The owner of Robert Wood Johnson's new Gamma Knife Center building owes the city $253,392

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – A whopping 1,500+ properties  in the City of New Brunswick were listed for an upcoming tax sale in the legal notices of the December 11 issue of the Home News Tribune.

In New Jersey, municipalities are required to schedule all delinquent properties for an auction of the lien.  Investors can buy the liens on properties that do not settle up with the city in an auction scheduled for December 21.

Somewhat surprisingly, the two most serious liens listed were against two major redevelopment projects championed by the administration of six-term Mayor James Cahill.  The first is a 10-story office building recently opened at the intersection of French and Plum Streets.  It is owned by French Street Urban Renwal Co., and its only tenant is Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.  It is adjacent to the hospital campus and the building is signed as the “The Gamma Knife Center.”

Counting that building, Robert Wood Johnson’s campus was responsible for a total of $319,787 in debts to the city government.  In addition to the building at 10 Plum Street, four other hospital buildings had liens: 181 Somerset Street ($53,799.80), 150 Somerset Street ($11,520.64), 141 French Street ($835.15), and 89 French Street ($239.36).

“It’s an issue we’re aware of and we’re taking care of it,” said Peter Haigley, RWJ’s Public Relations Director, adding that he thinks the delinquent bills on each of the properties will be resolved in advance of Wednesday’s tax sale.

“In some cases because there were some recent transactions, there might have been a little confusion over who was responsible for paying the tax bill… It wasn’t intentional, it was more of a process issue.” said Haigley.

Here’s the list of the top 20 tax sales slated for auction on Wednesday:

French Street Urban Renewal Co
Robert Wood Johnson Univ. Hospital
10 Plum St
Highlands Urban Renewal / J CR
Plaza Square Apartments
1 Richmond St
Integrated Packaging Corp, Inc
Factory closed in 2011
122 Quentin Av
RWJ Property Holding Corp
Robert Wood Johnson Univ. Hospital
181 Somerset St
1130 NB Realty, LLC
Abandoned office building
1130 Somerset St
Middlesex Medical Partners, LLC
Middlesex Co. Child Support & Probation Office
189 New St
P&F Joyce Kilmer, LLC
Cancelled medical marijuana dispensary/growery
705 Joyce Kilmer Av
New Street Area Redevelopment, LLC
Staff Management Services/
Middlesex Co. Office of the Public Defender
172 New St
Acree Holding, LLC
Thirteen Clean Laundromat
276 Suydam St
130 Easton Avenue, LLC
New 34-unit apartment building
130 Easton Av
136-138 Route 27, LLC
Mixed-use apt. building & restaurants
136 French St
B&L Land Holdings
ARS Technologies
98 No. Ward St
284 Remsen LLC
Gambino’s Inn
284 Remsen Av
Wakefield Realty Co., Inc.
4.5 acres of land for sale
520 Jersey Av
Arkady & Ella Mushailov
El Ranchito Restaurant & Bakery
23 Georges Rd
Brunswick Circle Realty Co, Inc.
Abandoned Bennigan’s/
proposed Buck Foston’s Roadhouse
17 Rt 18
World’s Best Temps, Inc.
Corona Bar & Nightclub
253 French St
Amro Badran
Badran Tax Consultants
152 Livingston Av
Chester Paulus Jr.
Paulus Animal Hospital
141 How Lane
Arthur Jr. & Barbara Anderson
Anderson Funeral Home
201 Sandford St

The second-highest lien overall was against Highlands Urban Renewal LLC for 1 Richmond Street, a 417-unit luxury apartment building in downtown New Brunswick.  They owe the city $243,233.58.

The original owner, MRA Associates, is a partnership between Roseland Property Company, Applied Development Company, and Matrix Development Group.  The three investors were brought together to develop the site by former Mayor John Lynch, Jr. in the late 1990’s, while he was serving as President of the New Jersey State Senate.

In December 2010, Highlands Urban Renewal LLC, which is controlled by Toronto-based Manulife Financial Corp., bought the building for $112.5M.  When the building changed hands, it also changed names.  It now goes by the name Plaza Square Apartments, perhaps more apt considering the area is prone to flooding.  The original name was the Highlands at Plaza Square.

John Lynch Jr., who served as Mayor of New Brunswick from 1979 to 1990, lobbied for the building’s construction through his influence-peddling firms Alma Ltd. and Executive Continental Ltd.  When Lynch was under investigation for abusing his office, investigators twice subpoenaed records related to the Highlands project.

In 2006, Lynch plead guilty to fraud and tax evasion related to a development project in South Brunswick. His successor and cousin, Mayor Cahill, testified before a grand jury in the case.

Several other redevelopment projects, both completed and aborted, made the list.

130 Easton Avenue, a 34-unit apartment building with an underground parking garage, opened in June on the student neighborhood’s main drag.  The building’s owner, 130 Easton Avenue LLC, rounded out the top 10 with $32,838.08 owed to the city.

New Street Area Development LLC and Middlesex Medical Partners LLC are the predominant landowners in an area once targeted for a luxury hotel and expansive mixed-use development referred to as the Pinnacle project.  And together they owe $162,098.74 on 18 separate properties.  The two largest properties on the site, 189 & 172 New Street, were the sixth and eighth highest liens overall, respectively.

The seventh most expensive bill belonged to P&F Joyce Kilmer Avenue for an industrial property that was recently considered as  a site for one of New Jersey’s six medical marijuana growing and distribution facilities.

Plans for the facility fell apart when its owner was revealed to have connections to the disgraced businessman Solomon Dwek, who was a confidential informant in Operation: Bid Rig, an FBI sting that resulted in 44 arrests, including many New Jersey elected officials.

One member of the top 20 plead guilty this week to a federal bank fraud charge last week.  The offices of Badran Tax Consultants at 147 Livingston Avenue has a lien of $21,120.82 .  Its owner Amro Badran owes the city a total of $29,714 on seven properties, but is also facing 30 years in prison and fines up to $1M for a checking scheme he perpetrated on two New Brunswick banks.

Several other noteworthy individuals made appearances on the dubious list.  City Councilman Jimmie Cook Jr. has served on the City Council since 1996.  His home address, according to his most recent electoral filings, is 206 Townsend Street.  Liens against that property amount to $1,812.61, under the name Leon Cook.

Councilman Cook could not be reached at his job at the Board of Education on Friday.  A person who answered his phone said he would not be returning to the office until “the second week in January.”

Retired Sgt. Victor DeFilippo & his wife Alice owe $2,965.94 on 50 Lee Ave.  DeFillippo retired a year ago and was charged with moonlighting on the job in January 2011.  DeFillippo’s son Victor Jr. owes $5,782.75 on 16 Handy Street.

Former New Brunswick Republican Party Chairman Frank Bright owes $9,385.44 on two properties: 21 Hartwell St. & 218 George St.  “Bassam Laham, c/o TK Shamy” owes $4,338.13 on 228 George Street.  Shamy serves as the Assistant City Attorney and New Brunswick Democratic Party Chairman.

Interim city spokesman Michael Beltranena said he couldn’t say whether there were more tax sales this year or in 2010.  He expects to have answers to’s many questions, including why so many redevelopment projects are on the list, by Monday afternoon.

He did say he wasn’t worried about the city’s bottom line: “Last year, our tax collection rate was 99.%.  Because of the tax sales, we got all our taxes.”

Editor at New Brunswick Today | 732-993-9697 | | Website

Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate, a community organizer, and a former independent candidate for mayor of New Brunswick.

Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate, a community organizer, and a former independent candidate for mayor of New Brunswick.