Fact check: Did taxes on Murphy’s mansion get cut in half in 2018?
UPDATE: After we reached out to Zillow, the company updated the tax information on the listing for the Murphy residence.
MIDDLETOWN — Did the property taxes on Gov. Phil Murphy's $10 million mansion get cut by almost half last year? No.
But that's what the real estate website Zillow seemed to think (until we brought it to their attention). See below:
Until this month, the listing for 45 Blossom Cove Road claimed that the Murphy family's taxes were $203,502 in 2017 and plunged 46.6 percent in 2018 to $108,569.
Even for a former Goldman Sachs millionaire executive, that isn't chump change. But like for most property owners in the state last year, Murphy's taxes went up, not down.
That figure was confirmed by Middletown's tax collector this week.
His taxes are expected to climb to $210,749 this year.
New Jersey 101.5 decided to check out Murphy's tax bill because the curious Zillow listing was being shared online. It caught the attention of a reader who asked us to look into it.
Considering that tax bills in the state on average edged up by 0.9 percent last year, a nearly 50 percent drop in the governor's 6-acre Navesink waterfront abode would certainly raise questions.
According to Middletown Tax Collector Judith Vassallo, the 2018 figure that Zillow used appears to be the amount billed for the August and November tax quarters last year.
A spokesman for Zillow blamed the error on a third-party data vendor.
"Zillow strives for accuracy on all the data and information available on our site. However, human error does occur," the company said in a statement a few days after this story was published. "We've corrected the information for the home using the most recent public records."
By comparison, the average residential tax bill in New Jersey last year was $8,767. In Middletown, the average was $9,243, an increase of 4 percent. Compare your town here.
Murphy's property taxes are more than his $175,000 salary as governor.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.