Jazz vocalist faces foreclosure in Seattle

June 25, 2008 5:57:07 PM PDT
Jazz vocalist Ernestine Anderson is facing foreclosure on her home in Seattle in yet another sign that the mortgage loan crisis is hitting traditional working-class neighborhoods hard. Anderson, who once sang with the likes of Quincy Jones and Ray Charles, is more than $30,000 in arrears in payments and penalties, public records show.

Friends and family have started a last-ditch effort to save her Central District home by pleading for donations. They hope to raise $45,000 for the 79-year-old in less than a week to cover the back payments and taxes, said Carmen Gayton, a friend of Anderson's family.

After that, Gayton said, they hope to buy enough time to figure out a way for Anderson to sustain herself.

James Kelly, president of the Urban League of Seattle, said counselors will try to find out how Anderson got a loan that now asks for a monthly payments of $5,000. Gayton said Anderson's monthly income is $1,000 from Social Security, and at her age, her performances are limited.

"She never should have gotten that loan," Gayton said. "It's a difficult issue for her. The house is her mom's and father's home, since 1946."

Public records show a principal balance of more than $450,000 on the house. Details of the loan were not immediately clear.

The home is slated for public auction July 11.

"Since 1946, I have been going out on the road, but this is home base," Anderson told KING5 television in Seattle. "I can't tell you how wonderful people have been to me. People I don't know."

Associated Press efforts to reach Anderson by phone Tuesday were not successful.

After 30 albums and four Grammy nominations, Anderson is one of Seattle's most respected names in music, part of a jazz scene the flourished in the city well before grunge and alternative rock took the stage.

Anderson is one of dozens of people facing foreclosure in her neighborhood, an area of Seattle that has been traditionally African American. More than 200 houses face foreclosure in Anderson's zip code, according to Realty Trac, a Web site that tracks foreclosures.