On appeal from Superior Court, Chancery Division, Ocean County.
Petrella and Scalera. The opinion of the court was delivered by Petrella, P.J.A.D.
The sole issue raised on this appeal by the Township of Berkeley is whether the Chancery Division Judge erred in his application of the holding in Montville Township v. Block 69, et al, 74 N.J. 1 (1977) and R. 4:64-7(c) in setting aside an in rem tax foreclosure judgment against property owned by Pineview, Ltd. (Pineview) in Berkeley Township as violative of due process principles.
The matter was heard by the Chancery Judge on the adjourned return date of an order to show cause which sought relief from the tax sale certificate foreclosure which had been brought by the Township against numerous properties, including the subject property which is listed on the tax maps as Block 882, Lot 34. The case was decided on the basis of
affidavits submitted, as well as testimony of a witness presented by Pineview who had been the secretary to one of the partners of Pineview.
Pineview was a partnership consisting of three individuals, one of whom was Albert Manganelli who was responsible for sending the checks in payment of the tax bills for various properties owned by the partnership. The partnership not only owned the 9.46-acre tract known as Block 882, Lot 34, but additional property in Berkeley Township known as Block 857, Lots 11A and 11B.
Pineview's offices were and are located in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Around May 1978 Pineview moved its offices from 1224 Anderson Avenue in Fort Lee to 1068 Anderson Avenue in the same municipality. At that time the address of 1224 Anderson Avenue appeared on the tax bills for all of these parcels of property. Despite a somewhat contrary affidavit from the tax collector stating that the entire 1978 tax remained unpaid, the record contains a receipted tax bill which indicates that the first half 1978 preliminary tax for Lot 34 was paid on May 16, 1978. An exhibit showed that the 1977 tax for the 9.46 acres represented by Lot 34 was $1,339.45.
Antoinette Costanzo testified that she had worked for the partnership as a secretary for Mr. Manganelli during the years 1977 through 1979, and that she prepared and sent a May 30, 1978 letter to the tax collector of the Township of Berkeley which reads as follows:
RE: Property -- Block 882