Whitney Houston's Land Grab

Part of the singer's New Jersey estate scheduled to be auctioned off Jan. 4 if she doesn't come through with $1 million in mortgage payments

By Natalie Finn Nov 16, 2006 5:47 AMTags

Whitney Houston probably won't be homeless if worse comes to worst, but she'll be one house in the hole. 

The Morris County Daily Record reported Wednesday that part of the six-time Grammy winner's 10-acre New Jersey estate is going to be auctioned off Jan. 4 unless she comes up with $1 million in past due mortgage payments and makes good with the local taxman.  

Gayl Spivak, the attorney representing Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (the service agent acting on behalf of the bank Houston owes money to), told the Daily Record that she doesn't think the singer's house is going to end up in a sheriff's sale. 

"There are people interested," Spivak said. 

Houston's publicist, Nancy Seltzer, told the newspaper that the Bodyguard star's property was not in foreclosure. 

The part of Houston's estate being prepped for the chopping block (1Cross Way) is said to be worth $889,300—far less than the adjacent property Houston owns (22 North Gate Road), which has been valued at upwards of $5.6 million. 

But the recently single songstress still has to decide whether to put the house up for sale herself or pay the mortgage company. She has until Jan. 4—the date of the auction scheduled by the Morris County Sheriff's Office. 

According to a copy of the mortgage file obtained by the Daily Record, Houston borrowed $975,000 from Chevy Chase Bank. Spivak wouldn't say how long Houston has been allegedly sitting on the mortgage money, but the bank sued Houston for back payments on June 12.  

On Oct. 27, a judge ordered Houston to pay more than $189,000 to yet another bank on a $200,000 second mortgage she took out on the estate. 

Local officials told the Newark Star-Ledger that Houston owes Mendham Township about $83,000 in property taxes, as well. The most recent payment was due Nov. 1.   

Houston, who also has homes in California and Georgia, filed for divorce from Bobby Brown in October, after 14 years of marriage and one month after seeking a legal separation. She is seeking custody of the couple's 13-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina, with visitation rights for Brown. 

And chances are the 43-year-old singer is far, far away from the messy financial scenario taking shape in New Jersey. Houston was spotted a couple of weeks ago, dressed to the nines at the 17th Carousel of Hope Ball in Beverly Hills, sitting alongside Halle Berry and the actress' boyfriend, model Gabriel Aubry.

Escorted by her longtime record producer, Clive Davis, Houston told reporters, "I feel great."