This matter is before the court on final hearing. The complaint seeks to foreclose a mortgage dated June 10, 1964 made by defendant Orland Properties, Inc. (Orland) to plaintiff. Solomon and the Romanellis each seek a judgment quieting their title to the property.
The property is described in the mortgage and all deeds involved as being in the Township of Millstone, County of Monmouth. On December 27, 1943 there was a tax sale by Millstone to Mrs. Harriet Robbins for the 1941 and the 1942 taxes. The tax sale certificate describes the property as "34.19 acres and assessed thereon to Mrs. Franklin C. Price as owner." The property was and is vacant land.
On September 24, 1963 a complaint to foreclose the right of redemption was filed on behalf of Mrs. Robbins. Final judgment of foreclosure was signed December 26, 1963. See N.J.S.A. 54:5-79. From date of the tax sale Mrs. Robbins paid the taxes to Millstone until she sold the property to the Romanellis. The conveyance from Robbins to
the Romanellis was by deed dated September 4, 1965. The purchase price, computed on the basis of $100 an acre as taken from a plotting made for Mrs. Robbins, was $3,377. Since their purchase the Romanellis have paid taxes.
Harvey learned of the foreclosure proceedings. On behalf of Orland he attempted to locate the heirs of the last record owner. He was successful and obtained deeds from them shortly after the final judgment for a nominal consideration.
The title is undisputed up to the foreclosure judgment. Franklin C. Price acquired title in 1918. He died June 9, 1923 leaving a will devising the premises to his sons Frank Ray Price and Neal Heath Price. On November 4, 1944 Frank Ray Price died, intestate, leaving a widow Lorraine and a son Lawrence Waln Price. On December 30, 1951 Neal Heath Price died intestate, leaving a widow Ella and a daughter Anna Louise Price.
On December 23, 1963 Harvey wrote to Lawrence Waln Price saying:
This letter relates to a tract of vacant land in Millstone Township in which, according to the record, your late grandfather, Franklin C. Price, had an interest. The lot was sold for taxes many years ago and a tax foreclosure action is now pending against it.
Following the death of Franklin C. Price in 1923 and the subsequent death of your late father, F. Ray Price, you may claim an interest in the property under foreclosure. We are writing to inquire whether you will furnish a voluntary release of your possible claim. A courtesy consideration of $50. will be paid you for the release.
The proposed instrument is enclosed. It requires to be signed in the presence of a Notary Public. When so executed it will have the effect of releasing any claim which you have or may have in the property therein described.
Upon receipt of this instrument here, executed as above, we will forward you our check of $50. in payment.
Since the time under the foreclosure is up, we will need to receive the executed deed by return mail. A return special delivery envelope is enclosed for the purpose. We regret not having written ...