Attorney for Anita Baker calls lawsuit a "money grab"

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Grammy award-winning singer Anita Baker is fighting back after finding out that a judge issued a warrant for her arrest.

Baker is maintaining that she knew nothing about a civil lawsuit that prompted the bench warrant.  Late on Friday, her attorney, Jamal Hamood, filed a motion at Wayne County Circuit Court to fight what he’s calling a “money grab.”

The 8-time Grammy award-winner found out Thursday that a Wayne County judge issued a bench warrant for her arrest. 

“She’s devastated by this,” said Hamood.

It all stems from a dispute about work that was done inside her Grosse Pointe home back in 2009.  Hamood says the court maneuvering has been under-handed.

“It’s absolutely a money grab,” said Hamood.

Baker is being sued for $15,351, allegedly for failing to pay Ray Smith Painting and Decorating of Grosse Pointe Park.  The painter’s attorney got a default judgment against Baker after she didn’t show up for a creditor’s hearing.

“They claim that they had served her with a notice for a creditors exam, she never received any such notice,” said Hamood.

The contractor originally sued Baker four years ago.

“She had pictures of the shoddy workmanship, she was prepared to show that Ray Smith painting wasn’t entitled to any money whatsoever.  Rather than face that defense, Ray Smith voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit in 2010,” said Hamood.

Hamood says Baker thought the matter was settled, until Thursday when news broke about the bench warrant.  That’s when she says she found out the painter had filed another lawsuit.

“They get a judgment against her without her knowing about it, then they can use that judgment and go to the media and use the media to embarrass her,” said Hamood.

Hamood filed a motion late Friday to set aside the default judgment and the bench warrant.  He argues Baker was not properly served with the lawsuit and wasn’t even aware of the proceedings.

Baker came dangerously close to being locked up in 2010 when she was accused of delaying her divorce proceedings by not signing paperwork. 

“I was scared, I’ve never been in such a position, and we don’t intend to ever be in such a position ever again,” said Baker in 2010.

That time the judge let her off the hook.   A hearing will be held on Thursday, March 27, 2014 to determine how to proceed in this matter.  Hamood filed a motion: late Friday to set aside the default judgment and the bench warrant, because Baker was not properly served with the lawsuit and wasn’t even aware of the proceedings.

As for the attorney for the painter, Dan Gerow denies that that they’re trying to create bad publicity for Baker.

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