Categorized | Editorial

EDITORIAL: Sentimental Reasons? We Think Not!

house on sale over white backgound. computer generated image

I didn’t watch the Republican Debate this past Saturday 2/6/16. On some of the Sunday Morning 2/7/16 newscast, of course they played some of the heated lively exchange between some of the candidates. The exchange between Donald Trump and Jeb Bush caught my attention because it had to do with seizing private property through eminent domain. As we all know, when Donald Trump was heavily invested in his casinos in A.C. he purchased privately owned property that he needed for parking facilities.

An A.C. Resident, Vera Coking and her husband had bought a 29 room boarding house in 1961 for $20,000. In 1978, she was offered $1 million for that property by magazine owner Bob Guccione who needed her property to build a casino/hotel. She said, “No deal!”

Eventually Guccione ran out of money and could not complete  his project.

Fast Foward 1993: This is when Donald Trump entered the scene.

Trump wanted to build his own casino/hotel at the same spot where Guccione wanted to build. He was able to make a deal with a restaurant that received $2.1 million and the another property which was a pawn shop that received $1.6 million. The third property that Trump wanted which was the boarding house owned by Coking.

Trump offered her $2 million but she gave him the same response that she said to Guccione, “No deal!”

When Coking refused to sell her house to Trump, he turned to the City Officials to convince them  that Coking’s house was an eyesore. The City wanted to compensate her $251,000. She fought the City in court. The Court cited a case that was brought before the Supreme Court (Kelo vs. City of New London). Coking won her case.

Coking remained in that boarding house until she retired and moved to California in 2010 to be near her grandson.

The myth is that Trump actually took the property from her underneath her nose. That was not true. I happened to be listening to the radio this morning (Sunday 2/7/16) and the host of the show’s name is Frank Marano. He is a very young and astute authority on politics and also loves Atlantic City. It’s because of him giving out the address of that infamous boarding house in Atlantic City that I was able to Google all this information.

Donald Trump had offered Miss Coking $2 million for her property plus housing for the rest of her life on one of his properties. As anybody knows, Trump is not a slumlord. In one word his properties are GORGEOUS!

This was not “Let’s Make a Deal” where you have to choose what’s behind curtains “1, 2 & 3” and hope that you don’t choose the curtain that had a billy goat with a $10 prize taped to his collar.

Trump made Coking a sweet deal, but she wanted more — $5 million. It seemed in the beginning she was holding onto the property because of sentimental reasons. It was the summer home that she and her husband purchased and she just couldn’t bear to give it up. Wrong! She just wanted more money, but it backfired on her.

Coking’s grandson tried to sell the house for $5 million in 2011. No buyers were interested. It ended up on the auction block and sold for $530,000 on July 31, 2014 and was soon demolished.

Quick synopsis: 1961 bought a boarding house for $20,000; 1978 offered $1 million – turned that down. 1993 – offered $2 million + lifetime residency in one of Trump’s properties – turned that down.

We’re not Vera and we don’t know what her circumstances were back then. In the 1990’s Atlantic City had a lot of  empty property and some properties that were in need of renovation that included boarding houses. Some of them are still standing today. Some were in parts of the City that casinos were not interested in. She was offered a sweet deal but chose the curtain with the billy goat and the $10 bill around its neck.

The bottom line is that it wasn’t sentimental reasons that she was staying in that house. She wanted $5 million.

The moral of the story is: take opportunity when it comes knocking. It may never come knocking ever again. C.M. & K.M. Ref: Wiki & Philly.com

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