By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
VENTNOR – Following an executive session Thursday, Jan. 23, the Board of Commissioners denied tax exempt status for five properties in the city that are owned by Hansen House, LLC, a subsidiary of the non-profit Hansen Foundation, Inc.
The commissioners did not provide any comments about rejecting a proposed settlement agreement after years of litigation in NJ Tax Court. Information requested in an OPRA request filed by Downbeach.com was not provided due to “ongoing litigation.”
According to the city’s attorney, Marc Nehmad, the settlement offer from the Hansen Foundation would have eliminated future tax payments on five Hansen-owned residential properties where people in recovery from the abuse of drugs or alcohol live under supervision.
Three of the properties are beach-block homes, and two others are on the north side of Ventnor Avenue. The total assessed valuation of Hansen-owned properties in Ventnor exceeds $2.24 million with a combined tax liability of $57,862.
The Hansen Foundation offers housing and drug and alcohol treatment at several “Hansen Houses” in Atlantic County for those in recovery to help them become self-sufficient. Following its incorporation, the Internal Revenue Service in a letter dated Oct. 28, 1999 deemed the private foundation exempt from federal taxes under tax code 501(c)(3), allowing donors to deduct contributions made to the foundation from their federal taxes.
Hansen House, LLC provided the tax court with a “well-reasoned” legal opinion that states it promotes a charitable purpose and would also qualify for tax exempt status. In the Hansen House’s 2022 tax appeal, the Atlantic County Board of Taxation maintained the properties’ original assessments.
According to Nehmad, the foundation originally requested the return of real estate taxes paid from the time they were purchased by the organization.
The commissioners voted unanimously to reject the settlement offer.
Hansen did not respond to a request for comment.
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