THOUSAND PALMS, Calif. - Twenty two year desert resident and eight year Elvis Presley estate owner Reno Fontana continues to fight for the property he loves.
"Who would ever imagine that a legitimate lender would evict and foreclose on someone and then say I'm going to keep the home and open the business myself? What legitimate lender would ever do such a thing? A legitimate lender would not," Fontana said.
Back in 2006, Fontana and Lorie Whittier bought the 5100 square foot estate on Chino Canyon Drive - with help from private lender Randy Raicevic and investing company "Financial Bonanza." The investment company said Fontana didn't pay his loan -- and Fontana got evicted this past January. The final decision from the five-day trial clears title and gave Raicevic ownerhsip.
"They had the cow, that didn't belong to them. They were able to milk it meaning they had control, they were doing tours, making money on it but not paying the mortgage or paying my clients who lent them the money to buy the property," Michael Rubin, the Financial Bonanza attorney, said.
Reno said he has plans to get the home back.
"It's very much like a championship ballgame. Referees make bad calls. In this case the judge made a bad call. That's why we appeal," Fontana said.
Fontana said he paid his loans.
"Mr. Rubin, attorney for Financial Bonanza, is the one saying no payments were made. Attorney Class 101 says if you make a statement to the press you stick by it, live by it, die by it. Testimony, transcript will show we paid over $420,000 against out loan. Property taxes, insurance, upkeep, that's a proven fact not disputed. If Rubin says he is right, it'll make him look like a liar," Fontana said.
Raicevic said he plans to open the home for public tours in October. Fontana said he'll believe it when he sees it.
Fontana said it took him three years to get a permit to open the house for tours, so he thinks it's highly unlikely that'll happen for Raicevic in just three months. Fontana said this appeals process can take up to 2 years, and he fully expects it to.