May 2, 2008; Page B2
Former baseball star Jose Canseco has drawn perhaps the most unusual walk of his colorful and infamous career: Faced with sinking property prices and heavy legal fines, he has abandoned a multimillion-dollar home in suburban Los Angeles and let it lapse into foreclosure.
Mr. Canseco, a one-time American League most valuable player who ignited controversy by later admitting he used steroids and accusing fellow players of doing the same, becomes perhaps one of the highest-profile homeowners to walk away from a mortgage.
"He made a mathematical decision and just let it go," said Gregory Emerson, Mr. Canseco's lawyer.
Mr. Canseco bought the 7,300-square-foot home in Encino, Calif., for nearly $2.8 million in 2005, according to public records. He transferred partial ownership to a trust last year, according to Mr. Emerson. That trust defaulted on mortgage payments in October, and foreclosure was recorded in February, public records show.
The house already had at least one lien placed on it, from the Internal Revenue Service, and a judgment stemming from a 2005 court ruling in which Mr. Canseco and his brother Ozzie were found liable for a 2001 brawl in a Miami Beach nightclub. Together, the liens and judgment totaled some $1.3 million, according to Mr. Emerson and Tina Cameron, Mr. Canseco's real-estate agent.
"Given that there were liens on the house and the market had gone down, he made the decision to let it go," Mr. Emerson said. He said that the decline in property values alone meant that Mr. Canseco's equity in the house had fallen by about $1 million.
Mr. Canseco, who is currently promoting his second tell-all book about baseball and steroids, entitled "Vindicated," first publicly confirmed the foreclosure to the celebrity television show "Inside Edition." The book is a best seller.
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