They’re Rich and Famous and In Foreclosure

by Sonya Stinson
Saturday, January 22, 2011

How does Nicolas Cage get behind on his mortgage payments? The same way other rich and famous people do.

“They’ve stretched themselves higher than they probably should have,” says John Anderson, owner of Twin Oaks Realty in Minneapolis and a National Association of Realtors expert in foreclosures. Some couldn’t keep up when the rates on their adjustable rate mortgages shot up, Anderson says. Price drops at the high end of the market were so steep that a sale wouldn’t cover the debt. In other words, high-end homeowners face the same problems that plague the not-so-rich-and-famous.

Here are five of the biggest names on the of list homeowners falling to foreclosure. We’ve included a bit of info about the current markets where these stars once lived. You know, in case you’d like to hunt for a foreclosure deal in one of those tony neighborhoods.


Nicolas Cage

The star: He’s an Academy Award-winning actor (for “Leaving Las Vegas”), nephew of multiple-Oscar-winning filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola and the former son-in-law of Elvis.

The house: Make that “houses.” In November 2009, Cage lost two New Orleans homes — one in the French Quarter, the other in the Garden District — worth a combined $6.8 million, according to a report. Cage was behind $5.5 million in mortgage payments and he owed $151,730 in property taxes to the city of New Orleans. Regions Banks paid $4.5 million for the properties.

The market: One in 720 homes in Orleans Parish had foreclosure filings in November 2010, according to RealtyTrac. The average foreclosure sales price in the city was close to $110,000.


Erin Moran

The star: She’s best known as Richie Cunningham’s freckle-faced little sister Joanie on the 1970s sitcom “Happy Days” and co-star of the spinoff “Joanie Loves Chachi.”

The house: Los Angeles County court records posted on the entertainment website show that Moran, also known by her married name Erin Fleishmann, owed $315,930 on the Palmdale, Calif., home. The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company bought the house at auction for $291,150 in July 2010. According to TMZ, Moran stayed in the home after losing it to the bank and had to be evicted.

The market: Palmdale, just north of Los Angeles, posted foreclosure filings in November 2010 on one in 80 housing units. The average foreclosure sales price was around $154,000.


Lisa Wu-Hartwell

The star: Viewers of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” may remember Wu-Hartwell from the first season as one of the network’s touted “six fabulous women from Atlanta’s social elite.” Hubby Edgerton Hartwell, the former Oakland Raiders linebacker, made frequent appearances.

The house: According to court records posted on, the couple borrowed $2.9 million to buy their suburban mansion in June 2007. Just more than two years later, Bank of America paid $1.9 million for the house at a foreclosure sale at the Forsyth County, Ga., courthouse, after the Hartwells defaulted on their adjustable-rate mortgage from the bank.

The market: RealtyTrac reports there were foreclosure filings on one in 248 housing units in Forsyth County in November 2010. The average foreclosure sales price was around $210,000.


Lenny Dykstra

The star: Nicknamed “Nails,” the former Major League Baseball pro was an outfielder for the Mets and the Phillies during the late 1980s and early 1990s. After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009, Dykstra, in a move many found ironic, started an online financial advisory firm in 2010 called Nails Investments.

The house: Dykstra bought the 6.5-acre property in Thousand Oaks, Calif., from hockey pro Wayne Gretzky for $18.5 million in 2007, according to the Los Angeles Times. He lost the house in a Ventura County foreclosure sale in November 2010 to a winning bid of $760,712, the newspaper reported. Dykstra owed about $12 million to JPMorgan Chase.

The market: One in 201 homes in Ventura County received a foreclosure filing in November 2010, according to RealtyTrac. The average foreclosure sales price was in the neighborhood of $382,000.


Veronica Hearst

The star: The name is Hearst’s claim to fame. She’s the widow of newspaper heir Randolph Hearst and stepmother of Patricia Hearst, who was kidnapped by left-wing guerrillas in 1974.

The house: Located Manalapan, Fla., near Palm Beach, the Villa Venezia was originally built for the great-grandson of railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt. According to The Palm Beach Post, the 52-room, 28,000-square-foot mansion sold to New Stream Capital for $22 million at a Palm Beach County auction in February 2008.

The market: One in 211 housing units in Palm Beach County received a foreclosure filing in November 2010, reports RealtyTrac. The average foreclosure sales price was about $137,000.

[contact-form 1 “Contact form 1”]