by Marc E. Leibman Esq.
On June 18, 2014 the Tax Court of New Jersey entered summary judgment on behalf of Chai Lifeline, Inc., a non-profit entity represented by Marc E. Leibman, Esq., in a long running case against the Township of Mahwah. The decision may be found here: http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/taxcourt/tax_unpublished/10009-08opn.pdf
In this matter, Mr. Leibman represented a non-profit corporation, which received a piece of real estate located on the Ramapo River in Mahwah, New Jersey, as an exceptionally generous gift from Craig and Pamela Goldman in 2007. The property was furnished and decorated specifically for the purpose of providing respite to families facing life altering and catastrophic events such as the death of a child, parent, or dealing with a degenerative and/or fatal disease such as cancer. The house has been used to provide a place for a family to reconnect with each other to strengthen their bonds or give them the strength to face these difficult times. (For more information see: http://www.chailifeline.org/programdetail.php?program=66)
Chai Lifeline requested tax exemption from the Township of Mahwah on many occasions, commencing with the 2008 tax year. The Tax Assessor of Mahwah utterly and completely ignored the request for exemption. Subsequently, Mr. Leibman prosecuted an action in the Tax Court of New Jersey on behalf of Chai Lifeline for tax exempt status pursuant to New Jersey common law and statutory law. The Tax Court clearly saw that the use of the property was a good one and met all of the statutory and common law requirements for tax exemption.
The Township of Mahwah vigorously opposed Chai Lifeline, Inc.’s request for exemption fighting it every step of the way. The Tax Court’s 18-page opinion clearly sets forth the reasons why this property had to be granted exemption. Chai Lifeline does good work for the moral and social improvement of those unfortunate enough to need its services.
Unlike an ordinary tax appeal where only a portion of the taxes paid are to be refunded, the Township of Mahwah must now refund to Chai Lifeline, Inc. all of the real estate taxes which had been paid together with 5% statutory interest.
Our litigation on behalf of Chai Lifeline, Inc. against Mahwah regarding this property continues in the Appellate Division, which recently heard oral argument. That aspect of the litigation arose from the denial by the Zoning Board of Adjustment, which somehow concluded that a single family using the house at time is not a “single family use.”
When the decision is rendered in that case, an update will be posted here.