AP Legal Affairs Writer
MIAMI (AP) – Like tens of thousands of other Florida homeowners, imprisoned former football star O.J. Simpson is in danger of losing his house to foreclosure.
Miami-Dade Circuit Court records show that JPMorgan Chase filed for foreclosure in September on the four-bedroom, four-bath house south of downtown Miami. Simpson’s attorney has since filed a motion to dismiss the case, but there has been no further action since November.
Simpson bought the 4,233-square-foot house in 2000 for $575,000, property records show. Its current assessed value is $478,401, with property taxes of about $9,000. The 2011 taxes were paid in December.
The 64-year-old former football star and actor is serving a nine-to-33-year prison sentence stemming from a 2007 armed confrontation with sports memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas casino hotel room. Simpson was convicted of kidnapping, armed robbery and other charges. He is appealing the conviction.
Simpson was acquitted in 1995 in the Los Angeles slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. A civil jury in California later ordered Simpson to pay $33.5 million for Goldman’s wrongful death. The attorney for Goldman’s father, Fred Goldman, said Monday the bankruptcy case played directly into the Simpson foreclosure.
“No surprise at all,” said David J. Cook, the Goldman attorney in San Francisco who has spent years trying to collect the judgment.
Simpson received $750,000 in 2007 for a book ghostwritten under his name titled “If I Did It,” Cook said. A Florida bankruptcy judge eventually awarded rights to the book to Goldman, who released it. Cook said it sold some 150,000 copies.
About $350,000 of Simpson’s money went to pay down a line of credit had tied to his Miami-area home. The bankruptcy trustee, however, filed a so-called clawback lawsuit against the bank that sought return of the money as ill-gotten gains. Cook said when the bank paid the money, Simpson’s mortgage amount was raised to offset the cost.
“It was just a matter of time before he would lose the house,” Cook said.
Even in prison, Simpson has income from his NFL pension and another retirement account that is shielded under federal law from creditors. Residual payments from Simpson’s movies, such as the “Naked Gun” series and “The Towering Inferno,” go to the Goldmans.
There was no answer at the Simpson house when an Associated Press reporter knocked on the front door Monday afternoon. There were no cars in the circular driveway, which was strewn with fallen palm fronds. But the house appeared in good repair and the grass was mowed.
Simpson’s attorney in Nevada did not immediately return a telephone call and email seeking comment.
AP writer Ken Ritter in Las Vegas contributed to this story.
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