Lisa Marie Presley and her financial manager Barry Siegel are in a legal battle after it was revealed that she’s $16.7 million in debt — Presley going after his “reckless and negligent mismanagement” of her inherited estate and Siegel claiming she “squandered” her own fortune due to her “excessive spending” habits.
In Presley’s case, she claims Siegel spent 11 years whittling down the $100 million trust she inherited after the death of her father Elvis Presley in 1977 to just $14,000, dissipating her wealth “through his reckless and negligent mismanagement and self serving-ambition.”
Much of that, she alleges, began in 2005 when Siegel sold 85 percent of her interest in Elvis Presley Enterprises in order to align himself with a famous investor tied to the holding company of American Idol. When that didn’t pan out, Presley alleges he began liquidating her assets in order to supplement the trust income without informing her, putting “his own best interests ahead of her in order to put himself in proximity to [the investor] and his celebrity circle.”
Siegel also allegedly bought a $9 million English home using the trust’s money, pledging the entire trust as collateral when he couldn’t make the $6.7 million balloon payment.
By 2016, Presley claims Siegel had liquidated almost all of the trust’s remaining principles — especially after the Idol holding company went bankrupt. Her trust was left with $14,000 cash and over $500,000 in credit card debt, according to the documents.
She’s suing for breach of trust, negligence, constructive fraud, and “recompense for the tens of millions of dollars that Siegel… cost her through reckless mismanagement.”
Meanwhile, Siegel’s countersuit claims Presley “twice squandered” her father’s fortune after she inherited it in 1993 and is “looking to blame others instead of taking responsibility for her actions.”
After Elvis’ death, his ex-wife Priscilla was the one who rescued Elvis Presley Enterprises from near bankruptcy, according to his documents — bringing in a CEO and turning Graceland into a money-making tourist attraction. But Siegel claims her daughter misused that.
“[Lisa] was rescued from insolvency by a deal she now calls fraudulent and self-serving,” Siegel’s suit says. “After becoming wealthy again, she dissipated her second fortune over the next 10 years. As she spiraled downward personally, she refused to listen to the warnings of her most trusted advisors and her family. Unfortunately, she has only herself to blame for her financial and personal misfortunes. … [Her] continuous, excessive spending and reliance on credit far exceeded what the Trust could pay her from income alone.”
Siegel and his company Providence Financial Management are suing Presley for $800,000 in damages. Siegel’s lawyer, Leon Gladstone, defends their actions in a statement to PEOPLE.
“It’s clear Lisa Marie is going through a difficult time in her life and looking to blame others instead of taking responsibility for her actions. The 2005 deal she is complaining about now cleared up over $20 million in debts Lisa had incurred and netted her over $40 million cash and a multi-million dollar income stream, most of which she managed to squander in the ensuing years,” he says. “My clients, Barry Siegel and Provident Financial Management, stuck by her and in return, Lisa Marie stopped paying them and is now blaming them for her uncontrollable spending habits. We are confident people will see through the talk and we will prevail in our case against her.”
Reps for Siegel did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment, but Presley’s legal counsel told PEOPLE in a statement that he “predictably responded to Ms. Presley’s lawsuit with false personal attacks in the press.”
“It is sadly consistent with his past behavior that he is now trying to pin the blame on Ms. Presley for the harm he caused the Presley estate,” Amjad M. Khan of Brown, Neri, Smith & Khan LLP, counsel for Ms. Presley, wrote. “Ms. Presley has paid Mr. Siegel well over $7 million in professional fees in just the past 10 years, and in return he has only caused her financial ruin. Now he has the audacity to sue her for $800,000 more. Mr. Siegel was not only Ms. Presley’s business manager, he was the trustee of the Presley estate — so it was his legal obligation to make sure the estate was managed properly. This was Mr. Siegel’s responsibility, not Ms. Presley’s. This is what he was paid and trusted to do, and he entirely failed to live up to his obligations.”
Khan continued, “He conned Ms. Presley into believing he was competently managing the estate when in reality he was just serving his own interests. Eventually, though, Ms. Presley discovered the truth and fired him and his company, Provident Financial Management. Ms. Presley regrets that legal action is necessary, but she must hold Mr. Siegel and Provident accountable for the harm they have caused the Presley family.”
Presley states she currently receives a monthly salary of $4,361 from her father’s estate, as well as $100,000 in dividends and interest from investments.
Lockwood, Presley’s fourth husband, married her 2006. The pair welcomed their twin daughters Harper and Finley in 2008 before the Graceland successor filed for divorce in June 2016, citing irreconcilable differences and claiming Lockwood was a poor father and “took advantage” of her financially.
- With reporting by JORDAN RUNTAGH