Today a judge in Morristown will issue a judgment of possession to Joe Gorga which will allow him to officially evict Patterson in the upcoming days. This judge ruled strictly under leasing laws. Joe will have to return to court to sue for moneys owed with regard to the sale. However, since Joe no longer wants to go through with the sale after losing confidence in Patterson’s ability to pay, I imagine he will just evict the tenant and move into the house himself.
Below are some excerpts from an article by Peggy Wright published by the Daily Record:
Bolding is mine.
A tenant of a Montville mansion owned by “Real Housewives of New Jersey” co-stars Melissa and Joe Gorga owes at least $23,477 in rent and late fees to the couple, a judge ruled Wednesday, but the tenant said he will pay the amount by Thursday to avoid possible eviction.
Superior Court Judge Stephen Taylor, sitting in Morristown, conducted a bench trial Tuesday and Wednesday on the Gorga’s complaint to evict tenant Kai Patterson for non-payment of rent for the 13,000-square-foot mansion on Pond View. The judge ultimately ruled in favor of the Gorgas and said he would enter a judgment of possession Thursday, the legal step before a landlord can obtain a warrant of removal after three business days to physically oust a tenant.
“The money is currently due and owing and Mr. Patterson has to pay that forthwith to avoid eviction,” Taylor said in court.
Taylor identified the due amount as $23,477 but noted the sum will change after he recalculates a small credit in Patterson’s favor and adds in legal fees incurred by three attorneys who represented the Gorgas.
“Absolutely,” Patterson said after the hearing, when asked if he planned to pay whatever is owed to ward off eviction. He had testified that he had the financial wherewithal to make $2 million annually as president of Bounty Alert Inc. and founder of a second company.
Joe Gorga, who was present for the ruling with attorney Jonathan Korn, said after the hearing he wants Patterson out of the house and plans to file a lawsuit against him even if he pays the entire judgment.
“He’s a squatter, a deadbeat and I don’t want him to hurt another family,” Gorga said.
Patterson started lagging on payments and then outright withheld rent, claiming the house leaked, lacked hot water, had a beaver living in a crawlspace and had old shirts stuffed in chimneys to keep out drafts. Joe Gorga in June filed a complaint against Patterson to start the eviction process. While the case was pending, judges allowed Patterson to stay in the house as long as he posted a total of $35,000 with the court.
The judge rejected claims by Patterson’s lawyer that rent wasn’t paid because the home wasn’t habitable. The judge said he heard no evidence to conclude the house couldn’t be lived in.
“If (occupants) can’t sleep in one of the seven or so bedrooms they can move to one of the other bedrooms,” Taylor said.
Korn, representing the Gorgas, started the case alleging that Patterson owed $192,557 between March and August of this year. But the judge refused to consider the tenant’s alleged failure to make payments toward the purchase, saying the Gorga’s complaint referred only to non-payment of rent. Taylor said that either party can pursue further legal action but his ruling had to be limited to the rent non-payment allegations.
Korn had wanted the judge to treat Patterson as a corporate tenant instead of a residential tenant but Taylor said the lease agreement explicitly stated it was a residential lease though one tenant is identified as the company, Bounty Alert Inc. Patterson, who lives in the home with his elderly step-father, has said he wanted to use the home as a backdrop for a reality TV show he hopes to start.
Patterson’s lawyer, Richard Koppenaal, wanted the judge to grant him a money credit toward future rent by arguing that the Gorgas committed an “anticipatory breach” of the purchase agreement they had with Patterson. The judge declined, and Korn said the Gorgas have indicated they want to move back into the house because they want Patterson out and don’t trust him to make good on future rents.
“He’s not a deadbeat, this is a man who is paying the rent,” Koppenaal told the judge.
Korn stated: “The reason Mr. Gorga wants him out is because he’s a deadbeat. Mr. Gorga cannot afford to carry two homes.”