Skip to comments.Trumpís Eminent-Domain Empire
Posted on 04/23/2011 7:05:23 AM PDT by Servant of the Cross
Dont be fooled by the Donald. Take it from one who knows: Im a South Jersey gal who was raised on the outskirts of Atlantic City in the looming shadow of Trumps towers. All through my childhood, casino developers and government bureaucrats joined hands, raised taxes, and made dazzling promises of urban renewal. Then we wised up to the eminent-domain thievery championed by our hometown faux free-marketeers.
America, its time you wised up to Donald Trumps property-redistribution racket, too.
Trump has been wooing conservative activists for months and flirting with a GOP presidential run first at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington and most recently at a tea-party event in South Florida. He touts his business experience, high aptitude, and bragadocious deal-making abilities. But hes no more a standard bearer of conservative values, limited government, and constitutional principles than the cast of Jersey Shore.
Too many mega-developers like Trump have achieved success by using and abusing the governments ability to commandeer private property for purported public use. Invoking the Fifth Amendment takings clause, real-estate moguls, parking-garage builders, mall developers, and sports-palace architects have colluded with elected officials to pull off legalized theft in the name of reducing blight. Under eminent domain, the definition of public purpose has been stretched like Silly Putty to cover everything from roads and bridges to high-end retail stores, baseball stadiums, and casinos.
While casting himself as Americas new constitutional savior, Trump has shown reckless disregard for fundamental private-property rights. In the 1990s, he waged a notorious war on elderly homeowner Vera Coking, who owned a little home in Atlantic City that stood in the way of Trumps manifest land development. The real-estate mogul was determined to expand his Trump Plaza and build a limousine parking lot Cokings private property be damned. The nonprofit Institute for Justice, which successfully saved Cokings home, explained the confiscatory scheme:
Unlike most developers, Donald Trump doesnt have to negotiate with a private owner when he wants to buy a piece of property, because a governmental agency the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority or CRDA will get it for him at a fraction of the market value, even if the current owner refuses to sell. Here is how the process works.
After a developer identifies the parcels of land he wants to acquire and a city planning board approves a casino project, CRDA attempts to confiscate these properties using a process called eminent domain, which allows the government to condemn properties for public use. Increasingly, though, CRDA and other government entities exercise the power of eminent domain to take property from one private person and give it to another. At the same time, governments give less and less consideration to the necessity of taking property and also ignore the personal loss to the individuals being evicted.
Trump has attempted to use the same tactics in Connecticut and has championed the reviled Kelo v. City of New London Supreme Court ruling upholding expansive use of eminent domain. He told Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto that he agreed with the ruling 100 percent and defended the chilling power of government to kick people out of their homes and businesses based on arbitrary determinations:
The fact is, if you have a person living in an area thats not even necessarily a good area, and government, whether its local or whatever, government wants to build a tremendous economic development, where a lot of people are going to be put to work and make [an] area thats not good into a good area, and move the person thats living there into a better place now, I know it might not be their choice but move the person to a better place and yet create thousands upon thousands of jobs and beautification and lots of other things, I think it happens to be good.
Like most statist promises of bountiful job creation, government-engineered redevelopment math rarely adds up. Trumps corporations have backed casino-industry bailouts and wealth-redistributing tax-increment financing schemes the very kind of taxpayer-subsidized interventions weve seen on a grand scale under the Obama administration.
Championing liberty begins at the local level. There is nothing more fundamental than the principle that a mans home is his castle. Donald Trumps career-long willingness to trample this right tells you everything you need to know about his bogus tea-party sideshow.
I’m glad Trump elevated the Obama birth issue, but that’s IT. He is NOT a conservative, at all, ever.
born June 14, 1946 in Queens, New York, NY (Meets the Jus Soli Requirement)
Frederick Christ Trump, born October 11, 1905 in Queens, NY, died June 1999 in Queens, NY
Mary Ann MacLeod, born May 10, 1912 in SCOTLAND, died August 7, 2000 in Queens, NY. Arrived in US October 5, 1935. Naturalized as a US Citizen March 10, 1942.
Both parents were US Citizens at the time of his birth (Meets the Jus Sanguinis Requirement)
Donald Trump is a NATURAL BORN CITIZEN unlike Comrade Barry Soetoro aka Barack Hussein Obama.
He’ll never get my vote.
National Review = Romney Campaign = RINO Rag
He has peaked at 16 %; there’s nowhere to go but down. Better to let him continue attacks on Obama.
Michelle Malkin a RINO? Give up if you and two or three others that agree with you are going to be a political movement.
We can do better than either Trump OR Mitt RINO.
Michelle Malkin: All through my childhood, casino developers and government bureaucrats joined hands, raised taxes, and made dazzling promises of urban renewal. Then we wised up to the eminent-domain thievery championed by our hometown faux free-marketeers.
You misread what I wrote, Michelle was never mentioned. I’ll post it again so you can reread it. I took a swipe at the National Review, Romney and RINO’s.
National Review = Romney Campaign = RINO Rag
This should be required reading for all who trumpet the Trumpster.
The bright side is that after a rapist and a marxist, a ruthless property developer would be a step up.
I’ll concur that NRO has some RINOish leanings among some of their writers. But would you throw Mark Steyn in that group?
My point is, Trump has used the jack boot of government to help his crony capitalist ends just like GE and GM and others do. Truth is truth, and it doesn’t matter whether NRO is among the many outlets that publicize it or not.
And what’s hilarious is that folks who are pro-Trump go around grousing about “RINO’s.” Trump’s only disqualification for Prez is that he is King Daddy RINO of all RINO’s.
I firmly believe that the shorter a period of time folks have been involved in politics, the more they misuse the word RINO.
Vera Coking offered to SELL her little home in what was then a crime ridden slum neighborhood for $1 million to the developer ~ BOB GUCCIONE.
I'm sure Michelle knows who he is.
It was Bob who had the idea for turning Vera's plot into a parking area for limousines.
Anyway, Vera beat Bob. Complained constantly about the construction noise (trying to keep Bob from exercising his own property rights, and his right to make money).
Finally he threw in the towel and abandoned the property leaving empty steel girders hanging in the air over Vera's "million dollar lot" ~
The Redevelopment Authority sought another developer to restart the job. They found Trump ~ and he agreed but with some changes. His organization said they needed a bigger site, more rooms, etc. and he doubled what was planned. That plan did not need Vera's lot. Anyway, Trump built his casino, hundreds of people got jobs, and life has moved on. Oh, yeah, Trump took down the steel that Bob had put up ~ it just didn't work.
Trump offered Vera $250,000 for her otherwise worthless lot. She refused. I guess she still thinks that after all the development that's taken place around her that her "rents by the hour" 3 story hovel of a hotel is still worth a million bucks.
Did she say that was her home? Well, she's there, but there those people who come and go.
I dare the editors at National Review Online to stay at Vera's overnight, and take Michelle with you. Jus do it. Do it. Take your I-pads and do it!
The Redevelopment Authority went to court to go ahead and take Vera's lot ~ way back when Bob Guccione was still trying to redevelop this slum.
That's the case Vera won ~ that the Authority didn't have the power of Eminent Domain. The City does though, and considering the excess redevelopment costs Vera laid on the taxpayers of Atlantic City, they might do that anyway ~ and just strip her bare and nekkid (Eeeeekk!)
So, will you...
a) vote for OBozo or
b) stay home and watch OBozo win by the absence of GOP votes?
I remember reading his book “The art of the deal” and fuming. He got his facts wrong. He blamed the Tax Reform Act of 1991 and its changes in real estate depreciation for his problems. The problem is that that act was passed in 1986.
Then he went on to trash those bankers who wouldn’t change the deal to his benefit when he couldn’t pay them what he owed. Imagine that. Bankers looking out for their depositors, stockholders, and the government’s money. Horrors.
He overextended himself, cheated on his wife, and then expected the banks to bail him out. The problem is that too many of them did, because they were too willing to get in on his schemes in the first place and had to cover their (_!_)’s.
Trump isn’t as good as RINO Huck on social issues and isn’t as good a businessman as RINO Romney. If you want the worst of both worlds (Huck’s big brother populism and Mitt’s squishy social positions), then the Donald is your man.
OK, but Michelle Malkin wrote the article;I haven’t been a big fan of NR for quite a while, but they were of historic importance in the cold war era.
Yes We Can!
However, I'm disappointed that she joins other RINO’s in obfuscating the issue, which is obama’s eligibility, or lack thereof.
So what if Mr. Trump's not our man or is grandstanding or feeding his ego? He's demonstrating the guts to confront a real issue that virtually everyone, including you, Ms. Malkin, has sidestepped or been downright silent on.
I understand that it might embarrass you and others if we ever find out that your silence on the matter contributed Obama’s election and subsequent downfall of America over the past two years.
But if you don't mind, we'd like to get to the bottom of just what is going on here and see to it that it never happens again.
Finally, tea party folks are independent thinkers, and are quite capable of making up their own mind of who is or is not deserving of their support. Please don't treat them otherwise.
Whatever you say.
Trumpsuckers have Zero credibility.
Trump talks a good game but that’s all it is to him, a game.
I like the way he attacks Obama, but he has given lots of money to the Dems and trashed Republicans. That’s not my kind of candidate. My kind of candidate is Sarah Palin.
While I support Palin, my point is that Romney is worse than Trump. Romney has used the jack boot of government to implement a health care scheme where millions of people became a victim. Trump’s actions affected how many again? And Romney is a willing socialist who is completely blind to the damage he has caused. Which is worse? The health care scheme is far worse. At least Trump will admit that his actions affected various individuals ( a few, how many?) and he freely discusses the actions he took rationally with interviewers. Romney never enters the rational discussion with anyone.
Mark Steyn and Mark Levin are contributors to NRO, who are not to be grouped with the others.
I do not misuse the word RINO as you have implied. Rush and Levin have both noted how the National Review has gone downhill since the days of William Buckley. The content in the National Review at best provides a schizophrenic representation of conservativism.
This alone shows Trump to be an opportunist, not a principled conservative.
Only if you allow it to be so. That's a lazy broad brush that you are painting with. If articles by Malkin, McCarthy, Steyn, Levin, Hanson, Nordlinger .... are good conservative thought, you don't want them posted and discussed on FR merely because they are on NR? Got it.
For some, apparently so. This is like Schwartzenegger v 2.0. Take someone with a lot of celebrity recognition and a reputation as a tough guy (even if in Arnold’s case it was a fantasy persona), and add in some tough talk (as in “don’t be economic girly men”) and it’s going to pull a certain segment of voters. We can see how that turned out for California.
It’s true that there’s a hunger for a candidate who’ll take an aggressive verbal fight straight into the heart of the MSM and Obama. If we had someone with the tough guy persona of, say, Chris Christie, and the proven conservative principles of, say, Michele Bachmann, we’d have a winner. Lacking that, which we are, The Donald’s going to gather up a head of steam.
So sick of that nonsense. If conservative Republicans don’t put up the right candidate than yes we deserve the crap that we have now for four more years. Grow up.
I will agree that NRO has gone downhill and that little boy Richie L has nowhere near the real world experience to run it. Folks in the know tell me that appointment was borne of WFBs heavy dope smoking in his waning years. Who knows?
I’ll disagree that Mitt is worse than Trump from a conservative point of view, but that’s a fair debate and they both raise red flags for me. I’m sure that will be part of the debate in the coming months.
My only point was that the eminent domain issue and Trump is a matter of history, and not opinion. Sure NRO may have ulterior motives, but that should not disqualify the info if it is correct. And here it is. BTW I support Cain but would vote for Palin (like you) or Trump or Mitt over a socialist idiot.
If you lived in the middle of a slum and found you couldn't borrow to expand your landscape business you'd agree too.
Kelo is one of those cases that pit pro-business folks against small residential property owners. All the Court ruled was that in Connecticut the state's own laws allowed for the rationale being used to use eminent domain.
Most states have Constitutions that don't allow for that rationale. Kelo occurred AFTER the dispute between the ACRDA and Vera began. Interestingly enough the ACRDA/Vera dispute doesn't involve pitting a business against a residential property owner ~ Vera ran a business out of her small hotel ~ so this is business on business shenanigans. She asked too high a price.
Then there's Vera's behavior with respect to Bob Guccione's attempt to build his casino. He had the zoning. He had the property. He had the capital resources lined up. He was building and Vera began a campaign of harrassment and intimidation to force a halt to the construction. She succeeded.
When I got to that part in my research on this case I finally figured out that Bob Guccione didn't have as good a connection to the Mob as I'd always thought he had, or if he had a connection it was at too low a level. Vera had better connections or she wouldn't have been able to get platoons of Atlantic City "inspectors" sent out to the casino site.
It's all about the price. It's about the mob. It's about how they use the government.
Trump has far better connections than the small time bunco artists in Atlantic City it would appear so he was able to build around the problem. Vera didn't manage to get his construction work halted.
excellent post - nice to see some facts around here
The facts are that Vera is not a sympathetic character, and she was into this as a business owner who wanted an upfront chunk of the action (as in $1,000,000 payment for her slum property).
Vera proved her stones by getting Bob Guccione out of there. That deal sent chills up and down my spine ~ I knew then she wasn't exactly who she was portrayed as.
Trump used guile and wit to negate Vera's big win over the casino.
The eminent domain part of the deal is a sideshow of only minor interest. Doesn't matter what Trump thinks about Kelo ~ Fur Shur his own lawyers found out early on that the ACRDA didn't have legislative authorization for use of eminent domain. You can probably find that out in some of the earliest NYT stories about the ACRDA. This whole thing was supposed to be about the AC business community pushing back against the forces of evil and darkness and bringing jobs and the 21st century to Atlantic City.
Sometimes the forces of evil and darkness win ~ but for a short time only. Am I surprised that Michelle Malkin got caught with her knickers down on this one? No, not really. She, herself, in a book, has actually stated that she supported rounding up Japanese-American women, children and citizens in WWII ~
It does now that he is seeking the GOP nomination. It matters big-time.
“Are we so starved for a strong courageous communicator who is happy to fight 0bama that we’ll jump on the first train that comes by, even if it is a carnival sideshow?”
I WISH someone like Paul Ryan, Jim DeMint or Duncan Hunter could garner the nomination, but with the media attacks on people of that character, it doesn’t look likely. Trump is a flawed man, but he’d be better than 0bama.
I thought not.
I'd be more interested in what Trump thinks of blue laser combs ~
Go get stuffed. I am well aware of Kelo.
And I would recommend you read O'Connor's dissent and then still try to downplay it, Trumpette.
Most Conservatives don't realize that about the Democrats and imagine that some of them may not be criminals ~ but they're wrong.
I'm not supporting Trump, but I'm not supporting "the Huck" either, or Palin or Bachman. On the other hand I think all these folks are on the right track, and stand head and shoulders over Obama or any of that same ilk.
I cannot support Mit because ~~~~~~ he's probably not a Natural Born Citizen.
I take it that you think it appropriate for government to swipe the SPECULATIVE VALUE of the property? If she was smart enough to buy slum land as an investment and hold it as a business, SHE DESERVES THE PROFIT.
Statists like you have destroyed a potential market in real estate options which would otherwise bundle parcels for large scale use, one that would make entry level housing far cheaper.
Actually BOB GUCCIONE offered MS. Coking 1 million for the property. She turned him down. This is the opposite of what you said, that she offered to sell for 1 million.
Trump himself was very happy that Ms. Coking didn’t sell to Guccione as it allowed him to purchase the casino property for a much lower price.
When AC condemned the property and set it’s value at 251,000.00 Ms. Coking sued and won. Afterwards she offered to sell to Trump for 1.5 million. He refused.
Ms. Coking is a sympathetic character in that she was a small business owner who took on two very rich developers and won. A win for believers in private property everywhere.
The more one learns about The Donald, the more one should become skeptical of him.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. But when did he say that? Twenty, thirty years ago? Surely he doesn't believe that now. He's a changed man. He's one of us.
Was it your expectation that it was the job of the USSC to rewrite ancient state laws to bring them up current with the latest progressive thought on the matter?
BTW, I don't agree that the gub'mnt should be able to take one man's property to give to another man ~ Hamurrabi thought that worth the death penalty, and the Bible has passed along the same idea ~ King Josia (I believe) took a guy's vinyard for his own personal use.
However, we are dealing with a state that's one of the original colonies. The militia there did not put their lives on the line to use the government to steal property, but that's what's happened. The only question is DID THE PEOPLE OF CT FIX THE PROBLEM?
One thing the Donald likes more than girls is money ~ count on it!
Coveting Thy Neighbor’s Goods
The prime location of Vera Coking’s three-story house has attracted unwelcome interest before. In 1983, Bob Guccione tried to purchase the property for $1 million to construct a casino. Vera didn’t sell, so Guccione built a steel and concrete structure all around (even over) her home. When Guccione’s project failed, the land and its structural skeleton was purchased by Trump and razed. In the process of removing the frame, demolition crews started a fire on her rooftop, broke windows, removed her fire escape, and nearly destroyed the entire third story of her home by dropping concrete blocks through the roof. Now dwarfed by the giant 22-story Trump Plaza, Vera’s little home certainly stands in disrepair, but through no fault of her own. (Coking has since filed a lawsuit against the demolition company seeking compensation so she can repair the damage.)
On May 6, 1994, Vera Coking received a letter from CRDA stating that her property had been “appraised” at only $251,250 (nearly $750,000 less than her earlier offer). CRDA offered her that amount to acquire the property and notified her that she would have 30 days to accept or CRDA would institute suit in the Superior Court “to acquire your property through CRDA’s power of eminent domain.” In a May 24, 1994, letter, CRDA Executive Director Nicholas Amato stated in capital letters, “You may be required to move within 90 days after you receive this notice. If you remain in possession of the property after that time, CRDA may be able to have you and your belongings removed by the sheriff.” On July 28, 1994, Susan Ney, Director of Housing Development for CRDA “instructed CRDA’s counsel to commence condemnation proceedings in the Superior Court of New Jersey.”
Vera Coking opposed the condemnation in court, and while the case was pending, Trump continued with construction. The Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino was completed; grass was put down on one side of Vera’s property and parking lots operate on the other sides. The only part of the project left is razing Vera’s house and two other buildings on the block. The final project included a new casino (even though Trump’s original plan did not.) In March 1995, the Atlantic County Superior Court ruled that CRDA could not fund projects with new casino space and, because CRDA couldn’t fund the project, it also couldn’t condemn Coking’s and her neighbors’ properties. On November 13, 1996, however, the Appellate Division reversed this decision and stated that the condemnation should go forward.
Vera Coking and her neighbors, who have been similarly mistreated, cannot believe the government can throw them out of their homes and businesses in order to give the property to Trump. Vera Coking explains, “This is my home. This is my castle.”
Vincent Sabatini lives on the same block as Vera. He and his wife own and operate Sabatini’s Italian Restaurant, a family business that put four kids through school. When asked about CRDA’s offer of $700,000 for their property-a figure that wouldn’t even cover the cost of legal fees and starting up a new restaurant-he exclaimed, “I’ve been here for 32 years, and they want to give it to Trump. I don’t want their money. If they left me alone, I’d be happy and sell a few spaghettis.”
Peter Banin and his brother own the third building on Vera’s block. A few months after they paid $500,000 to purchase the building for a gold shop, CRDA offered them $174,000 and told them to take the money and leave the property. A Russian immigrant, Banin says, “I knew they could do this in Russia, but not here. I would understand if they needed it for an airport runway, but for a casino?”
I once stayed in a house not far from this hotel. It was ON THE BEACH, on wooden piers, and it swayed in the wind. Stayed there a couple of days with friends and then we decided we weren't going to drown.
The articles I found report that she ASKED $1,000,000. If you can find a reference to her turning down $1,000,000 provide it. Trump offered her $250,000 which she turned down.