THE REAL STORY….
Written by BRENDA ARIZONA STAR
Atlantic City was once a glorious vacation spot in the East, but at the time before Trump, it had become a disgusting and dangerously run-down SLUM with nothing worthy of saving. We were afraid to drive through the area.
In the 1970’s, my father-in-law was offered an opportunity to get in on some local projects in that area and his reaction was, “Why would I ever want to build in a slum?”
That’s the reality.
In 1961, Vera Coking and her husband bought the property at 127 South Columbia Place as a summertime retreat. The negotiations for her property began long before Trump bought the properties from Bob Guccione of Penthouse fame. In the early 1970’s, Guccione offered Coking $1 million for her property in order to build the Penthouse Hotel parking facility which would benefit other areas as Atlantic City was being revived. Back then, dollar for dollar, $1 million was worth a lot more than it is today.
Guccione ran out of money and sold the property to Donald J. Trump. Trump knew the potential in jobs and profit of rebuilding in this once great vacation spot and got other wealthy investors to invest and build. He was a cheerleader to turn it back into a #1 resort area. Ultimately, until the down-turn in the economy the area profited in taxes, thousands of jobs, and pride.
Once Trump took over, he bought the properties belonging to about a dozen people for a million dollars apiece for homes that were over-valued at even $250k each. According to Coking’s nephew, the top amount his aunt was offered was $2.9 MILLION.
Atlantic City knew this was ultimately for the improvement of the city – and attempted to buy back the property – for the highest amount offered via eminent domain. A bunch of libertarian politicians/lawyers took her case and they went after Trump. Atlantic City and Trump lost because they couldn’t prove a parking facility was going to be built there. But Donald didn’t tear down her house and make her homeless or take away her glorious home. He tried to buy it fair and square for his project and to help improve a horrible place. He was willing to more than compensate for it.
Libertarian lawyers and the press weren’t satisfied with the win and have continued to spread the incorrectly reported story.
Five years later, when Coking moved to California near her great nephew, the great nephew listed the house for $5 million. Some reports are that he listed it as high as $9 million, but that cannot be documented. The house ultimately sold for $590K.
Donald Trump helped bring big name boxing bouts to the city to attract customers to his casinos and the area. The boxer, Mike Tyson, had most of his fights in Atlantic City in the 1980’s, which helped Atlantic City achieve nationwide attention as a gambling resort. And for a short while – it surpassed LAS VEGAS in popularity – but Las Vegas started building up and improving and even though it didn’t have the ocean, it had more inviting weather.
Numerous high rise condominiums were built for use as permanent residences or second homes in Atlantic City, and by the end of the 1980’s, it was one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States – despite its shortcomings. Trump brought a huge amount of jobs to locals and those who chose to move to the area. Property values, including my husband’s parents’ home, went up, up, up. But the city continued to ignore the obvious problem and still does….thus the decline in popularity.
By Brenda Arizona Star