Wednesday, July 11, 2007

More on Miller: Contracts 101

For those Elvis fans who are thinking about parting ways with $89 (by purchasing Billy Miller’s book), I want to reiterate a key point I outline on the Elvis Decoded webpage: the contract that Miller specifically cites does not say anything about Miller not talking about Elvis for 20 years after Elvis's death. The primary piece of evidence that Miller uses to bolster his entire story, then, is NOT what he claims it to be.

Miller steadfastly maintains that he entered into an agreement in 1969 not to talk about Elvis until a period of 20 years ends, and that the specified 20-year time period begins upon Elvis’s death. As we know the facts, Elvis died on August 16, 1977, so the 20-year time period would have ended on August 16, 1997. Miller posted this description on his website, referring to the December 30, 1969, contract:

“This is a copy of a handwritten contract between Elvis Presley and Billy Miller that states the agreement between them and creates a gag order that does not allow Billy Miller to say anything about Elvis or Billy himself until 20 years after Elvis’s death. The original of this document is in Billy Miller's Collection.”

Miller also posted:

“We had a contract that required me to keep anything and everything I knew a secret for at least 20 years after his death!”

However, let’s take a closer look at the two documents Elvis and Miller allegedly crafted and signed:

The first document in question is a December 30, 1969, “agreement” between Elvis A. Presley and William W. Miller, Jr., in which Elvis retains Miller “for private affairs [sic]…untill [sic] further notice.” Miller has claimed to have met with Elvis at The International Hotel in July or August of 1969, and at that time Elvis asked Miller to work for him. Why, then, did they wait until December 30 to draw up this agreement? And, more importantly, this is not a contract (there is no consideration), so what was the purpose of writing up this agreement? Why did it need to be in writing? Looking at the document, we see that Miller agrees to work for Elvis…that’s all. So what? What was it about the agreement that Miller and Elvis felt should be committed to paper? And why did this agreement, which means nothing, require a witness’s signature? Were Miller, Elvis, and Frank Sinatra such dim-wits that they thought this document meant anything?

The second document is the “contract” between Elvis and Miller outlining a promise that Miller will not speak publicly about Elvis or Elvis’s life until a 20-year period has ended. According to the contract, the 20-year period begins “today,” meaning December 30, 1969. Does Miller not realize that the story he’s been telling for years (that he promised to “keep his mouth shut” for 20 years after Elvis’s death) does not match up with the contract that he uses to support that very story? According to the contract, the 20-year promise/agreement expired on December 30, 1989, some six-and-a-half years before the August 16, 1997, expiration date that Miller cites. So, not only do Miller and Elvis write up this silly contract, and this silly agreement, but they don’t even understand the provisions in them.

Think about it: Miller says that he signed a contract stating that he would remain silent about Elvis's life for 20 years following Elvis's death. But that’s not what the contract says. The contract says that the 20-year silence ends 20 years from the date of the contract, NOT 20 years after Elvis’s death. In fact, nowhere in either document do we see the stipulation that Miller must remain silent for 20 years after Elvis’s death….and this is the crux of Miller’s entire story.

Finally, the contract stipulates that 20 years after Elvis’s death, Miller can use Elvis’s name “as he wishes.” There is no mention of a 20-year silence agreement from the time of Elvis’s death, as Miller repeatedly states.

To recap, Miller says he made a promise to Elvis, outlined in a formal agreement, that he would work for Elvis “until further notice.” Miller also entered into a contract with Elvis in which he agreed to remain silent regarding his knowledge of Elvis’s life until 20 years after the date of the contract, which was December 30, 1969. So, nowhere in these documents do we find an agreement that Miller must remain silent about Elvis’s life for 20 years after Elvis’s death, and yet this is what Miller has been saying for nearly 10 years

Are we to believe that over the past 37+ years, Miller failed to notice what the contract really states? And that no one involved with Miller's story noticed this glaring problem? (Recall that no one from Miller's camp noticed the problematic date on the Sinatra letter, either.)

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