granted power of attorney.

Upon assuming the position, Kruse says she learned that Presley was roughly two months away from insolvency on top of facing a bill for roughly $700,000 in unpaid taxes. Among the reasons for Presley’s alleged financial position was that she sold her rights and interest to her surname nearly 20 years ago to Authentic Brands Group, limiting PPP with the ability to exploit her first name only.

Shortly after Presley settled an estate battle in which she challenged the will of her late daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, Kruse, who says she provided “extensive assistance” in negotiating the deal, alleges she was approached by Morgan to assist PPP. Kruse spoke with him and Michael Froch, a California attorney, about potentially representing the company, the suit claims.

But the next day, Kruse says Froch sent her a cease-and-desist on behalf of Presley, revoking her power of attorney and alleging self-dealing.

“I have been informed today by Ms. Presley that you have attempted to sell her home to yourself and are closing or have closed on a real estate transaction, selling her home wherein you are the seller,” the letter read. “You have no effective power to do what is being alleged, and if true, I will have no hesitation to report this immediately to the authorities.”

Kruse, in a declaration to the court filed with a motion for a preliminary injunction, denied the allegations. “It appears that this allegation stems from an ill-informed reading of property records and failure to check simple public records,” she attested.

The suit accuses Presley of improperly cutting off all communication with PPP in violation of their agreement for her to disclose all opportunities to exploit her NIL.

“Though PPP was integral to the Priscilla Movie, all individuals other than Priscilla were excluded from the premiere of the Priscilla Movie at the Venice Film Festival on September 4, 2023, where it reportedly received a 7-minute standing ovation,” states the complaint, which claims that Kruse negotiated with director Sofia Coppola and A24 regarding the adaption of Presley’s memoir, Elvis and Me. A24 declined to comment for this story.

In November, NBC aired a production called “Christmas at Graceland,” in which Presley participated and PPP was not informed, according to the suit. Kruse also takes issue with the company no longer receiving booking requests for Presley.

“Priscilla has been offered, and has accepted, and continues to offer and accept, additional opportunities to exploit her NIL, but has excluded PPP from the negotiations and/or approval,” writes Kathryn Saft, a lawyer for Kruse, in the complaint.

The suit alleges that Kruse has spent a significant amount of her own money in developing various products and other intellectual property that was intended to launch alongside Priscilla. She seeks an undisclosed amount in damages.

In a motion to dismiss the suit, Presley claimed that Kruse improperly “targeted” her in order to become her business manager and adviser.

“Eventually, Ms. Presley learned that Ms. Kruse and her associate were attempting to misappropriate Ms. Presley’s assets and were engaging in other acts of wrongdoing,” the filing states. “Thus, Ms. Presley began extricating herself from Ms. Kruse’s various entanglements.”

Presley argued that the suit was incorrectly filed in Florida state court and that she does not owe the company any fiduciary duties as a minority owner.

Although specific terms were not disclosed, the settlement to resolve Presley’s petition to invalidate her late daughter’s will touches on her name, image and likeness rights. Lisa Marie Presley’s daughter Riley Keough stipulated to agreeing to “use her best efforts” to ask Elvis Presley Enterprises, which controls the rock ‘n’ roll star’s NIL rights, “not to pursue litigation against Priscilla related to her name, image, and likeness.” She also agreed to allow Kruse to attend “any memorial service for Priscilla.”

In 2022, a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge dismissed theft, embezzlement, fraud and false imprisonment charges against Morgan after a jury deadlocked in the case.

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