Reading all of the other headlines - most of which seem to copy each
other – announcing Mary J. Blige’s financial ruin, I decided to take a
deeper look. True, there have been lawsuits and bad handling of her charity’s funds. None
of these are unique for business owners, entertainers and people at a
certain income level. Media frenzy can create an understanding different
than reality. There is a different perspective of the same evidence. That different perspective is that Mary J. Blige and husband are fine. They may have decided to change their financial spending in the midst of the harsh economy downturn that started in 2008.
Mary J. Blige, is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and occasional rapper and actress. She is a recipient of nine Grammy Awards and four American Music Awards, and has recorded eight multi-platinum albums. She is the only artist with Grammy Award wins in R&B, Rap, Gospel, and Pop. According to TheRichest.org, Mary J. Blige’s net worth is estimated to be $45 Million. Most of her income is from royalties from songs, performances, sponsors and acting. In 2004 Blige launched her own record label, Matriarch Records, distributed through Interscope. In July 2010, Blige launched her first perfume, My Life (through Carol's Daughter), exclusively on HSN. The fragrance's unprecedented success broke sales records in hours and has been awarded two prestigious FIFI awards from the Fragrance Foundation. The newest fragrance, My Life Blossom launched in August 2011 exclusively to HSN. In October 2010 Blige released a line of sunglasses called "Melodies by MJB". The first Melodies collection featured four styles with a total of 20 color options. Each style represented a specific facet of Blige’s life. Essence magazine reported that in the spring of 2011, "Melodies by MJB" extended their collection to offer more styles. Blige's production company, along with William Morris Endeavor is also working on several TV and film projects. Blige has had endorsement contracts with Reebok, Air Jordan, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Gap, Target, American Express, AT&T Inc., M·A·C, Apple Inc., Burger King and Chevrolet. She has also been a spokesperson with Carol's Daughter beauty products and Citibank's with Nickelback program.
Her assets include ownership of at least two homes, one in the State of New Jersey, and another in Beverly Hills, CA. The house in New Jersey was purchased in 2008 for $12.5 Million CASH. That means, she was savvy enough to save at least $12 Million dollars to purchase the property without taking a mortgage. Property details for the home in California were not made public.
In 2011 and less than three years after purchasing the home in Saddle River Creek Estates, New Jersey, Mary J. placed the home for sale for $13.9 Million. Mary and Kendu Isaacs purchased the home for $12.3 Million, after negotiating the price down from $17 Million. She recently dropped the sale price in effort to sell it from $13.9 Million to $12.5 Million. According to AOL Real Estate, the house has five fireplaces, 8 bedrooms, 8 full baths and 3 half baths and a six-car garage. It sits on 4.2 acres and has an oversize gourmet kitchen with two islands, chandelier, marble floors, and French windows overlooking the yard and French doors. The entertainment room comes complete with oversize leather recliners to seat 14 guests; a winding staircase leads to an oval hallway although if that's too much work there's an elevator. Stately columns adorn the foyer and French windows provide the large family room, with fireplace, plenty of light. And for some recreational time, there's an indoor basketball court, fitness center or swimming pool.
The house also is costly to operate. The annual real estate tax on the property is close to $100,000 per year. Then there are grounds keeping, and general maintenance. It would seem that the sale price of $13.9 was priced for a quick sale. But two years later, the home is still for sale.
According to AOL Real Estate, the tax lien of $900k was placed on the property in September 2012. However, the current media frenzy makes it appear as though the tax lien was just placed on the house. The lien is a real estate/property tax lien placed on the home for lack of payment of the property tax. Apparently, there was a business strategy with the Isaacs family that made it clear to not pay the property tax while the house was listed for sale. No one could have guessed that the $17 Million dollar home would not sell within two years.
Mary J’s real challenge is that New Jersey is not a good place to risk having a tax lien on the property. New Jersey is popular among people who make money from buying property tax liens. This is especially not a good idea for a property with zero mortgage, paid for full with cash. New Jersey allows full foreclosure on properties by individuals who hold the tax lien certificate after two years. In order to redeem the property within that period, the home owner must arrange full payment of the lien certificate plus any redemption fee and interest owed on the certificate which can be 18 percent. So what would have been $300,000 to $500,000 for property taxes is now $900,000 after penalties and interest. In order to redeem the lien, it will be more.
The great news is that Mary J Blige does not have income tax liens from the IRS, State of California or the State of New Jersey. The tax lien recent news headliners refer appears to be from lack of payment of property taxes for a slow selling property. More great news is possibly the doom and gloom headlines will help to market the home and get it sold. It is a beauty. Otherwise, Mary J may need to pay off or pay-down the past due property tax before someone purchases the certificate and puts a final twist into the financial saga. There have been reports of unlawful activities concerning acquisition of property tax certificates in the State of New Jersey. Mary is smart, strong and very grounded. She and her team will work on a way to get this taken care of. What do you think?