Infamous A.C. house headed to auction

Vera Coking's rooming house at 127 S. Columbia Place in Atlantic City.
Vera Coking's rooming house at 127 S. Columbia Place in Atlantic City. (STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer)
Posted: August 01, 2014

ATLANTIC CITY - The white boardinghouse in the shadow of the Trump Plaza belonging to Vera Coking, who famously refused to sell to Donald Trump, will finally be sold Thursday - at auction.

With the 91-year-old Coking now living in a nursing facility in California, and Trump Plaza headed for an expected Sept. 16 shutdown, the auction is an anticlimactic resolution of a feud that long helped to define Atlantic City.

Coking's refusal to sell - either to Trump, Playboy Casino owner Bob Guccione, or the Casino Reinvestment Development Association - made her to some a triumphant symbol of the little person standing up to the casinos, but to others, an example of a local obstructionist damaging the resort.

Some questioned the wisdom of her choice not to cash in like other famous Trump Plaza holdouts, such as the Doonesbury-enshrined Sabatini's, ultimately sold for $2.1 million. She insisted that she simply wanted to continue to live on Columbia Place, a block from the ocean.

As recently as several years ago, Trump offered her about $2 million for the house. Last year, when a sale of Trump Plaza seemed imminent, she was offered the then-asking price of $995,000 by those buyers, said Oren Klein of Auction Advisors. Neither sale materialized.

Klein said recent news of possible casino closings and attempts to reposition the resort as an entertainment destination not as reliant upon casinos have helped the auction business in town. He said 48 plots near Revel were bought this summer at auction by an anonymous bidder for $6.5 million.

The opening bid for Thursday's 2 p.m. auction at the home at 127 S. Columbia Place - about a block from the new Bass Pro Shops construction site - is $199,000.

Donald Trump, who does not have a significant stake in Trump Plaza anymore, is not expected to be a bidder.


arosenberg@phillynews.com

609-823-0453

@amysrosenberg

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