August 7, 2016 |
A judge ruled Friday that an Atlantic City man can keep his longtime property, saying the state Casino Reinvestment Development Authority's attempt to take over the building lacked "any specific and viable plans" and was a "manifest abuse of the eminent domain power. " Charles Birnbaum, 69, owns the three-story brick house along Oriental Avenue a block from the ocean. His parents bought it in 1969. In 1998, an intruder killed his mother and her live-in caretaker there. Birnbaum then created a piano studio in the home to memorialize her, and currently runs his casino piano-tuning business there.
November 20, 2014 |
ATLANTIC CITY - Vera Coking famously refused to sell to Donald Trump. But in the end, she sold to Carl Icahn. Property records in Atlantic County show that Coking's famous but now-vacant white house, in the shadow of the famous but now-shuttered Trump Plaza, is now owned by IEH Enterprises - Icahn. The house at 127 S. Columbia Place was sold at auction in August for $583,000. At the time, Atlantic City lawyer Pat Agnellini said he was the bidder on site - and on the phone - who walked away with the winning bid. Agnellini declined to say at the time whom he represented other than himself, or what the plans were for the property.
August 2, 2014 |
ATLANTIC CITY - Vera Coking finally cashed in. And like the rest of Atlantic City these days, the price came at a steep discount. The white boardinghouse that Coking could have sold for millions to Donald Trump years ago fetched $530,000 Thursday at a lackluster auction in the shadow of a now-hobbled Trump Plaza. With a 10 percent commission price, the winning bidders, Atlantic City lawyer Pat Agnellini and Stanley Realty Co., will pay $583,000 for the three-story property. Agnellini declined to identify himself at the auction except to state the obvious - that he was not representing Donald Trump.
August 1, 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.
May 22, 2014 |
It was an Atlantic City plot as familiar as a rerun on Turner Classic Movies: Homeowner vows to save house against the forces of eminent domain, played out in the shadow of a casino. It has been playing for the better part of two decades in this troubled seaside resort, since Vera Coking famously stood up to Donald Trump. But this latest version has impeccable and elegant casting. On Tuesday morning, homeowner and onetime piano prodigy turned piano tuner Charlie Birnbaum, 67, the son of Holocaust survivors, found so many ways to show just how much his three-story brick walkup building at 311 Oriental Ave., on the back side of Revel Casino Resort, means to him. He held a news conference with anti-eminent domain lawyers from the Virginia-based Institute for Justice.
August 20, 2002 |
ANYONE WHO stumbled upon widow Vera Coking's old boarding house at 127 S. Columbia in Atlantic City during the 1980s and '90s knew that something very bizarre was happening there. And if you saw the place at night, with no lights on, it looked all the more macabre. You see, Vera Coking refused to sell her home to casino developer Bob Guccione, who publishes Penthouse magazine. He had bought up all the other properties in the block except a little Italian restaurant and a money-for-gold shop whose owners also refused to sell.
September 10, 1998 |
For now, Vera Coking gets to keep her little white guesthouse in the tumult of downtown Atlantic City. In fact, she may keep it longer than she wants. On Tuesday, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority voted not to appeal a federal judge's ruling that Coking and two other owners could keep their properties. The ruling overturned the CRDA's attempt to condemn the lots and give them to Donald Trump, who wanted them for a casino expansion. The decision put an end to a 10-year fight among various casino developers and the gray-haired, Russia-born grandmother at Columbia Place.
September 9, 1998 |
Vera Coking can keep her house. The Sabatinis can continue cooking spaghetti. The Banins can offer more cash for more gold. Yesterday, the court battle to seize the three properties by eminent domain for use by Donald Trump officially ended. The state Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA), following a request by Trump, voted 10-0 not to appeal a judge's ruling in July that the condemnations would be improper. "It's long overdue," said Clare Sabatini, owner of the Italian restaurant fighting off Trump.
July 29, 1998 |
Donald Trump is one of the world's best negotiators. Vera Coking is a slightly eccentric Atlantic City woman who has driven him to distraction by refusing to sell him the land on which her boardinghouse is built so he can expand his Trump Plaza casino. Their story is a classic study that illustrates two important lessons about negotiation. Lesson 1: Negotiation is more than haggling. People think that to be good at negotiating, you must be a great haggler. You must be smooth, bold and calculating.
July 22, 1998 |
Maybe Donald Trump should have figured out a long time ago that Vera Coking was not easily messed with. Back before Trump Plaza had even opened, Trump had driven into a parking lot he owned on Columbia Place. A woman from across the street was minding the lot for a few moments as a favor to the attendant. "I said, 'Sir, that'll be $5 for parking,' " Coking recalled yesterday, still savoring this week's widow homeowner-vs.-casino mogul victory from inside the old summer guest house where she lives on Columbia Place.