Burt Reynolds Facing Foreclosure From Merrill Lynch

| by Michael Allen

Actor Burt Reynolds is facing a foreclosure lawsuit that seeks to collect $1.2 million for a mortgage on his 4-acre Indian Hills estate in Hope Sound, Florida.

The lawsuit, filed in Martin County Circuit Court by Merrill Lynch, is against Reynolds, BankAtlantic and Great Eastern Mortgage. The lawsuit claims that the actor has not made a mortgage payment since Sept. 1, 2010.

Merrill Lynch is asking a judge to order Reynolds’ home sold to pay debts. The county property appraiser valued the actor’s Mediterranean-style Florida home at $2.4 million.

Reynolds and his ex-wife Loni Anderson signed papers in May 1994 for a $1.5 million mortgage from Merrill Lynch Credit Corp., which called for the loan to be paid off by 2019.

In 2009, Reynolds tried to sell the 12,500-square-foot house for $8.9 million. At the time, Reynolds said the economy was making it tough to market the home.

"Every evening when I walk my dog down to the gate on U.S. 1 and back to the house, I think, 'Am I crazy?'" the 75-year-old actor told Sturat News. "This is paradise, so why would I want to sell it? Thankfully I don't have to push it until the market gets better."

Records filed by Merrill Lynch attorneys show the Hobe Sound home is not Reynolds' homesteaded residence. Per Florida law, a homesteaded residence cannot be seized to pay debts; this was one of the reasons O.J. Simpson reportedly moved to Florida after being successfully sued by the Goldman family.

In May, Reynolds traveled to Toronto to begin shooting a new film with country music star LeAnn Rimes. That's the same month the town of Jupiter issued its support for moving the Jupiter-based Burt Reynolds Museum and Burt Reynolds Institute of Film and Theatre to a new site, at the 35.5-acre park named after him.

That plan was approved in June by the Palm Beach County Commission, which voted to lease a parcel of land in Burt Reynolds Park to build the Burt Reynolds Museum and Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theatre.