ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — A former boarding house at the center of a David and Goliath battle between an elderly woman and Donald Trump is going up for auction.
In the 1990s, Trump had wanted to tear down Vera Coking's building and convert the land into a parking lot for his Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino. Coking fought the state Casino Reinvestment Development Authority from condemning the property through eminent domain. The state Supreme Court sided with her in 1998, ruling the redevelopment agency could not seize the lot.
Much has changed since. Coking, a widow who is now 91, has moved to California. Atlantic city's real estate market is sagging, as is its casino business. Trump Plaza may close in September.
The now-vacant 29-room boarding house has been listed for $995,000 since September. The starting bid for the July 31 auction is $199,000.
"The fact that she trumped Trump — that was the story," real estate agent Nate Chait told The Press of Atlantic City (http://bit.ly/1qY9Lwn ).
"I give her credit for standing up for what she believed in," he said. "She didn't want to leave her home, and money wasn't going to buy her out. Whatever people think about that, it's admirable she held her ground and prevailed."