Fantasia Barrino home set for auction

'Idol' winner owes lender $65,000 for covering her taxes

RALEIGH, N.C. -- "American Idol" winner Fantasia Barrino is again finding that, like the title of her autobiography, life is not a fairy tale.

Court documents obtained Tuesday show one of Barrino's houses in Charlotte, N.C., is up for auction after a company said Barrino failed to repay money it loaned her to cover her taxes in 2006.

The Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office is scheduled to sell the home, valued at $1.1 million, next month. The home is not in foreclosure, but rather is being used to compensate the company that loaned Barrino money to cover taxes.

Barrino, whose autobiography is titled "Life Is Not a Fairy Tale," ascended rapidly to stardom after winning the third season of "Idol" in 2004.

A single mother and high school dropout from High Point, in central North Carolina, Barrino has released two albums and debuted on Broadway playing the lead role of Celie in the musical version of "The Color Purple." She also is nominated for a Grammy for "I'm His Only Woman," a song she performs with fellow "Idol" alumna and Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Hudson.

Even if January's sale proceeds, Barrino has another house in Charlotte. The singer has a $529,000 home a couple miles from the one scheduled for sale in south Charlotte.

Larry Goldman, a Charlotte-based attorney representing the Florida company that made the loan, said he hopes Barrino will pay the judgment before the home goes to auction Jan. 12.

"It seems like a huge waste of time and resources, and puts her home at risk," Goldman said. "I can't imagine that somebody is not advising her that it would be expedient to write a check and not have to deal with all the ramifications of having her home sold."

He said the two sides had contact when the complaint initially was served in January, but he has had no formal contact since. Goldman said he decided to go after Barrino's larger home because it appeared to be her place of residence.

Barrino's record label, J Records, declined comment.

Court documents show that Broward Energy Partners agreed to pay more than $68,000 of Barrino's taxes in October 2006. The company said Barrino repaid $10,000 of the loan. The company later sued for full compensation, but Barrino failed to appear in court to defend the lawsuit.

A judge agreed in October to allow Broward to recover the money from Barrino, plus 8 percent interest and court costs. That was an estimated $65,541 in September, according to the court documents.

Sgt. J.W. England, supervisor of civil judgments at the Mecklenburg sheriff's office, said Tuesday that deputies tried to contact Barrino by mail and in person.

"Her people never got in contact with us," England said. "We could have gone in another direction if she would have communicated with us. I hope it doesn't go to that extreme. We're hoping she'll pay this thing, and we'll be out of the picture."
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