Montclair spy house for sale: 4 BR; 1.5 bath; Cold War character MONTCLAIR — Charming four-bedroom colonial on a quiet, tree-lined street. Good schools. Access to NYC transportation.
Montclair spy house for sale: 4 BR; 1.5 bath; Cold War character
MONTCLAIR — Charming four-bedroom colonial on a quiet, tree-lined street. Good schools. Access to NYC transportation. Previous owners: A couple working undercover as agents of a foreign government.
The Montclair spy house is for sale.
The house is listed at $444,900, said Lynzey Donahue, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Marshal’s Service, which put the house on the market this week.
Russian spies Richard and Cynthia Murphy, a.k.a. Vladimir and Lydia Guryev, moved out of the house with their two pre-teen daughters after being charged with spying in June 2010.
The couple forfeited the house to the U.S. government under a plea deal later that year, and were returned to Russia in a spy swap that had all the intrigue of a John le Carre novel.
In a scandal that made headlines around the world and shocked their Upper Montclair neighbors, the Guryevs were among 10 Russian undercover agents in the United States on a long-term assignment to infiltrate U.S. policy-making circles and obtain any useful information.
Lydia Guryev posed as a typical Montclair-to-Manhattan commuter, working for an accounting firm where she did financial planning for a venture capitalist with ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton. As Richard Murphy, Vladimir Guryev blended in as one of the famously progressive suburb’s stay-at-home dads.
Proceeds from the sale of the Montclair house will go to the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund, which is used to compensate crime victims, fund federal law enforcement initiatives, and recover forfeiture-related costs, Donahue said. For example, the marshals service hired a real estate appraiser to arrive at the selling price.
A federal judge issued a default judgment in July, prompting the marshals service to take action to sell the house, Donahue said.
The online listing reads:
“Charming colonial located in the Fieldstone section of Upper Montclair,” the site’s thumbnail description of the house states. “Beautifully maintained home with new kitchen and family room on 1st floor. Four bedrooms and inviting office with garden views on 2nd.”
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The listing agent, Marie Kahvajian of Fast Track Realtors, did not return calls for comment.
Zillow.com, another real estate site, said the house sold for $481,000 in 2008.
Trulia.com, yet another site, said the 1,824-square-foot house was built in 1950 and sits on 6,382-square-foot lot, or about an eighth of an acre. It has one and half baths, and Donahue said it needs work.
Of course, comparable homes in the 07043 zip code may not have the same cachet, at least not among potential buyers looking for something typical of post-Cold War suburban espionage.
Carol Tangorra, a realtor with Sotheby’s who has 20 years of experience in the Montclair, said the history of the spy house might be of interest to some buyers, but she doubted it would influence the selling price.
“I think it will be indifferent,” Tangorra said, adding that standard market are much more likely to shape the deal. “We’re in a very strong, appreciating market now. I think this house will sell well.”
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