Prince Mongo's Castle not his to give away
(WMC-TV) - Memphis' own Robert "Prince Mongo" Hodges tried to give his iconic "castle" away, but it turns out it was not his to donate.
Hodges, better known to Memphians as Prince Mongo, is a former nightclub owner who has run in nearly every Memphis mayoral election since 1991.
Ashlar Hall is also called the Castle in Central Gardens. It is now in the hands of a new owner after Hodges turned the keys over to businessman Kenny Medlin in a quitclaim in early November.
The more than a century-old residence has been an infamous property under the ownership of the eccentric Prince Mongo, the so-called King of Zambodia, who turned it into a club at one point.
The 12-thousand square foot structure was closed as a public nuisance. Mongo has been in and out of environmental court with the decaying, but still spectacular, place.
"First of all I want to fix it up. There's a lot of charities that have expressed interest in using it for a lot of good causes," said Medlin.
Hodges said by phone that is what he wants as well.
"We don't want it to ever be torn down or destroyed," he said. "The problem is I don't know what to do with the castle once it's fixed up. I want to have some charitable event take over the castle."
Here is the real problem: The Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention wants the castle. Member Joe Thordarson said the group has submitted a plan to environmental court. The group jumped in after Hodges offered the castle free to a good home on Facebook a month before he quitclaimed the structure to Medlin.
"Just because its signed over to me doesn't mean its off the table. Anybody with the financing in place handle the rehab make it look right," said Medlin.
Thordarson said his group is scheduled to be in environmental court Monday to discuss their plan.
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