Spy house still empty, Fitz-Hume and Millbarge disapprove.

From the NY Times:

‘Spy House,’ a Decrepit Reminder of Betrayal, Sits Empty in New Jersey

Amid the 75 houses inside the oak-lined, no-outlet neighborhood, a single home stands unoccupied, a celebrity eyesore.

Inside the house, the baseboards have been torn from the walls, with wires visibly protruding. The back deck is deteriorating, and the foundation may be pitched slightly toward the wildlife preserve adjacent to the back yard.

Around here, in a section of town called Fieldstone, everyone knows the peach-colored colonial with a sagging facade as the spy house, where a flock of Federal Bureau of Investigation agents arrested the Murphy family six years ago, on June 27, 2010.

Richard and Cynthia Murphy were really Vladimir and Lidiya Guryev, Russian spies, part of a Northeast corridor cell that was soon sent back to Moscow by the United States government in an exchange. The Guryevs and their two talented, popular daughters, Katie and Lisa, became an inspiration for the FX show “The Americans.”

They are long gone, but the unoccupied house remains a frustrating story of its own and an unwanted symbol of betrayal for the community.

“The whole thing is pretty creepy on a psychological level,” said Elizabeth Lapin, who lives about 60 yards from the spy house. “The spies resumed a normal life in Moscow, and we’re left with this reminder. The neighborhood was wounded, and it became part of a TV show. Until the house has another family, the story isn’t written.”

The F.B.I. tore the place apart on the day the Guryevs were arrested, after dragging them away in handcuffs.

That began a Dickensian, bureaucratic process: More than a year passed before the family’s green Honda Civic was repossessed from the driveway; two more years went by before the place was technically put up for sale by the United States Marshals Service in April 2013.

The 1,830-square-foot home with a “recently updated kitchen” was originally listed at $444,900, and several neighbors expressed interest. Later, the price was reduced to $365,500. Would-be buyers, however, were told by the broker, Fast Track Real Estate Company of Waldwick, N.J., that the property was either in escrow or not for sale. Structural questions lingered, and potential buyers wondered if the deed was fully cleared.

Then last month, on May 16, Santander Bank, based in Boston, acquired the deed as a lienholder.

The Russians, it turned out, owed money.

The sales process was reset to square one this spring. The federal government had by then remitted about $38,000 in property taxes on the spy house over the last three years. The Marshals Service also kept the home winterized and occasionally sent landscapers to mow the lawn.

But when Santander first took over, the property was ignored and the weeds grew higher. Public Service Electric & Gas had taken to parking its equipment in the driveway. A contractor came to look at the crumbling front steps but did not return.

“It’s not safe,” said Chris Delaney, who lives across the street from the spy house. “It could catch fire. You worry if there will be people squatting in there, and what bothers me the most is it’s a giant waste of money. What was the government doing for five years?”

“We have been working with the approved brokers and we are ensuring that the property is being maintained in preparation for sale,” a Santander spokeswoman wrote in an email.

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53 Responses to Spy house still empty, Fitz-Hume and Millbarge disapprove.

  1. grim says:

    And only $15,000 in taxes!

  2. grim says:

    How the hell is it realistic to reduce the sales tax to 6% in the new tax proposal. Wouldn’t that leave an absolutely GAPING hole in the budget in comparison?

    I was thinking that it was going to be realistic to add a tax on luxury clothing (articles above $300 for example).

    The estate tax cut is off the table, but the income tax cut for retirees is still in?

    This is f*cking absurd. Why do anything? Take the bullshit off the table and propose a simple, modest increase to the tax cut with no strings and baggage.

  3. grim says:

    New tax proposal does little to stem the outflow of retirees.

  4. Amerigeddon says:

    Soon, it will be Alpine and the blighted cities. The rest of NJ will become a dangerous woodlands, overrun by packs of vicious, warring gangs of the formerly middle class.

  5. grim says:

    So let me get this straight – budget is $1 billion more than last year.

    Proposed tax plan reduces tax revenue by $1 billion.

    So next year we gave a $2 billion hole?

  6. Amerigeddon says:

    …and a surfeit of rabid feral hogs.

  7. grim says:

    Can’t wait to see a soccer mom harnessed to the front of a mini van playing Rick Nielsen’s 4 necked guitar.

    This is a vision of the future we can all stand behind.

  8. GOP's broken (the good one) says:

    Tax all dividends same rate as Income

    grim says:
    June 28, 2016 at 6:47 am

    I was thinking that it was going to be realistic to add a tax on luxury clothing (articles above $300 for example

  9. grim says:

    Slow roasted feral hog sounds delicious.

  10. grim says:

    8 – Go for it, watch the exodus from NJ. Unfortunately this is a policy that can not be enacted on the local level, since it’s so easy to avoid it by simply moving. Poconos would finally live up to the billing.

  11. GOP's broken (the good one) says:

    retirees pick up the busiest fukcing time of the day to run errands. 6:30 am monday lining up at my upscale coffee shop, Saturday morning at the cleaners and at the barber shop, why can’t do stuff wedenesday middle of the day?
    let them leave and make space. all right wingers anyways

    grim says:
    June 28, 2016 at 6:59 am
    New tax proposal does little to stem the outflow of retirees.

  12. 1987 Condo says:

    I think they are waiting a year to reduce the sales tax, gas tax goes live Friday.
    This sets stage for next Governor to raise sales tax back to 7 in 2018

  13. D-FENS says:

    The sales tax reduction will never happen in my opinion. I predict that they take it back or even raise it more once a Democratic Governor is elected. It is set to be “phased out over time”…which gives them ample time to change their minds before it is ever reduced.

    grim says:
    June 28, 2016 at 6:47 am
    How the hell is it realistic to reduce the sales tax to 6% in the new tax proposal. Wouldn’t that leave an absolutely GAPING hole in the budget in comparison?

    I was thinking that it was going to be realistic to add a tax on luxury clothing (articles above $300 for example).

    The estate tax cut is off the table, but the income tax cut for retirees is still in?

    This is f*cking absurd. Why do anything? Take the bullshit off the table and propose a simple, modest increase to the tax cut with no strings and baggage.

  14. grim says:

    why can’t do stuff wedenesday middle of the day?

    This is the economic rationale behind “senior discount” – trade their time flexibility for price reductions to shift business to off-hours.

    Not because they like seniors and want to give them a break.

  15. grim says:

    Yeah I see, moves to 6.5 in 2017 and 6 in 2018.

    Complete political bullshit – politicians will be on tv and everywhere else claiming they voted a tax decrease for NJ residents.

    But in reality, there was no tax decrease, and they’ll all be gone when it comes time to pay.

    Typical kick the can NJ bullshit.

  16. grim says:

    Not to mention the specific benefit to those collecting state pensions.

    Seems it’s the creation of a new protected class.

    Public sector in NJ means you are a crowned prince or princess.

  17. grim says:

    The average retiree in NJ living off savings and pulling modestly from their IRA or 401k gains little to nothing.

    The fire chief with his $100k+ a year pension, is exempted from income tax.

    Makes perfect sense.

  18. nwnj3 says:

    I think the shift to a sales tax cut from the estate tax was an acknowledgement yet again of what a screw job the original deal would have been to working age folks. Retired boomers will now get a break on retirement income taxes and the estate tax would have been icing on the cake.

    But yeah, in general I’m skeptical that they will actually reduce the sales tax. Tax cuts are always phased in after elections so they can be cancelled by the incoming class.

  19. GOP's broken (the good one) says:

    @business

    JUST IN:

    First quarter U.S. economic growth exceeds previous estimate

  20. D-FENS says:

    19 – revised up to 1.1%. That’s pathetic. So the rate slowed…but it didn’t slow as slowly as they previously thought.

    Yeah…that’s great news.

  21. grim says:

    Did everyone forget what the original issue was?

    The proposal does nothing to address it.

  22. 1987 Condo says:

    For 1 day I was thinking I could actually stay in NJ..at least during non Winter months…but, back to original plan…

  23. grim says:

    1. Transportation trust fund is bankrupt, we have no money to maintain our infrastructure. Since driving destroys the infrastructure, it makes most sense to link these new funds to the activities which make the funds required. The more you drive, the more you use, and destroy, the infrastructure. Spare me the arguments about it being regressive. You drive, you use destroy the roads.

    And no, I no longer drive an electric car.

    2. The double death tax in NJ – which is one of the major causes of elderly residents leaving the state of NJ, to die elsewhere. What good is this tax if so many leave to avoid it entirely? We’re wildly out of line with the rest of the country.

  24. leftwing says:

    A little piece of joy for our resident liberals.

    Because, as every dyed in the wool leftist knows, these four hundred people are a yyyuuuuuuggge problem and the cause of all the woes facing the globe.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-27/world-s-top-fortunes-fall-196-2-billion-since-brexit-bombshell

    Call it what you will, deride it as trickle down, doesn’t matter. Hard fact. No society has ever prospered without the most capable in that society reaping outsized gains. And, conversely, when they get run over generally so do the rest of us.

  25. 1987 Condo says:

    #23…on point #1, #2. The other troubling concern is the lack of protection on those bogus out of network medical bills. Really, they are designating “wings” of hospitals that are out of network along with “classes” of physicians (anesthesiologists)….I will look into a state with better protections as well.

  26. nwnj3 says:

    The estate tax is yielding $500M+ per year so someone is paying it.

    And from a theory perspective it makes more sense to offset a widespread tax increase with a widespread tax cut rather than a targeted tax cut but I doubt the sales tax reduction will ever been enacted.

  27. grim says:

    How many are not paying it?

  28. nwnj3 says:

    I wouldn’t argue that, it’s easily avoided, tut that what makes it more palatable to the electorate. You could argue that it’s voluntary.

  29. Anon E. Moose says:

    nwnj3 [26];

    The estate tax is yielding $500M+ per year so someone is paying it.

    Sometimes you’re lucky, like “the Boss” George Steinbrenner (or more to the point, his heirs), and you die in a year with no/low estate taxes. Sometimes, you get hit by a bus, and you can’t help but die as a NJ resident.

    That said, Grim, I’m afraid I don’t see the wisdom in raising a tax that is trivially easy to avoid paying.

  30. chi says:

    Since the Federal exemption is so high, many put the thought out of their minds…..I bet that while a few big elephants put a nice chunk of change in it, there is also a tremendous amount of small bits coming from the masses……$625K is basically a house…….literally anyone who croaks is going to end up throwing a few thousand into the kitty at this point……

    nwnj3 says:
    June 28, 2016 at 9:06 am
    The estate tax is yielding $500M+ per year so someone is paying it.

    And from a theory perspective it makes more sense to offset a widespread tax increase with a widespread tax cut rather than a targeted tax cut but I doubt the sales tax reduction will ever been enacted.

  31. HouseWhineWine says:

    Speaking about retiring out of state we discovered how much cheaper assisted living is down south. Literally half the price of what it is in NJ, and if you do your homework, the quality is very good. We found this out when placing elderly relatives in a facility. This is yet another reason to leave NJ, at least when you reach the “elderly” stage of being a retiree. The savings is huge! We definitely are NOT retiree friendly here, at least in terms of financial concerns.

  32. jcer says:

    29, bingo it is a tax that the unlucky get stuck paying anyone who makes it to retirement gets out even if they keep a second home in jersey. So invoking fairness how is it fair to tax someone who dies unexpectedly? In the meantime I know people who are taking considerable sums of money(Annual investment income of approximately 750K) to FL, depriving NJ of tax revenue that they otherwise would not be doing except to avoid the onerous death tax.

  33. D-FENS says:

    It’s not looking like the State Senate is going to go for the sales tax decrease right now…

  34. chicagofinance says:

    If you have a declining parent, do you really want them in another state? You want to be able to visit them several times a week, if not every day…….I’ve seen a good number of kids bringing parents back up here for their last few years on the earth, especially after the first spouse dies leaving a frail survivor…….

    HouseWhineWine says:
    June 28, 2016 at 10:23 am
    Speaking about retiring out of state we discovered how much cheaper assisted living is down south. Literally half the price of what it is in NJ, and if you do your homework, the quality is very good. We found this out when placing elderly relatives in a facility. This is yet another reason to leave NJ, at least when you reach the “elderly” stage of being a retiree. The savings is huge! We definitely are NOT retiree friendly here, at least in terms of financial concerns.

  35. Comrade Nom Deplume, screwing around at work says:

    “GOP’s broken (the good one) says:
    June 28, 2016 at 7:37 am

    retirees pick up the busiest fukcing time of the day to run errands. 6:30 am monday lining up at my upscale coffee shop”

    Shut up and get me my latte.

  36. Comrade Nom Deplume, screwing around at work says:

    [8] twitiot

    “Tax all dividends same rate as Income”

    Hee, hee, that brought a smile to my face.

    Make it so, Number One. We tax lawyers can use the business. Anyone care to hazard a guess what happens when you increase tax on one form of payout?

  37. Comrade Nom Deplume, screwing around at work says:

    [29] Moose

    “That said, Grim, I’m afraid I don’t see the wisdom in raising a tax that is trivially easy to avoid paying.”

    Aww, c’mon Moose. Think of the children! (okay, think of mine anyway).

  38. D-FENS says:

    Chris Cuomo spotted boozing before drag race

    http://pagesix.com/2016/06/28/chris-cuomo-spotted-boozing-before-drag-race-car-crash/

    CNN anchor Chris Cuomo was boozing at his wife’s swanky magazine party in Southampton before he crashed his classic convertible into a parked SUV during a drag race, sources told The Post.

    “They got him away from the scene fast,” a source said. “Everybody heard it. It was a full-blown drag race.”

    Cuomo, brother of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, had just left a party hosted by his wife, Cristina, for Beach magazine at Jue Lan Club on May 28 when he got behind the wheel of his 1969 Pontiac Firebird and pulled up alongside a friend’s 1967 Pontiac ­LeMans, sources said.

    Photos show a blond woman standing in front of the hot rods with her arms raised high, as if signaling the start of a race.

    “I saw that woman rolling around posing and modeling on the car, and then I realized there were two cars, and they pulled into the street,” a witness said.

    “We knew it was him. And then they peeled out and went to where the middle of the train station almost is, and right before that, he lost control, and ran into that Mercedes.”

    Cuomo dented the back of the 2014 Mercedes SUV at the corner of Elm Street and Powell Avenue, the sources said.

    His wife told him to leave, according to sources. He drove home in his car, with a cracked radiator leaking fluid, they added.

    Cristina stayed and spoke to cops, who later stopped by Cuomo’s home to question him.

    “He was drinking, and I believe that’s why he was sent home,” a source said. “Everyone saw the state he was in. When he crashed, it got really quiet”

  39. D-FENS says:

    A police report makes no mention of the drag race or of drinking, simply stating that Cuomo “was distracted by someone yelling and waving.”

  40. Comrade Nom Deplume, screwing around at work says:
  41. Comrade Nom Deplume, screwing around at work says:

    [40] DFENS

    “A police report makes no mention of the drag race or of drinking, simply stating that Cuomo “was distracted by someone yelling and waving.”

    There’s your white privilege, right there.

  42. Comrade Nom Deplume, screwing around at work says:

    Did some quick comparisons between the two locations I most purchase gas in NJ and PA. Bottom line is that there will be no price difference and since the PA location is a costco, PA wins out. And since DE will be lower and I am there frequently enough, that is my new go-to location.

    So the last tax I was paying to NJ goes away.

  43. 1987 Condo says:

    #43..cover for eventual gas tax hikes in NY, PA and DE

  44. D-FENS says:

    The Federal Gas tax is due for a hike too isn’t it?

  45. grim says:

    The tax reduction plus gap in the budget pretty much means there is zero chance at property tax relief in the next 5 years.

  46. Comrade Nom Deplume, screwing around at work says:

    [44] condo

    I know. It’s in the back of my mind. However, as I indicated before, NJ “exports” gasoline. If some of the lost exports start showing up at pumps in neighboring states, the resulting revenue increase could lessen the likelihood of a hike.

  47. 1987 Condo says:

    #46..property tax relief….maybe we could put in an income tax…oh, sorry, flash back to 1976……Happy 40th!!!

  48. Comrade Nom Deplume, screwing around at work says:

    Airport terror attack in Turkey, similar to Brussels.

    This will give fodder to the Leave crowd in the U.K.

    Footrest and twitiot here soon to blame the NRA and GOP.

  49. leftwing says:

    49. will our upcoming p1ssed off home grown, domestic sociopaths please start taking out victims with su1c1de b0mbs?

    Maybe then we can get off this (farcical) gun agenda and address root causes….

    PS, Ataturk was h0m0phobic, has to be, repeat after me, news must fit agenda, news must fit agenda, news must fit agenda…….oh, wait, it was Trump. Yeah, that’s it. His Musl1m ban…NYT front page tomorrow, anon already squirting his pants.

  50. Comrade Nom Deplume. Citizen, 2nd Class. says:

    [50] wing

    Thank you, yes, I forgot about Trump. Clearly it’s his fault too.

    And a YouTube video. It’s clearly the fault of some YouTube video.

  51. grim says:

    Weren’t all the public comments about the shooter being gay, being on hookup sites (Grindr, etc) – all proven incorrect, unsubstantiated, etc.

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