Westgate Las Vegas Hotel awarded $2.2M in Elvis Exhibit Dispute
A company that used space at the Las Vegas Westgate Resort (formally International & Las Vegas Hilton) for an Elvis Presley exhibit must pay the Las Vegas resort more than $2.2 million for defaulting on a lease, the resort’s chief operating officer said this week.
A court-appointed arbitrator in California ruled that Joel Weinshanker’s company, Exhibit A Circle, a Delaware limited liability company, owed the resort for 28,000 square feet of exhibit space that held 350 historical artifacts, including The King’s first gold album and his high school yearbooks.
“We are disappointed that the Elvis legacy had to be dragged through this court case, but we’re very happy with the outcome,” Westgate COO Mark Waltrip told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Friday. “Hopefully the Elvis fans will understand we’re doing everything we can to protect Elvis’ legacy, but there are some things we can’t control.”
Weinshanker’s Las Vegas attorney, Ogonna Brown, could not be reached for comment.
The artifacts came into the Westgate’s possession after it signed an agreement in late 2014 to host “Graceland Presents Elvis: The Exhibition — The Show — The Experience.” The Westgate closed the exhibit within a year after Weinshanker threatened to default on the lease.
But a lawsuit filed in early 2016 by Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc., which is licensed by the Delaware LLC, over ownership of the artifacts is ongoing in Clark County District Court. That suit was put on hold while the arbitrator ruled on the rent money.
“It’s a significant step that an independent judge reviewed all the facts and came to the conclusion that Joel Weinshanker purposely defaulted on a lease and owes us money,” Waltrip said of this week’s ruling. “We want to get paid what is due to us, and we want to make sure that the Elvis artifacts are protected and given to the proper home.”
Other artifacts loaned to Exhibit A Circle for the Las Vegas display include Elvis’ 1957 Harley Davidson motorcycle, a 1962 Lincoln Continental, jewelry and the first outfit worn onstage for Elvis’ first concert at the International Hotel in 1969.
A dispute over ownership of Elvis Presley artifacts remains unresolved in the midst of a legal battle in Clark County District Court. But an arbitrator in California recently ruled that the company that defaulted on a lease for an exhibit at the Westgate resort must pay more than $2.2 million.
“At the end of the day, Elvis lived in our hotel for 10 years and is a major part of the Las Vegas landscape,” said Mark Waltrip, the Westgate’s chief operating officer.
SOURCE: Las Vegas Journal - Review