Gardner claims ... Cromartie bought the house and paid for everything for years -- but the gravy train stopped in February when he asked his mother to pay the $700 per month mortgage bill.
A rep for Antonio tells TMZ Sports ... "His mother has been paying the mortgage on the house since 2011. That's the deal they have in place."
"It wasn't until June that she refused to make any payments."
The rep says Antonio's children are his priority financially -- and he adamantly believes his mother and her husband have the funds to support themselves.
And we know how many kids this idiot has.
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