#DumpTrump: Trump Used Eminent Domain to Bully Widow

#DumpTrump: Trump Used Eminent Domain to Bully Widow

#DumpTrump: Trump Used Eminent Domain to Bully Widow

If Donald Trump treated your mother the way he once treated another woman, would you consider him to be of fit enough character to become President?

I’m not talking about Megyn Kelly. I’m referring to an elderly woman whom Trump tried to have thrown out of her Atlantic City home by abusing eminent domain.

Vera Coking and her husband bought a 29-room boarding house in 1961 in Atlantic City, since she loved the beach and the boardwalks of that town. As the city expanded and casinos opened, Penthouse publishing mogul Bob Guccione attempted to purchase the property in 1983 for $1 million to construct a casino. No dice, said Coking. Guccione simply built a steel-and-concrete structure around — and even over — her home, damaging it in the process. When his project failed, the land and structure were purchased by Donald Trump, who also removed the skeletal buildings.

Vera Coking’s home between Guccione’s steel structures.

Then in May, 1994, Coking received a letter from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) stating that her property had been appraised at $251,250 — one-quarter of Guccione’s earlier offer. The letter also stated, in capital letters: “You may be required to move within 90 days after you receive this notice. If you remain in possession of the property after that time, CRDA may be able to have you and your belongings removed by the sheriff.” In July, the CRDA ordered that condemnation proceedings in New Jersey begin.

Who instigated this? Why, none other than Donald Trump. He was determined to demolish Coking’s home to expand his Trump Plaza and build a parking lot for its limousines. But rather than negotiate privately for the property, Trump used the government as a bullying tactic to get his way.

Vera Coking
Coking home dwarfed by Trump casino.

The Institute for Justice, who defended Coking, described the tactics:

Unlike most developers, Donald Trump doesn’t have to negotiate with a private owner when he wants to buy a piece of property because a governmental agency-the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority or CRDA-will get it for him at a fraction of the market value, even if the current owner refuses to sell. Here is how the process works.
After a developer identifies the parcels of land he wants to acquire and a city planning board approves a casino project, CRDA attempts to confiscate these properties using a process called “eminent domain,” which allows the government to condemn properties “for public use.” Increasingly, though, CRDA and other government entities exercise the power of eminent domain to take property from one private person and give it to another. At the same time, governments give less and less consideration to the necessity of taking property and also ignore the personal loss to the individuals being evicted. Most courts have declined to put limits on the exercise of eminent domain. For a local government and state agencies, all the benefits weigh in favor of using eminent domain.

Trump attempted to defend his actions in this video featuring John Stossel.

However, in this case, the widow Coking prevailed. In 1998 a Supreme Court decision blocked state attempts to condemn the property.

Vera won
A jubilant Vera Coking celebrates her victory over Trump.

In 2010, the elderly Vera Coking moved to California to be near family. In 2014 she sold the old property at auction for $530,000.

And Trump Plaza? It failed, and is now closed, along with other failed Atlantic City casinos in the city’s depressed real estate market.

Thus ends a cautionary tale to those who support Donald Trump for President. This is a man who has wielded his money and influence to bully those he considers beneath him. He is no conservative or respecter of personal property. As Michelle Malkin wrote: “Championing liberty begins at the local level. There is nothing more fundamental than the principle that a man’s home is his castle. Donald Trump’s career-long willingness to trample this right tells you everything you need to know about his bogus tea party sideshow.”

Written by

Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!

  • Kauf Buch says:

    Maybe you’d get more visits if you PROMOTED the candidate/s you like …
    … rather than trashing and trolling the one/s you don’t.

    Alternatively, you could consider advertising at/linking to DKos or HuffPo.

    Best of luck!

    • Kim Quade says:

      Actually, we doing quite well, thank you. And, if you read some of our recent posts, you’d find we’ve done several extolling the brilliance of Carly Fiorina and Ted Cruz.
      Perhaps if you’d remove your Trump blinders you would see that from all our other posts we are not Kos or HuffPo material either.
      Cheers! And thanks for reading.

  • Rick Caird says:

    In a word, Kelo. If you don’t like what Trump tried, talk to the Supreme Court and the Congress.

    • Kim Quade says:

      Right. Because SCOTUS is an above-reproach defender of constitutional rights, like the liberals who decided against the homeowners: Ginsburg, Stevens, Souter, Breyer, and of course, Kennedy.

  • Brian Brandt says:

    One idea I heard recently is to make the agency taking the property pay market plus 25% – 50%.

    Not a perfect solution, but one that (1) makes the up-front cost more prohibitive to the agency, and (2) gives more reasonable compensation to the property owner. After all, the property is more valuable to the owner than its market value. Otherwise, he would have already sold.

    • Kim Quade says:

      That sounds like a reasonable work-around, and may cause developers who want to throw people off their property for private development to reconsider.
      I’m not sure that would’ve have stopped an über-rich developer like Trump, who could easily afford the extra surcharge.
      My concern is the support given to a candidate who has used government to try bully people off their property. And yet we conservatives want smaller and less intrusive government. SMH.
      Thank you for reading.

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