Joe and Melissa Gorga Are Building a Spec Home in Franklin Lakes (Updated 4/24/2015)
UPDATE APRIL 23, 2015: The lot on which Joe and Melissa Gorga planned to build their new home, but instead listed it for sale after pouring the foundation, was removed from the market in March 2015. The Gorgas resumed construction on the home without a buyer (spec home). Melissa tweeted that Joe is building the house to sell and that they plan to stay in their Montville home forever.
“My money is on the ‘dream house’ never being built and them unloading the land at a discounted price. They don’t have the money to build a spec house like that, and it would be dumb to finance such an endeavor. How about just being truthful for once. Just fess up. You got in over your head. You’re now focused on making smart financial decisions for your family. That I’d admire. The constant BS is ridiculous.” [swizzle, February 3, 2015, AllAboutTRH]
UPDATE DECEMBER 18, 2014: The Gorgas are not building a new home in Franklin Lakes. The lot at 101 Jasmine Ct., on which the Gorgas planned to build their new home, has been owned by ITL Realty, Inc. of Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey since 2011 or earlier. The lot was put back on the market for $1.2 million on November 11, 2014 (image above) and includes blueprints for the home the Gorgas planned to build (images below). Melissa said during reunion 6 that the foundation for the home had been laid (the listing for the lot also states that the foundation is completed), so that must be why the lot includes the blueprints.
ITL Reality, Inc. also has owned since 2011 or earlier the vacant lot across the street, 102 Jasmine Ct., which is not for sale. However, ‘for sale’ signs from Venture Realtors were on both lots when Google captured ‘street views’ in October 2013 (image below). The assessed value for each lot is $467,000.
ITL Realty, Inc., which was established in 1986, is headquartered at 100 Sylvan Avenue in Englewood Cliffs, which the company purchased on October 5, 2004 for $3,066,000.
Melissa wrote in her Bravo blog dated July 21, 2014, that they planned on moving back into their mansion in Montville once they successfully evicted the rent-to-own tenant, Kai Patterson.
“And yes, once everything has been sorted out, we plan to move back to Montville while Joe continues to build the house in Franklin Lakes. Why? Because it makes the most financial sense. There is no reason to continue to pay for a rental and leave that big house empty. At this point, we are still building the house in Franklin Lakes and will decide at a later date which house we’ll put on the market. It will all come down to what is best for our family, but I promise when I know, you’ll know! ”
Kai Patterson turned the house back over to the Gorgas on September 26, 2014, and the Gorgas moved back into the mansion shortly thereafter. Alex Glushanok, who would have been the Gorgas neighbor had they built the home on the lot at 101 Jasmine Court in Franklin Lakes, told RadarOnline on December 18, 2014 that the Gorgas introduced themselves to residents in the exclusive neighborhood and informed them that they’d be filming on the street, but in the last couple of weeks, construction had suddenly stopped. “We’re anticipating what is going to happen. We don’t want there to be disruption with trucks, traffic and cameras. But nobody asked our permission so there’s no point worrying about it now.”
UPDATE OCTOBER 2014: The season 6 RHONJ finale showed Joe Gorga with a rented backhoe, “breaking ground” for their new home on a lot in Franklin Lakes (image below). The footage was shot in early 2014. The Gorgas have yet to build the home, and a search of property records in Franklin Lakes produces no results for the Gorgas, which means they do not own property in that town under the name “Gorga.”
Observe the two images below:
1. The first image is a photo of a custom home that Joe claimed in a tweet, dated September 8, 2012, to be building (the tweet remains but the photo has since been deleted).
2. In the second image dated January 14, 2014, Joe is displaying an architectural drawing of the new home he claims to be building in Franklin Lakes.
The photo of the custom home Joe allegedly was building in September 2012 for someone else is the same home he allegedly is building for his family in Franklin Lakes in 2014.
Whose house is that in the first image and did Joe Gorga really build it, or did he notice it one day while driving and snap a shot of it and then contact the architect to get the blueprints?
On May 2, 2014, Star magazine published a story about the Gorgas’ home in Montville nearly going into foreclosure and their attempts to appear wealthier than they really are:
After an extensive investigation into Joe and Melissa Gorga’s lavish lifestyle, Star has uncovered a trail of bounced checks, delinquent loans and thousands of dollars in debt — all for the sake of competing with rich friends and appearing wealthier than they really are.
Reps for the couple deny any problems, but concerned friends say that if the Gorgas aren’t careful, they could wind-up just like the Giudices, who face years in prison after pleading guilty to numerous counts of fraud.
“They are trying to live a lifestyle that they want to become accustomed to, but can’t,” an insider reveals. “It’s only a matter of time before it finally catches up with them.”
The insiders say that Joe and Melissa have always had expensive taste, but getting cast on the Bravo reality show proved to be their financial downfall. The pair was forced to sell their mansion in Montville Township, N.J., but didn’t learn from their mistakes.
“Joe and Melissa definitely have a bad reputation, and their credit history doesn’t track well,” the source observes.
In fact, nearly going into foreclosure was just one of many financial missteps the duo has made — this has resulted in $35,000 worth of tax liens filed against them from the state of New Jersey and more than $130,000 civil lawsuits.
The Gorgas are clearly in a dangerous spiral of debt and spending — and they may want to be careful.
“When Teresa and Joe started flaunting money on the show, the Feds watch them very closely…and busted them,” the insider adds. “There’s no way they aren’t watching the Gorgas now.”
The following is the original blog post, which was published on September 6, 2013.
Joe and Melissa Gorga moved into a rental home at 801 Pony Trail in Franklin Lakes on September 6, 2013 (see image above). The monthly rent is $3,900 – at least $12,000 less than they were paying in mortgage and taxes per month on their Montville home, which they claim to have sold in August 2013. However, as of January 3, 2014, property records for Morris county show that the Gorgas are still the owners.
From what I can tell, there was no sale of their mansion in Montville. Momajackie posted on January 15, 2013:
The following is what I believe happened, as I could not view the actual documents, only the index.
On 8/5/2009 a Mortgage Modification was recorded between Joe Gorga and Sterling Bank. This, I believe, was for the construction of 8 Pond View.
On 4/11/11 two Mortgage Modifications and an Assignment of Rent Mortgage (ROMA Bank) were recorded under the same document number. This I believe would have modified the mortgage at both the shore home and 8 Pond View and gave the Gorgas additional money to fund their lifestyle.
On 10/1/12 a Notice of Settlement with ROMA was recorded, which I believe cleared the shore house and/or allowed the Gorgas to reside at 8 Pond View for a year, hoping Melissa’s ventures would become successful.
On 10/18/12 a new mortgage was made. Not certain what secured that mortgage.
On 12/18/12 a Mortgage Cancellation was recorded,which I believe cleared the shore house, since I can find no mortgage on it in Ocean County.
On 7/7/13 a Discharge of Assignment of Rent Mortgage was recorded, which I assumed discharged the debt the Gorgas owed, gave the bank possession of the property, and allowed the Gorgas perhaps 60 days to move out.
The documents were indeed recorded. As for the Morris County Assessor (link below), if you view “details” you will see the website has not been updated since 2012.
A mortgage modification is done by the bank to help struggling homeowners who can’t pay their mortgage – it is an attempt to avoid foreclosure by lowering the monthly payments; it is NOT a refinance, which a lot of people do when interest rates go down. An assignment of rent is done when a mortgaged property is being rented – it ensures the bank can collect the rent directly from the tenants if the mortgage holder can’t pay the monthly mortgage.
Melissa posted a photo of the moving truck (photo below), with the company’s name prominently displayed, probably in exchange for a discount on the moving charges because she is cheap and expects free things since she is such a huge celebrity.
Even Melissa’s former BFF and bridesmaid, Jan Marie DeDolce, says that Melissa is “very selfish and very cheap”:
“Melissa’s very selfish. She’s very cheap. Seriously. She’s the kind of person who will go into a store and wants to get everything for free. For her daughter’s Holy Communion this year she had people doubting if she actually paid for the big party or Antonia’s dress because she was constantly tweeting about the designer and vendors and plugging their business. She even had a paparazzi photo agency take pictures at the reception. Probably because it was free. She did that because she probably didn’t pay for the dress. Trust me. She gave a gift to my daughter once for her birthday and on the tag of the outfit it said it was for Antonia.” – Jan Marie DeDolce, AllAboutTRH EXCLUSIVE, August 18, 2013
When the Gorgas put their mansion on the market for the second time in May 2012, Joe and Melissa told Us Weekly on May 22, 2012 and Reality Aired on May 12, 2012 that they would be moving into a rental home until Joe builds their next dream home:
“I’m a builder. I custom-built the houses we have lived in and will do the same with our next one. We tried Montville, but it just wasn’t for us. We want to go back to Franklin Lakes, which is closer to where I work, and we’re looking at a couple of properties now. Wait till you see the next house I build.”
“I absolutely love our current house and will be sad to leave, but Joe is an incredible builder, so I have no doubt that I’ll love the next house just as much. Although this is the last time he is getting me to pack-up!”, said Melissa.
“We gave Montville a try and want to move back to Franklin Lakes before the kids reach an age where they will all be in school. When we sell our house in Montville, we will move into a rental while Joe custom builds our next house. Joe is a builder and a businessman. He will sell pretty much any property for the right price and build again bigger and better.”
In September 2012, Joe Gorga tweeted a photo of a home he had under construction. At the time, it seemed like it was going to be their next home since they had put their mansion on the market a few months earlier.
With the Gorgas moving into a rental home, their claim that they are looking for a lot in Franklin Lakes on which to build their next dream home sounds like complete BS. The mansion they just sold was not built as their dream home, and neither will be the next home Joe builds because he builds them as spec homes to flip for a profit.
On August 20, 2013, RadarOnline reported that the Gorgas sold their Montville home for the asking price of $3.8 million; however, the tabloid consistently misreports, so the information is questionable. In fact, they reported that the Gorgas only paid $950,000 for the mansion, but that’s what they paid for the lot in 2007 (they paid cash, per Melissa, which is the profit Joe made from his former home in Franklin Lakes when he sold it in 2006 at the height of the real estate boom) – they took out a $2,250,000 construction loan in 2008 to build the mansion, and later converted it to a regular mortgage loan in the amount of $2,185,199. Us Weekly, aligned with Bravo to promote the Gorgas, also reported on the sale.
On September 14, 2013, a FW reader did some public records research and sent the following information on the Gorga’s mansion:
“It looks like they still own both the Montville mansion and the shore house at 11 Mermaid Road. As of March of 2011, they owed over $2.1 million on their $2.25 mortgage from 2007 so the mortgage company (Roma Bank) made them do a modification placing the property in a sort-of rental status with the bank. As long as they paid their payments of $11,829.40 every month, on time, then they remained in the home, basically renting from the bank. Then, they did another refinance: they re-mortgaged the Montville mansion, shore house, and some property in Paterson (3 tracts) together on October 11, 2012 for a $2.677 million loan and that discharged/paid off their 2007 $2.25 million loan (which previously wrapped the Montville and shore houses together) and discharged the assignment of leases (rental status) on the Montville home (as of July 2013). So, they got a new loan in October 2012 by adding a third property to their mortgage, where they previously had two properties tied together. Not showing a purchase yet though.”
On Realtor.com, their Montville home was not listed as “pending” or “sold” – instead, it was listed as “not for sale” (see image below), which would mean that the listing was removed from the MLS before a private sale was transacted. Rumor has it Johnny Wright, Melissa’s manager since October 2012, worked out a deal with them, and he, or his company, Wright Entertainment Group (WEG), is the new owner of the home.
It could take several months for the sale to be recorded by the county clerk of Morris County – when it is, the details of the property transfer would be in the public record.
Mortgage and taxes on the Gorga’s Montville home totaled $20,000 per month before they refinanced in 2011, which lowered their housing payment to $16,000 per month or almost $200,000 per year (before the cash-out refinance in October 2012 – they extracted $500,000 in equity, probably to pay off their shore house, which was tied to the mortgage loan on their mansion). The cost was probably the real reason they sold their mansion – their entire Bravo salary must have been used to pay the mortgage and taxes.
Before the Gorgas started to build the Montville home in 2008 to impress Bravo, they lived in a rental home similar to the one they just rented – Joe sold his McMansion in Franklin Lakes in 2006 and they didn’t buy the Montville lot until late 2007, after Teresa was cast on RHONJ. They probably would have continued to live in that rental had they not been trying to impress Bravo.