published Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Priscilla Presley tells fans upset about Elvis jets to 'calm down'

The Hound Dog II, one of two jets once owned by Elvis Presley, is on display at Graceland in Memphis.
The Hound Dog II, one of two jets once owned by Elvis Presley, is on display at Graceland in Memphis.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

MEMPHIS — Priscilla Presley is asking fans of her late ex-husband Elvis Presley to "please calm down" after a report that two jets once owned by the singer could be removed from Graceland.

Fans have posted critical comments on Facebook since The Associated Press reported last week that Elvis Presley Enterprises informed the owners of the Lisa Marie and the Hound Dog II to prepare to remove the planes when their agreement ends next April.

Elvis Presley Enterprises operates the Graceland tourist attraction, and OKC Partnership owns the planes.

On July 2, Priscilla Presley posted a comment on her Facebook page saying: "I see your posts about the planes. Please calm down, we're in the midst of negotiations. It's as simple as that. Thank you."

On Sunday, she posted another statement.

"I'm reading what you are saying, but listen, the people who own the plane put the release out to intentionally upset everyone. We're on top of it. Thank you for your trust in us. We will soon be putting out a release about some new and exciting things happening at Graceland."

It was not clear from the posting if the mention of negotiations means there's a possibility the planes could remain at Graceland. Some of the Facebook comments were supportive of Priscilla Presley.

The planes were bought by Elvis Presley in 1975 and used on concert tours. They were sold after his death on Aug. 16, 1977, and were eventually purchased by OKC Partnership in Memphis.

OKC Partnership and Graceland agreed to bring the two jets to Graceland in the mid-1980s. Their agreement called for OKC Partnership to receive a cut of ticket sales in return for keeping the planes there.

Earlier this year, Elvis Presley Enterprises sent a letter to OKC Partnership's K.G. Coker, asking Coker "to make arrangements for the removal of the airplanes and the restoration of the site on or shortly after April 26, 2015."

Coker said Monday that the contents of the letter were released after he was contacted by a reporter and he has not negotiated with Elvis Presley Enterprises since the AP story was published. Coker has acknowledged that he and his partners would lose money from ticket sales if the planes were removed.

Meanwhile, Elvis Presley Enterprises and OKC Partnership are embroiled in a lawsuit filed May 27 in Shelby County Chancery Court over a dispute about how tickets to the airplane exhibit are sold.

The tickets have been bundled in a package that includes the tour of the Graceland mansion, but Graceland's operators want to "unbundle" it and sell the airplane tours as a separate ticket.

The pricing for the packages, which offer different levels of access, are currently $37, $42 and $72 for adults, according to Graceland's website. A ticket for the self-guided airplane tour and the "'68 Special" attraction, featuring an interactive video experience about Elvis' December 1968 televised event, is currently $12.

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