Officials: Fantasia Barrino ignoring upcoming house auction notices
By Christopher Rocchio, 01/07/2009
Fantasia Barrino's apparent unwillingness to respond to a lien on her North Carolina home is on track to cost her the house in the near future.
The American Idol third-season champ seems to be ignoring a court-ordered lien on a $1.3 million home she owns in Charlotte, NC, officials toldThe New York Post in a Wednesday report.
Barrino will forfeit the home in a debtor's auction set for noon on Monday unless she pays Florida credit company Broward Energy Management the $68,000 she borrowed in 2006 to pay back taxes she owed the IRS, according to The Post.
"I certainly don't want anyone to lose their house," Broward Energy Management attorney Larry Goldman told The Post. "But as far as I'm concerned, we have a judgment."
Barrino made an initial $10,000 payment on the loan in August 2007 but has failed to pay the rest, according to the company.
Broward Energy Management subsequently sued Barrino over the loan, however she never responded to court notices and failed to appear in court (or have a lawyer appear on her behalf) to defend herself against the lawsuit.
As a result, a judge issued an October ruling in which he agreed to let the company recover the remaining balance -- which was estimated to be $65,541 including interest and court costs as of September -- from Barrino.
Last month, the company won the right to auction the house -- which is located in Charlotte's Piper Glen neighborhood and one of two that the former Idol champ owns in the city -- if Barrino failed to pay off the lein.
Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office Sgt. J.W. England told The Post that although they've managed to contact her mother twice, sheriff's deputies -- which are responsible for enforcing civil court orders, including civil judgements -- have unsuccessfully tried to contact Barrino at the home and by phone at least a dozen times.
"We try very hard and give the defendant every opportunity to pay," said England.
Goldman told The Post he never heard from Barrino's representatives until after the judge's order was issued last month. According to Goldman, he's still only spoken with them twice and they've yet to offer to resolve the debt.
However Goldman said Barrino's representatives said they plan to be back in touch with him prior to Monday's auction.
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"My client has continuously asked me why they won't just pay it," Goldman told The Post. "I just don't have an answer."
Barrino's attorney Gary Greenberg declined comment.
"It's my practice not to talk about client matters," he told The Post.
Broward Energy Management's lawsuit isn't the first time Barrino has found herself in legal trouble over financial issues, according to The Post.
Back in 2005, a neighborhood association filed a lein on her $740,000 Charlotte home after she failed to pay association fees and other costs, Last year, she was also sued after failing to pay a $187,809 promissory note on a $240,000 Mercedes Benz she owns.
Assuming it happens, Monday's auction will be followed by a 10-day period in which anyone can offer a "higher upset bid," according to The Post, which added the home's actual sale could take months. England added once the sale is final, the new homeowner is responsible for evicting whoever still lives there.