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Vera Coking

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Vera Coking

Vera Coking is a retired homeowner in Atlantic City, New Jersey whose home was the focus of a prominent eminent domain case involving Donald Trump.

In 1993, when Donald Trump sought to expand his property holdings around his Atlantic City casino and hotel (to build a parking lot designed for limousines), he bought several lots adjacent to his property.[1] Coking, who had lived in her house at that time for about 35 years, refused to sell. This was not the first time Coking had been asked to sell her property for development. When Coking refused to sell to Trump, the city of Atlantic City condemned her house, using the power of eminent domain. Her designated compensation was to be $251,000,[2] about one quarter of what it had been valued ten years earlier.

With the assistance of the Institute for Justice, Coking fought the local authorities, and eventually prevailed.[3] Superior Court Judge Richard Williams ruled that, because there were "no limits" on what Trump could do with the property, the plan to take Coking's property did not meet the test of law. But Williams' ruling did not reject the practice of using eminent domain to take private property from one individual and transferring it to another, which would eventually be upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States in Kelo v. City of New London.

Trump was not the only one to pursue Coking's property. In 1983, publisher Bob Guccione had offered Coking $1 million for her property, which she declined.[4]

In 2011, Vera Coking's boarding house was put on the market with an asking price of $5 million.[5] As of September 2013 the price was reduced to $995,000.00 [6]

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