Today we're going to write a "round-up" post, which is somewhat unusual for us but highly appropriate given that it's about foreclosures and controversial properties, and given how much trouble bold-faced names (and buyers of bold-faced names' properties) seem to be having paying for or selling their homes lately. The names and properties we'll discuss today are all in the southeastern United States: "American Idol" winner Fantasia Barrino's house in North Carolina, the former Michael Vick dogfighting home in rural southeastern Virginia, and R&B singer (and TLC front lady) Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins' house in Georgia.

 

First, let's talk about T-Boz's five-bedroom house, which is at 1744 Malvern Hill Place in Duluth, Ga. Built in 2000, the house measures either 6,021 square feet, according to public records, 10,000 square feet, according to TMZ.com, or 9,654 square feet, according to some listing information. T-Boz purchased the 11-room house in July 2001 for $1,122,700, according to public records. The house sits on a 0.96-acre (41,818-square-foot) lot in the Sugarloaf Country Club subdivision, according to public records. We have written before about the Sugarloaf Country Club, where plenty of big names have owned property, as we noted back in March 2007.

Now, with T-Boz having defaulted on the original principal on her mortgage of $532,500, the Duluth house has gone into foreclosure, and is due to be sold in January, if she can't come up with the money to stave off foreclosure. But, we should caution that she may well be able to find the cash to keep her creditors at bay for awhile. We certainly hope so.

Although this doesn't appear to have been reported anywhere else, T-Boz's financial problems are affecting her other residences as well. Records show that a 1,608-square-foot town house that she had owned at 3651 Diamond Circle in Decatur, Ga. was foreclosed by something called Bayview Loan Servicing, LLC on August 5, with the deed being recorded on September 2. And, she also has owned a 1,810-square-foot house at 8066 Augusta Court in Jonesboro, Ga., which several online sites show has been at least under threat of foreclosure fairly recently.

 

Next, let's discuss "American Idol" winner Fantasia Barrino, who is set to lose one of her two houses in Charlotte, N.C. if she doesn't come up with a whole lot of money really soon. As the New York Post and our friends over at the Real Estalker noted the other day, the 6,232-square-foot house, at 5500 Bevington Place in Charlotte, goes up on the auction block on January 12 if the chanteuse doesn't settle her debt. In March 2007, she paid $1,300,000 to purchase the house, which was built in 1997 and sits on a 0.89-acre (38,768-square-foot) lot, according to public records. Fantasia took out a $1,040,000 mortgage on the house at the time she bought it, according to public records. Separately, Fantasia continues to own another, 4,572-square-foot house a few miles away (but still in Charlotte) that she purchased in 2004 for $740,000 that does not appear to be in any financial trouble, the Post noted.

Finally, let's talk about the house and land in Surry County, Virginia that were the headquarters to imprisoned football star Michael Vick's bizarre and obviously illegal dogfighting operation.

 

At an auction yesterday (December 12), the 15-acre property at 1915 Moonlight Road -- which contains a 4,600-square-foot house -- went unsold after the property's current owner, developer Wilbur Ray Todd, Jr., rejected a high bid of $747,000. Todd, who is showing real chutzpah here, we'd say, given that he purchased the property from Vick for $450,000 (and set a minimum bid yesterday of $590,000), thinks the land is worth $1,000,000. This is the second time that the property has failed to sell; after its first time at auction, Todd cleared about 10 wooded acres to make the property more suitable for horses and also removed some dog houses and other items used for the dogfighting operation. Todd initially spent about $50,000 cleaning the property up from vandalism after he purchased it from Vick, who paid $34,000 for the land in 2002. In 2003, Vick built the main house, which contains two master suites, a media room with a wet bar, a double-sided gas fireplace in the upstairs master suite, and a large kitchen with a center island, granite countertops and built-in stainless steel appliances, according to news accounts.

It's a little unclear if Todd rejected all bids only because he thought the $747,000 high bid was too low or because none of the seven bidders at yesterday's auction showed up with a $20,000 cashier's check in hand. But regardless, Todd is expected to set another auction in a few months if none of the seven bidders yesterday will give him what he wants (which, we'd assume, is a higher bid!).

Quite possibly, we shouldn't have lumped this failed sale in with the two foreclosure actions that are in progress. However, the dogfighting property *is* a site that has been incredibly controversial (after all, it's the land that ultimately caused Vick's downfall), and it's one that's also clearly having trouble selling these days.