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Morvay v. Gressman

Decided: February 8, 1954.

ISADORE MORVAY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
MARTHA GRESSMAN AND MARY A. ANGELO, ADMINISTRATRIX ET AL., DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS



On appeal from a judgment of the Chancery Division where Judge Haneman filed the following opinion.

Eastwood, Jayne and Francis.

Per Curiam

"This is a suit to foreclose a tax sale certificate. The facts in connection herewith are as follows:

"Henry P. Gressman, being seized of title to property known as 415 East Broad Street, Millville, New Jersey, died intestate on March 9, 1936, leaving him surviving his widow, Martha Gressman, and several children of a marriage prior to his marriage to the said Martha Gressman. This property was his mansion house. On December 28, 1937 the City of Millville sold the said premises for non-payment of municipal taxes, and there being no other purchasers, purchased the tax sale certificate itself. Said City of Millville assigned said tax sale certificate to the plaintiff herein on July 28, 1944. On November 14, 1944 Mary A. Angelo was duly appointed and qualified as administratrix of the estate of Henry P. Gressman. On May 17, 1945 plaintiff filed his bill of complaint herein. On June 15, 1945 the Cumberland County Orphans' Court entered an order directing the above named administratrix to sell the lands and premises here involved. Pursuant to said order, said premises were so sold for the sum of $3600. On February 23, 1951 the Cumberland County Court (Probate Division) confirmed said sale and there is now deposited in this court, by virtue of a stipulation, the net proceeds of said sale, which shall be deemed in lieu and in place of the real estate here involved. No dower was ever assigned to the widow, Martha Gressman.

"On or about September 9, 1944 the plaintiff herein entered into possession of the premises here involved and expended considerable sums of money for improvements, maintenance and repairs to said premises, converting the same from a one-family residence to a house with several apartments.

"After varied, various and divers amendments and supplements to the pleadings over a protracted period of time, this matter finally came on to be heard before this court.

"Plaintiff seeks to force the defendants to pay for redemption not only all principal and interest on account of taxes which he has paid to the City of Millville, but as well all expenditures which he has made for gas, electric, fuel, maintenance, repairs, conversion of the property, and furniture and furnishings placed in said property to increase its rentability.

"The defendant Martha Gressman seeks a discovery and accounting from the plaintiff for the rents collected by him and an order that such rents be credited on account of the delinquent taxes, and that the plaintiff deliver up the tax sale certificate marked for cancellation, and a money judgment for any surplus so collected over and above the amount required to redeem.

"The said administratrix seeks as well a discovery and accounting, and to recover the amount collected by the plaintiff as and for rents, upon the theory that any over-plus of rents in excess of the amount necessary to discharge the tax lien she, as trustee, should have for the heirs.

"The plaintiff seeks to justify his having taken possession of the premises here involved and upon which he expended the various sums of money above set forth, upon the theory that the said Martha Gressman abandoned the title to him. He alleges that some four or five weeks after his purchase of the tax sale certificate he and his lawyer called upon Mrs. Gressman, who was then over 75 years of age and was living with her son by a marriage prior to that to Mr. Gressman, at his home. This was not the premises here involved. I am satisfied from the testimony that although this son may have delivered a key to the premises here involved to the plaintiff, it was not done with an intent to relinquish Martha Gressman's title to said premises, nor to authorize the plaintiff to handle the property carte blanche , as he may have deemed fit.

"The plaintiff here was no novice in tax foreclosures. He had brought several such proceedings prior to that now before the court. He testified that he depended upon his lawyer, who ...


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