Robert D. Blau, Esq. has been involved in real estate valuation litigation in New Jersey since 1983, first as a Deputy Attorney General in the New Jersey Department of Law and then in private practice where he has concentrated on real estate tax appeals and condemnation. He has appeared before the New Jersey Superior Court, the New Jersey Appellate Division, the New Jersey Supreme Court, the New Jersey Tax Court, the Federal District Court and Bankruptcy Court, as well as most of the 21 county boards of taxation.
In Higg-A-Rella, Inc. v County of Essex, Rob successfully argued to the New Jersey Supreme Court that a computer readable copy of the Essex County property tax assessment lists from the Essex County Board of Taxation be made available, making it possible to use modern technology in analyzing assessments.
In New Jersey MetroMall Urban Renewal Inc. v City of Elizabeth, Rob successfully argued to the Superior Court of New Jersey that under a financial agreement between the City of Elizabeth and the owners of the Jersey Garden Mall, the City of Elizabeth did not agree that the property tax assessment on the land be frozen or otherwise limited, that no such agreement was authorized by either the City’s exemption ordinance or the State’s Long Term Exemption Law and that under the Uniformity Clause of the New Jersey Constitution, any provision in the Long Term Exemption Law that may have permitted such a limitation would have been invalid. The court held that the City’s assessor had the right under the financial agreement and the obligation under applicable law, to assess the land under the same standard of value as applied to other land in the City of Elizabeth.
In VSH v. Harding Township, (Appellate Division 1996) Rob argued that the Morris County Board of Taxation improperly dismissed a tax appeal for lack of prosecution where the taxpayer’s attorney appeared and called the assessor as his witness.
In Elizabeth Center Apartments v Elizabeth City (2007 Appellate Division), Rob argued successfully for the city that where an apartment house is rent restricted by statute to low and moderate income cooperative apartments, a tax assessor can still look at comparable apartment houses that do not have such a rent restriction and then apply a factor to take into account the restricted rent.
And in Chai Center for Living Judaism v Millburn (Appellate Division 2013), Rob successfully argued that the synagogue was entitled to a tax exemption despite the fact that it violated Millburn’s zoning ordinance.
Currently pending before the New Jersey Appellate Division is Franklin Township’s appeal of Rob’s successful tax appeal reducing the assessment of a 145,000 square foot office building by over 70%.
Rob has lectured for the NJ Association of County Tax Board Commissioners, the Appraisal Institute, the National Association of Independent Fee Appraisers and Rutgers University’s Division of Continuing Education. He authored the tax appeal chapter in the Essex County Bar Foundation’s book “Traps for the Unwary.” Rob is a graduate of Columbia High School in Maplewood, Beloit College in Beloit Wisconsin and has a Masters of Science Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Arizona as well as a JD from the University of Wisconsin. He has taught legal writing at both the University of Wisconsin Law School and Seton Hall Law School.
Robert D. Blau, Esq.