Federal appeals court rules that Jersey City basketball legend can sell 108 Storms Ave.


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled yesterday that Jersey City basketball legend Terry Dehere, through his housing nonprofit, can sell the property at 108 Storms Ave., originally earmarked for affordable housing, after the city contested the sale.

Photo via Google Maps.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The initial agreement between the city and the Jersey City Community Housing Corporation (JCCHC), where Dehere serves as the director, was reached in 2004, set to be a multi-unit housing complex with 30-year affordable housing deed restrictions.

“The development was supposed to be ‘rent out ready’ by May 2011 but remained incomplete by 2019, prompting Jersey City to start foreclosure proceedings in state court,” the six-page decision, written by Circuit Judge Paul Matey, says.

“In March 2021, Jersey City was awarded a Foreclosure Judgment for $773,006.01, with
$125,408.53 allocated toward the Storms Ave. property” (another property the JCCHC sought to develop at 299 Bergen Ave. was allocated the remaining $647,597.48).

However, before the property was sold in foreclosure, JCCHC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and sought to sell the property for $675,000.

“Controversy followed: there were competing appraisals and the purchaser company, operated by Anne-Marie Griffiths, was just two weeks old. Jersey City objected to the sale.
The Bankruptcy Court allowed the sale to proceed.  The Court found that the proposed sale of the Storms Ave. property was in JCCH’s ‘best interests’ and that JCCH had ‘articulated sound business reasons’ for the sale,” the appeals court recounted.

“While the Storms Ave. property could be sold to Griffiths ‘free and clear of all liens, claims, interests and encumbrances’ … the Sale Order contained a catchall provision that ‘[n]otwithstanding anything to the contrary contained herein, the low and moderate income affordability requirements contained in the Foreclosure Judgment shall remain in full force and effect.'”

Jersey City appealed the sale order to U.S. District Court, which JCCHC argued was moot under the good-faith buyer provision of the bankruptcy, which the court agreed with.

“Jersey City seeks to reinstate the affordable housing deed restrictions and redistribute the sale proceeds. We find neither argument persuasive … Jersey City also argues that the Sale Order inappropriately limited its recovery to $125,408.53. We disagree,” yesterday’s decision reads.

” … As Jersey City’s challenge to the Foreclosure Judgment Order would not prevail in state court, its challenge to the Sale Order on this issue is also without merit.”

Dehere was a standout player at St. Anthony High School under head coach Bob Hurley before playing for Seton Hall University. He made it to the NBA, playing for the Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings, and Vancouver Grizzlies.

He also served one, three-year term on the Jersey City Board of Education between 2007 and 2010.

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