Why I would not have supported Donald Trump for president


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There are times when we are told to “keep our powder dry.”  In this case I refer to exposing those who abuse eminent domain by taking private property when it is not for sale simply for personal gain. If Donald Trump threw his hat into the list of GOP challengers to president Obama, this true account of his attempt to trample our Fifth Amendment right to private property protection would have splashed across the wires.
While I include this example of his attempted abuse in my presentation binders, it still represents an example of the powerful attacking of the small guy who is not well connected.
No one is challenging government agencies from utilizing their eminent domain police powers when it pertains to building or expanding a road or adding a school or fire house. We do however object when victims receive a Resolution of Necessity so that investors like Trump Towers can expand their Atlantic City casino operations.
Becoming a member of the Institute for Justice’s Castle Coalition has broadened my exposure to hundreds of victims and victors, many of which I remain in contact with on a regular basis. One of the eminent domain cases I became aware of, in which the IJ represented a property owner, has been covered in the following You Tube link. Watch and listen as Donald Trump tries to justify taking the home of Vera Coking, a 90 year old widow, who simply wanted to keep her rooming house adjacent to the Trump Plaza Hotel. She owned that property, located at 127 S. Columbia in Atlantic City, for over 35 years, long before the casino was built.
Trivia. Prior to the Trump offer she rejected an offer by Penthouse Magazine’s Bob Guccione.
“Atlantic City NJ Condemnation
State Casino Reinvestment Development Authority
“Vera Coking, an elderly widow from Atlantic City, knows firsthand the power of unaccountable government agencies. The Institute of Justice successfully defended Vera against the condemnation of her home by a  state agency that sought to take her property  and transfer it–at a bargain basement price–to another private individual: Donald Trump. Trump convinced the state agency to sue its “eminent domain” power to take Vera’s home so he could construct a limousine parking lot for his customers–hardly a public purpose. And unfortunately, cases in which government agencies act not as protectors  of constitutionally guaranteed rights, but instead as agents for powerful private interests, have become all too common.
Thanks to IJ’s advocacy, Vera Coking won in court. The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority voted 10 to 0 last week not to appeal the July 20, 1998 N.J. Superior Court decision by Judge Richard Williams in which he rejected the “use of eminent domain to force Vera Coking, who owns a rooming house, and three other Atlantic City property holders to sell to Donald Trump, saying the seizure would benefit Mr. Trump and not the public at large.  that said the authority could not take Ms. Coking’s property and two nearby businesses by eminent domain because it did not have enough assurance from Mr. Trump the land would be used for the public good. The Trump organization agreed not to appeal the July 20 decision.”
Update. Vera Coking eventually sold her property to a casino company in 2007. While visiting this area a few years ago we observed the slum conditions of Atlantic City, that were to be revitalized as part of the 1976 vote to approve casino gambling, are still heavily blighted. This is an impoverished working class neighborhood. A member of my family just confirmed that there are still vacant lots, that were bulldozed when we visited, as well as some adjacent streets that are simply unsafe to walk down today. So much for broken redevelopment promises.
 
 Institute for Justice  www.IJ.org

 

 Castle Coalition   www.castlecoalition.org


About Larry Gilbert