American Express has had great success when it comes to suing rappers. Its most recent win, to the tune of more than $108,000, was against hip hop producer and rapper, Sean Garrett.
In September, American Express sued Garrett after it was unable to collect on his whopping balance. Garrett initially claimed he was a victim of identity theft, but because he didn’t show up for the court hearing, the judge issued a ruling against him. But this isn’t the only legal predicament he’s in. Garrett is facing even more lawsuits, including one filed on behalf of the State of Georgia. It claims he owes more than $1 million in back taxes for at least three years.
The AMEX ruling means it can now attempt to garnish Garrett’s wages. It may have to wait in line as Georgia beat him to the punch and placed a lien against his earnings until the tax woes are settled.
Garrett isn’t alone, though.
Earlier this year, the global credit card company filed a lawsuit against Nelly and again, it won. This time, AMEX claims Nelly (whose real name is Cornell Haynes) refused to make good on a $20,000 balance. It also sued for $3,000 in attorneys fees. It’s unclear whether or not Nelly has repaid the card company.
You may recall Wesley Snipes’ prison sentence for tax evasion; he too failed to pay taxes on “millions in income”. He was sentenced to three years. Before he processed into the prison system, American Express filed another lawsuit. This time, the total was $30,000, plus $3,000 in legal fees.
Snipes should be released sometime in the next few months. The lawsuit was filed in Florida.
Here’s the irony to that story: Snipes starred in an American Express commercial a few years before the card company became a thorn in his side.
Courtney Love, the widow of Kurt Cobain and lead singer of rock band Hole, has found herself on the wrong end of an American Express suit, to the tune of $350,000.
It’s a Different World
Remember The Cosby Show and its spinoff, A Different World? Then you surely remember Jasmine Guy. She too was once an American Express card member. When she couldn’t cover the payments for the $86,000 balance, she was sued.
Other celebrities that have found themselves being sued for things like credit card balances even their mortgages include Nicholas Cage, who had two homes foreclosed two years ago and Veronica Hearst, who also found herself in foreclosure.
How is it, though, that these people live million dollar lifestyles, yet can’t maintain their monthly obligations?
The reasons are basically the same as any one else’s: they put them off, they’re so busy they can’t keep up and the most obvious reason is they don’t have the money to ensure they meet their financial obligations. Sure, they own a lot of material things and enjoy the more refined lifestyle, but the fact is, if it’s been months or even years since they worked, it could be they are broke and spending money they don’t have.
There’s another consideration, though. Many people who are lonely – even when they’re not alone – will fill that loneliness with shopping for material “stuff” – houses, diamonds, cars, vacations; and of course, credit cards are a way to fund those outrageous shopping sprees. Celebrities just happen to have more access to high limit credit cards and more than enough people willing to help them do whatever they need when it comes to finances.
Because celebrities are often in higher tax brackets, it’s not uncommon for them to face million dollar tax balances. In fact, tax liens and credit card debt are two of the biggest reasons celebrities find themselves in the middle of legal proceedings. All one has to do is delve into the various lawsuits and bankruptcy filings to learn irresponsible spending is what landed them in that financial hot water. Multi million dollar mansions, hundreds of thousands in credit card debt, expensive cars, two, three or more vacation homes – the list runs the gamut.
Finally, there’s one more reason many celebrities don’t pay their bills: they don’t care because they live charmed lives. They’re used to having access to anything they want – which, by the way, could be a reason so many seem to fall into other types of addiction, too. Drug addiction or shopping addiction; there are many common denominators. Of course, this isn’t applicable to all celebrities, but it’s as much a reason as anything else. It’s likely these actors, singers and entertainers are so used to not having to worry about paying the bills, they simply take it all for granted.
So why do you think so many celebrities find themselves right smack-dab in the middle of a lawsuit? Do you think it’s narcissism? Maybe it’s an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality or could it be just nothing more than poor money management skills? Let us know your thoughts.
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