Homeowner who triumphed over Trump is moving on

Samantha Henry, Associated Press
Home owned by Trump holdout auctioned for $530,000

Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino towers over Vera Coking's three story rooming house Wednesday, July 23, 2014, in Atlantic City, N.J. The decrepit boarding home owned by the Atlantic City woman who has been turning down multi-million dollar offers for the building in the shadow of Trump Plaza since the 80’s is now up for auction. With a reserve price of only $199,000, the fate of the house has gone down along with the city’s casino industry. On July 31, the property, at 127 South Columbia Place, will go up for auction. As recently as eight years ago, Donald Trump was willing to pay at least 10 times that amount so he could expand Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

She once called Donald Trump "a maggot, a cockroach and a crumb." This week, he remembered her as "an impossible person."

The woman who became a folk hero for resisting decades-long efforts by big-name developers like Trump to displace her Atlantic City boardinghouse is now 91 and, apparently, the victor.

Vera Coking has moved to California to be near her family. And the 29-room property she and her husband bought for $20,000 in 1961 and fought to hold onto is on the auction block Thursday for a $199,000 starting bid. The now-vacant property had been listed for $995,000 since September.

The long-running saga has paralleled the rise and fall of Atlantic City's real estate fortunes, which in recent months imploded. The decision to auction the property was made by Coking's family after they could not find a buyer in recent years, said Oren Klein of AuctionAdvisors, which is handling the sale.

The road to the auction block has been circuitous. Coking first took on Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione in the 1970s, who was reportedly so angered by her refusal to sell that he started building his casino above and around her property.

Trump, who bought Guccione's unfinished project, also tried to buy Coking's building to tear it down and use the land for his Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino. Coking battled with Trump and prevailed in a 1998 state Supreme Court case that blocked attempts by the state to use eminent domain to condemn the property.

Coking's one-woman battle was closely followed in the press and by the people of Atlantic City, where she and her property, sitting defiantly in the shadow of Trump's casino, have been a familiar sight for decades.

The modest, three-story clapboard structure is a block from the famous Atlantic City boardwalk and adjacent to the casinos, that like Trump's, have sought to expand their parking facilities or outdoor footprint.

AuctionAdvisors has been stressing the boardinghouse's location just steps from a planned Bass Pro shop and adjacent to an outlet mall that the city advertises as a main attraction. Klein and his associates say that they are confident that Atlantic City will bounce back and that the Coking property is a great buy in one of the last affordable beachfront towns in New Jersey.

Since then, Atlantic City's real estate market and casino businesses have faltered. Trump Plaza may close in September, although Trump himself is largely divested.

The portrait of Coking as a principled holdout is wrong, Trump said, asserting that she had been willing to sell but that they could never agree on a price.

"She could have lived happily ever after in Palm Beach, Florida; instead, she was an impossible person to deal with," Trump told The Associated Press this week. In addition to millions of dollars, he said, he had offered Coking housing for the rest of her life in one of his properties.

The famously stubborn Trump laughed off a question as to whether he would bid on Coking's home — just to have the last word.

Coking's grandson, Ed Casey, previously told the Press of Atlantic City that it wasn't true his grandmother had once been offered millions. He said she wasn't opposed to selling but was proud to live in and fight for her longtime home.

Messages left at a California listing for Casey were not returned, and Klein said the family had told him they no longer wished to speak publicly about the matter. Information about Coking's health wasn't available.

But back in the day, Coking wasn't afraid to throw a zinger. At the height of their battle in 1998, the 70-year-old Coking said of Trump to the New York Daily News: "A maggot, a cockroach and a crumb, that's what he is."

"If Trump's thinking I'm gonna die tomorrow, he's having himself a pipe dream," she said then. "I'm gonna be here for a long, long time. I'll stay just to see he's not getting my house. We'll be going to his funeral, you can count on that."


Henry reported from Newark, New Jersey.

  • Business
    Real Money

    Market Has Already Decided Election's Outcome

    I'm growing so tired of the recent trading-range action that I was hoping a bit too much that the negative reaction to Apple (AAPL) earnings and the weak action in small-caps might trigger some downside momentum. What happened instead is that the indices bounced right back and are barely unchanged. (Apple is part of TheStreet's Action Alerts PLUS portfolio.)  Breadth is still dicey at 2,600 gainers to 3,900 decliners and the small-caps indices are hanging on by their fingertips to support, but the S&P 500 is showing just a minor loss. It still isn't a very good setup for buying, but the story of this market has been -- and still is -- a lack of momentum in either direction. One question we were

  • Internal emails show McDonald’s turnaround is in trouble
    Business Insider

    Internal emails show McDonald’s turnaround is in trouble

    McDonald's turnaround is facing a major roadblock. The email was summarizing a September meeting between McDonald's executives and franchise leaders. McDonald's did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment on the documents.

  • Apple 'leaks its own Macbook Pro laptop revamp'
    BBC News

    Apple 'leaks its own Macbook Pro laptop revamp'

    Apple appears to have leaked images of its next-generation laptop ahead of a press conference on Thursday. The photos support claims that the Macbook Pro will include a panel above its keyboard that replaces physical function keys with a thin display showing touch-sensitive text and graphics, and a fingerprint sensor. The images were discovered in an update to the MacOS operating system and first appeared on the MacRumors news site. Such "accidents" are not uncommon. In September, Apple tweeted and then deleted a video showing off the iPhone 7's new features ahead of its launch. Earlier in April, it referred to MacOS on its website two months before officially revealing it was rebranding the

  • Exclusive: WHO cancer agency asked experts to withhold weedkiller documents

    Exclusive: WHO cancer agency asked experts to withhold weedkiller documents

    By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - The World Health Organization's cancer agency - which is facing criticism over how it classifies carcinogens - advised academic experts on one of its review panels not to disclose documents they were asked to release under United States freedom of information laws. In a letter and an email seen by Reuters, officials from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) cautioned scientists who worked on a review in 2015 of the weedkiller glyphosate against releasing requested material. The review, published in March 2015, concluded glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic," putting IARC at odds with regulators around the world.

  • 8 Things You Should Never Keep in Your Wallet

    8 Things You Should Never Keep in Your Wallet

    That overstuffed wallet of yours can’t be comfortable to sit on. It’s probably even too clunky to lug around in a purse, too. And with every new bank slip that bulges from the seams, your personal information is getting less and less safe. With just your name and Social Security number, identity thieves can open new credit accounts and make costly purchases in your name. If they can get their hands on (and doctor) a government-issued photo ID of yours, they can do even more damage, such as opening new bank accounts. These days, con artists are even profiting from tax-return fraud and health-care fraud, all with stolen IDs. We talked with consumer-protection advocates to identify the eight things

  • Caterpillar digs deeper into the abyss
    The Street

    Caterpillar digs deeper into the abyss

    Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar ( CAT) took the wrecking ball to its 2016 results, bringing down sentiment about the health of the world economy in the process. Caterpillar reported Tuesday a third-quarter profit of $283 million on sales of $9.2 billion, down from a revised $559 million profit on $11 billion in sales in the same quarter a year prior. For the full year, Caterpillar said it now expects sales of $39 billion compared to previous guidance of between $40 billion and $40.5 billion. The results continue a bad run for Caterpillar, which has attempted to weather weakness in the commodity and energy markets that has led to more than three years of flat to down month-over-month sales by slashing 20% of its global workforce and restructuring its operations.

  • Everyone's Dream Boss, Joanna Gaines, Is Hiring
    Country Living

    Everyone's Dream Boss, Joanna Gaines, Is Hiring

    Looking for a career change that might involve farmhouse furniture, Christmas decorations, and plenty of bakery goodies? Magnolia Market, Joanna Gaines' furniture retailer and bakery located at the Silos in Waco, is hiring more staffers to join their teams for the holiday season, the brand announced on Instagram. If you have a knack for preparing tasty treats, for example, Magnolia Flour is looking for bakery sales associates and a baker.

  • Politics
    Bloomberg Video

    Donald Trump Calls Out ‘Mr. Tough Guy’ Joe Biden

    Oct. 25 -- At a rally in Tallahassee, Florida, Donald Trump responds to Vice President Biden’s remark that he’d like to take the GOP nominee “behind the gym.”

  • Business

    Oil Prices Plunge After API Reports Significant Build To U.S. Crude Stocks

    American crude oil supplies surged upwards by 4.8 million barrels this week, almost completely offsetting last week’s 5.2-million-barrel draw, according to the American Petroleum Institute (API) report released on Tuesday. This week’s inventory build will likely press further down on oil prices, which were already trading down on the market’s increasing uneasiness over the OPEC drama, including Iraq’s OPEC rebellion, Russia’s vague and vacillating comments as to whether they’ll join in a freeze or a cut, and Venezuela’s pleas to get non-OPEC members to cut in proportion to the bloc’s to-be-determined limits. The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) price settled to three-week lows once the report went public Tuesday afternoon.

  • 3 No-Brainer Stocks to Buy for Retirement

    3 No-Brainer Stocks to Buy for Retirement

    Retirement investing is not what it used to be. In the old days, one could just invest in the “safe” stocks to buy, in “blue chips,” in a nice ladder of bonds, and do just fine. Alas, the market has significantly changed. Much of this is due to the historically low interest rates we’ve had. The problem with the Federal Reserve’s attempt to goose the economy is that it killed bond yields, forcing retired investors further out onto the risk curve, making it difficult to find safe stocks to buy. That has pushed stock prices far higher than they should be, if one subscribes (as I do) to the Peter Lynch theory that a stock’s price should reflect its net income growth rate to be added to a list of

  • Tesla shares flying after posting second quarterly profit ever

    Tesla shares flying after posting second quarterly profit ever

    Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) shares soared Wednesday after the company posted its second profitable quarter ever and beat analyst expectations for the third quarter by a wide margin. In a conference call Wednesday night, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company currently believes the fourth quarter will be profitable excluding non-cash stock-based expenses, and added there is a "chance" Tesla will be profitable even taking those things into account. Tesla said it earned 71 cents a share on an adjusted basis in the third quarter on $2.3 billion in revenue.

  • Cashing in small pensions 'more popular'
    BBC News

    Cashing in small pensions 'more popular'

    A rising number of retirees are cashing in their pension pots but the amount they typically withdraw has fallen, figures show. Savers can now cash in their pension pot from the age of 55. When the access was permitted for the first time last year, people were taking out sums averaging close to £20,000. The latest tax authority figures show typical withdrawals have fallen to about £10,000. This is evidence of retirees using the pension reforms to cash in smaller pension pots or taking part of their savings in cash while leaving the rest invested in a scheme. Previous research has suggested that the most popular use of the cash is for home improvements. Pension changes People aged 55 and over can

  • News
    Bloomberg Video

    Trump Holds Narrow Lead in Florida: Bloomberg Poll

    Oct. 26 -- Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a two percentage point advantage over Democrat Hillary Clinton in the battleground state of Florida, according to the latest Bloomberg politics poll. Bloomberg's Marty Schenker reports on "Bloomberg Surveillance."

  • New Wells Fargo CEO to employees: 'We're sorry'
    Associated Press

    New Wells Fargo CEO to employees: 'We're sorry'

    Newly appointed Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan told employees Tuesday that he is "sorry for the pain" that the bank's employees have suffered as a result of the company's sales practices scandal. In the speech, Sloan acknowledged that the bank did not respond to the problems in its branches soon enough and that upper management dodged responsibility for the bad behavior and wrongly placed blame on branch employees. Wells Fargo is enveloped in the biggest scandal in its 164-year history, which earlier this month forced the abrupt retirement this month of its CEO, John Stumpf .

  • Anger still flares after judge OKs Volkswagen emissions deal
    Associated Press

    Anger still flares after judge OKs Volkswagen emissions deal

    A federal judge approved the largest auto-scandal settlement in U.S. history Tuesday, giving nearly a half-million Volkswagen owners and leaseholders the choice between selling their cars back or having them repaired so they don't cheat on emissions tests and spew excess pollution. U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer said the nearly $15 billion deal "adequately and fairly" compensates consumers and gets the polluting vehicles off the road as soon as possible. Under the agreement, owners can choose to have Volkswagen buy back their vehicle regardless of its condition for the full trade-in price on Sept. 18, 2015, when the scandal broke, or pay for repairs.

  • Best Vanguard Funds for Your Retirement Savings

    Best Vanguard Funds for Your Retirement Savings

    Vanguard is the biggest fund company in the land, with more than $3 trillion in assets. So chances are high that many retirement savers have access to Vanguard funds in their 401(k) plans. But size is no guarantee of good results. Thirty-four Vanguard funds appear on a list of the 105 most popular mutual funds in employer-sponsored retirement savings plans. No other fund company comes close. Not surprisingly, of the 34 most popular Vanguard funds in retirement plans, 15 are index funds. And nine more are target-date portfolios—those set-it-and-forget-it funds that shift over time to more conservative allocations as the fund nears its target year. The remaining 10 are actively managed. We didn’t

  • UA
    Fox Business

    Under Armour Investors Punish CEO Kevin Plank

    Under Armour (NYSE:UA) CEO Kevin Plank is starting to sound like a broken record and investors are losing patience. The stock is seeing its biggest single-day loss in eight years, amid heavy volume, even as Plank downplayed concerns about the company’s declining growth rate on Tuesday. This doesn’t mean the demand for the Under Armour brand has disappeared, but it certainly hasn’t reappeared dollar-for-dollar in our distribution,” a seemingly-frustrated Plank said during post-earnings conference call.

  • Target plays up value for the holiday season
    Associated Press

    Target plays up value for the holiday season

    From a Broadway-style marketing campaign to more exclusive toys, Target wants to lure shoppers during the final critical months of the year. Since becoming CEO two years ago, Brian Cornell has been trying to reinvigorate Target's cheap-chic status and focusing on categories like fashion, home furnishings and wellness items. Despite the contentious presidential race, Cornell believes shoppers are more upbeat about their financial situation, given low unemployment, less-expensive foods and cheaper gas.

  • BA
    Associated Press

    Boeing has a banner 3Q and sees more of the same ahead

    Boeing's third-quarter profit rose 34 percent on lower taxes, and the company raised its forecast for 2016 earnings, revenue and airplane deliveries. The results beat Wall Street expectations, and Boeing shares rose in midday trading on Wednesday. CEO Dennis Muilenburg called the aircraft market "generally positive" with a "moderate" pace of sales orders.

  • Business

    This calculator shows your tax bill if Clinton or Trump plans became reality

    So, what would your tax bill be like under a President Hillary or a Donald-in-Chief? The Tax Foundation has created a calculator based on the two candidates’ plans. See full story. Stock market recovers as crude oil rebounds, but Apple still a drag A continued drop by oil futures and another round of big-name earnings results are also keeping some investors on the sidelines. See full story. Apple forecast disappoints, but shares are still attractive, analysts say Apple Inc. shares have taken a beating after a disappointing outlook for the important holiday season, but analysts are broadly upbeat on the stock, calling the selloff a buying opportunity. See full story. Donald Trump says he would

  • 5 Simple Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Retirement

    5 Simple Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Retirement

    You can make a lot of mistakes in your youth … and assuming none of them get you killed or put in prison, you can generally recover from them. Time is on your side. But the closer you get to retirement, the less room for error you have. You can make a lot of mistakes in your youth … and assuming none of them get you killed or put in prison, you can generally recover from them. Time is on your side. But the closer you get to retirement, the less room for error you have. As your nest egg gets larger, investing mistakes cost you a lot more. Think about it. If you lose 30% on a $10,000 portfolio, you’re out $3,000. That might be a single after-tax paycheck when you’re young. But imagine losing 30%

  • News
    ABC News

    Ask Brianna: How Can I Get Help Paying for Graduate School?

    "Ask Brianna" is a Q&A column from NerdWallet for 20-somethings or anyone else starting out. I'm here to help you manage your money, find a job and pay off student loans — all the real-world stuff no one taught us how to do in college. Send your questions about postgrad life to askbrianna@nerdwallet.com. Q: I want to get an advanced degree, but I'm not sure how to pay for it. How can I get financial aid as a graduate student? A: When I was unhappy at my job in my mid-20s, I daydreamed about going back to school the way some people long for a vacation to Costa Rica. I wanted to spar intellectually with professors instead of eating sad, solo lunches at my desk. I know this makes me a big nerd,

  • 10 Worst States for Taxes on Your Retirement Nest Egg

    10 Worst States for Taxes on Your Retirement Nest Egg

    Retirees have special concerns when evaluating state tax policies. For instance, the mortgage might be paid off, but how bad are the property taxes—and how generous are the property-tax breaks for seniors? Are Social Security benefits taxed? What about other forms of retirement income—including IRAs and pensions? Does the state impose its own estate tax that might subtract from your legacy? The answers might just determine which side of the state border you’ll settle on in retirement. These 10 states impose the highest taxes on retirees, according to Kiplinger’s exclusive 2016 analysis of state taxes. Three of them treat Social Security benefits just like Uncle Sam does—taxing as much as 85%

  • Check for errors in your Social Security statements

    Check for errors in your Social Security statements

    Social Security can be a big part of your retirement income, so it helps to know if the federal government calculated your benefits correctly. A Social Security statement details your earnings history and estimated monthly retirement benefit. The Social Security Administration (SSA) mailed 47.9 million paper statements in the 2016 fiscal year, which ended September 2016.

  • Strategist Tom Lee makes case for double-digit S&P 500 return by the end of 2016

    Strategist Tom Lee makes case for double-digit S&P 500 return by the end of 2016

    Stocks look poised to breakout and mount a traditional rally into the end of the year, longtime market bull Tom Lee told CNBC on Wednesday. Lee, co-founder of boutique research firm Fundstrat Global Advisors, put what he calls a "highly probable" 2016 price target on the S&P 500 (^GSPC) of 2,325. In 2015, the S&P 500 ended lower for the year, its worst year since 2008.