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American Tax Funding, LLC v. Davis

May 27, 2009

AMERICAN TAX FUNDING, LLC, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
OSCAR CHARLES DAVIS, JR., INDIVIDUALLY AND AS EXECUTOR OF THE ESTATE OF MILDRED H. SCOTT, DIANE LYNNE DAVIS, TEISHA DAVIS, MRS. OSCAR CHARLES DAVIS, JR., WIFE OF OSCAR CHARLES DAVIS, JR., PROVIDENT SAVINGS BANK, HULAND A. SCOTT, CITIBANK SOUTH DAKOTA, N.A. AND THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, DEFENDANTS, AND LITTLE NECK, LLC., DEFENDANT/INTERVENOR-RESPONDENT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Union County, Docket No. F-13916-05.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued March 11, 2009

Before Judges Lihotz and Messano.

Plaintiff American Tax Funding, LLC, appeals from a June 30, 2008 order granting defendant Little Neck, LLC intervenor status and the right to redeem property that remains the subject of this foreclosure litigation. Guided by Simon v. Cronecker, 189 N.J. 304 (2007), we affirm.

The facts are as follows. Mildred H. Scott died testate on December 12, 2000. In her Last Will and Testament, Scott devised certain realty located at Lot 13, Block 527 on the tax map of the City of Plainfield, commonly known as 823-827 West 8th Street, Plainfield (the property), to defendant Oscar Charles Davis, Jr. and two others. Davis was named and qualified to serve as the executor of Scott's estate.

Unpaid real estate taxes accrued on the property. Plaintiff purchased municipal tax sale certificate No. 010562, on April 17, 2001. Plaintiff continued to pay all municipal assessments on the property. On September 12, 2005, plaintiff filed a complaint to foreclose all equity in the property and the right of redemption, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 54:5-86 to -87 of the Tax Sale Law, N.J.S.A. 54:5-1 to -137. An Order Setting Amount, Time and Place of Redemption was entered on April 9, 2008. The Order fixed the redemption amount at $54,525.99 and set May 27, 2008, as the last day to redeem.

On that date, Davis, individually and as executor of Scott's estate, entered into a contract with defendant to sell the property for $130,000. Defendant filed an application to stay the entry of final judgment of foreclosure and to allow it to intervene and redeem the property. On May 30, 2008, the court entered an Order to Show Cause staying entry of final judgment until defendant's motion seeking to intervene and other relief could be heard. Plaintiff opposed the motion, arguing the right of redemption had expired. Alternatively, plaintiff argued the contract should not be honored because the purchase price in the contract of sale reflected only "nominal consideration."

Judge Malone denied plaintiff's discovery requests, including discovery as to the value of the property. In an order filed on June 30, 2008, the court granted defendant intervenor status and found the purchase price of $130,000 exceeded "nominal consideration." The court granted defendant's motion to satisfy plaintiff's tax lien, redeem the property, and complete the transfer of title from Davis to defendant. Plaintiff appealed.

On appeal, plaintiff presents the following arguments for our consideration:

POINT I THE TRIAL COURT'S DECISION SHOULD BE REVERSED BECAUSE DEFENDANT WAS ACTING AS AN UNLICENSED DEBT ADJUSTER IN VIOLATION OF N.J.S.A. 17:16G-1, ET. SEQ.

POINT II THE TRIAL COURT'S DECISION SHOULD BE REVERSED BECAUSE THE TRIAL COURT MADE A RULING ON THE "NOMINAL CONSIDERATION" ISSUE WITHOUT HAVING "ALL THE CIRCUMSTANCES" BEFORE IT AS REQUIRED BY THE HIGH COURT IN SIMON V. CRONECKER.

POINT III ALTERNATIVELY, THE TRIAL COURT'S DECISION SHOULD BE REVERSED BECAUSE DEFENDANT FAILED TO OFFER THE DISTRESSED PROPERTY OWNER MORE THAN NOMINAL CONSIDERATION FOR THE PROPERTY AS REQUIRED BY THE HIGH COURT IN SIMON V. CRONECKER.

POINT IV ALTERNATIVELY, THE TRIAL COURT'S DECISION SHOULD BE REVERSED BECAUSE DEFENDANT'S ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE APPLICATION SEEKING TO INTERVENE AND ...


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