Elvis Theme Park & Golf Resort Slated Break Ground

When Daniel Delpiano bought an 808-acre tract in DeSoto County, Miss., he had no clue that Elvis and Priscilla Presley had spent their honeymoon there or that Elvis owned a portion of the land between 1967-‘73. Once Delpiano discovered that one of America’s musical icons had lived on the property, he began brainstorming ways to capitalize on it.

Delpiano and his development group, EPR Enterprises, LLC, arrived at a plan to convert the wooded land into a $500-million theme park and golf resort dedicated to Elvis. The project’s backers are slated to break ground on August 16, 2002, the 25th anniversary of Elvis’s death. The plan involves two championship golf courses as well as condos, time-share rental units, and two hotels. Other amenities may include a recording studio – where fans can try out their best Elvis impersonations, a spa, and replicas of Elvis’s fabled Graceland mansion and the White House.

According to a Memphis website, EPR Enterprises has approached two well-known golf course architects to design the courses. Although no definitive arrangements have been made between the developer and Pete Dye and Tom Fazio, Delpiano says he plans to continue the discussions. If all goes well, the developer hopes to have at least one golf course open by spring 2004.

Called the Elvis Presley Ranch Resort when the project was first announced, officials for DeSoto County requested the name be changed so the county would avoid the inevitable lawsuits that would be filed against the developers by Elvis Presley Enterprises. So the developers changed the resort’s name to Circle G Ranch, the name Presley had given the property. Elvis Presley Enterprises has not yet granted EPR Enterprises permission to use the name, likeness or image of Elvis Presley. But in a March 15th article in the DeSoto Times, Delpiano asserts he’s entitled to use Presley’s name and image since Presley was a former owner of the ranch.

Almost as colorful as the concept of a golf resort and Elvis theme park are the developers themselves. At least two members of the group, Delpiano and J.D. Stacy, have made news before. According to Robert Lee Long of the DeSoto Times, a company naming Delpiano as a principal partner is under investigation by the state of Florida for illegal financial dealings. Delpiano’s partner, Daniel Stetson, is under a cease and desist order from the state of Florida prohibiting him from selling securities in that state. Of five corporations controlled by Delpiano registered out of Nevada, three are in default, one of which is Circle G Ranch, LLC, and a fourth that had its standing revoked.

Mobile home park mogul, J.D. Stacy, is the vice president of EPR Enterprises, LLC. Aside from being the nation’s largest mobile home park developer at one time, Stacy is currently involved in mining, and he was once the manager of NASCAR drivers. Quoting a NASCAR website, the DeSoto Times said that Stacy left the sport after he "visited various misfortunes upon those who were naive enough to trust him." His business dealings during his NASCAR days are thought to have prompted someone to place a bomb beneath his car in 1978.