Dionne Warwick slams door on reporter’s mic to avoid bankruptcy questions

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(South Orange, New Jersey)  72-year-old singing legend, Dionne Warwick—who filed for bankruptcy protection on March 21st—slammed the door of a Town Car on PIX 11, when we tried to ask her Tuesday about her recent Chapter 7 court filing, outside her South Orange Home.

Born in East Orange—and the winner of five Grammy Awards, in a career that spans more than five decades–Warwick was testy, when we approached her getting into the car, parked in the driveway outside her rental home.  “I don’t want to say anything to anybody,” she retorted, before slamming the car door on PIX.  Warwick is the cousin of the late pop sensation, Whitney Houston, who died of a cocaine-induced drowning last year in California.  Warwick spoke at Houston’s New Jersey funeral in February 2012.

Warwick’s attorney, Daniel Stolz, filed the papers last Thursday at U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Newark, New Jersey.  He told PIX 11 the Internal Revenue Service “was hounding her” for years.  “She’s a very honorable person, a very philanthropic person, and she didn’t want to do this,” Stolz added.  The papers indicate that Warwick’s tax liability to the IRS and the state of California was 10.7 million dollars.  Stolz listed her assets as only $25,500.  “She made over a million dollars in payments,” Stolz told PIX 11, “but that was only applied to penalties.”

Back in 2009, the IRS adjusted Warwick’s bill downward from $2.2 milliion dollars to 1 million.  But the interest building up, since the 1980’s and 90’s, made the $1.3 million actually a drop in the bucket.

Warwick’s publicist, Kevin Sasaki, put out a statement saying the personal bankruptcy filing was due to “negligent and gross financial mismanagement” in the late 1980’s through the mid-90’s.

Her lawyer told Rolling Stone, “Ms. Warwick had a business manager who mismanaged her affairs.  Before she knew it, she owed a gazillion dollars in taxes.”

Warwick

72-year-old singing legend, Dionne Warwick—who filed for bankruptcy protection on March 21st—slammed the door of a Town Car on PIX 11, when we tried to ask her Tuesday about her recent Chapter 7 court filing, outside her South Orange Home.

Back in the 80’s, Warwick donated her personal proceeds from one of her biggest hits, “That’s What Friends Are For”, to assist in the fight against AIDS, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

She burst onto the music scene in the 60’s, earning her first Grammy for the 1968 hit, “Do You Know the Way to San Jose.”  Other hits included: “Walk on By”, “I Say a Little Prayer,” and “What’s It All About, Alfie?”  Her collaboration with the late composer, Burt Bacharach, was hugely successful.

Warwick’s hired car service broke down in the driveway Tuesday, so PIX 11 tried to speak to the singer again, when an Escalade showed up to pick her up in South Orange.  When I told her I wasn’t there to agitate her, she replied, “Well, you already have agitated me.”  When I asked if she thought everything would work out, she did respond, “Yes, it will.”

Warwick’s attorney told PIX 11 Tuesday once the Chapter 7 filing goes through the courts, Warwick will be debt-free in several months.

A driver for a local pharmacy in South Orange was surprised to hear about the bankruptcy.  “Coming from an urban community, and once you get your name out there and become famous, a lot of people look up to you,” Chris Powell said.  “And the first thing they say, you know, when you don’t have money is: you messed it up.”

Warwick still performs three to five gigs a month, often at performing arts centers, and takes in about $20,000 a month in income.

One of her fans in the neighborhood, a fellow musician, said to PIX of the IRS troubles, “It’s unfair, first of all.”  And then, he referred to Warwick’s distinguished career, adding, “ But I feel  that what she has done can never be undone.”

21 comments

  • Gabe

    I have to say the way this reporter harassed this old woman was ridiculous. Stay off of her property and eave her alone. During a difficult time like this the last thing she needs is a pushy reporter. Too bad we didnt getto see someone run up and knock that reporter out. What low lives you are.

  • San Jose

    What is wrong with you?! Dionne Warwick is a legend who has brought pleasure to millions of people. You go to her home and badger Her in her own driveway? It's disgusting to harass people like that. It's to her credit, and no surprise, that she was gracious in spite of your rudeness.

  • Oscar

    Not cool this reporter crossed a line. Shame on you for going to any lengths to get a story. Tresspassing, stalking and bad form. Very disappointed pix this is an embarrassing time for a woman who has done nothing to deserve being treated like a criminal. Hopefully this behavior wont continue by your reporters.

  • Annie

    I agree with everyone else who just posted… Why are you bothering her with this personal issue??? Leave her alone!

  • JasonMason

    Blame it on everyone else, the standard mantra for those caught red-handed in the wrong. This woman has a "personal assistant" for $4k/month and spends $5k/month in housekeeping and so claims her net income, after expenses, is only $10 and therefore can't pay anyone anything. Here's a tip – clean your own house, run your own errands, then have an "extra" $9k/month to deal with. What a total waste. Too bad her psychic friends didn't see this coming.

  • BigfanofDW

    If Ms Warwick’s talent was financial, she wouldn’t be in this jam – she’d be just another shark on Wall Street fattening her offshore bank account off the toil of working people. But that’s not her talent, and I Thank God for that! She, unlike those Wall Street denizens, actually GIVES something to the world instead of always looking to take. God Bless you, Dionne Warwick!

  • WHfan

    Dionne Warwick is a miserable bitch and she mismanaged her own money running up credit cards and living a life that was way beyond her means…she hasn't had a hit in decades. Didn't the Psychic Friends let her know she was in for some financial trouble? I guess not!

  • t.bone

    To wHfan, i guess it takes a miserable bitch to know a miserable bitch. Her personal affairs are no ones business but her own. If that reporter was in the same situation would she want people on her property prying into her personal business?

  • Nick

    Mary Murphy crossed the line; no comment is no comment – just leave her alone. I'm sure if the situation was reversed, she would want everyone to respect her privacy. PIX crossed the line – PERIOD!

  • WHfan

    Dionne Warwick should have plenty of money in her savings account if she managed her money wisely which obviously she did not. It's her own damn fault she is in the mess she is in now. She can't blame anyone else but herself. She should sell the 2 fur coats (she shouldn't be wearing real fur anyway) sell the 2 diamond rings and get rid of her maid service (she can do the cleaning herself) and then she might have some extra money to live on. Stop living like a diva! Maybe Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown could give her some money to live off of. Thanks to her mama Whitney Houston.

  • yhu

    go after people when they do something wrong, but how does her bankrupcy affect us? go after her if he steals money.

  • Elwood

    I'm pleased to discover this article. I want to thank you for writing this fantastic post!! I loved every little bit of it and I also have you book-marked so I can see your content.

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