Harper Lee Called Trump Taj Mahal “The Worst Punishment God Can Devise”
The year was 1990. Harper Lee was writing to a friend in Alabama. She mentioned the Trump Taj Mahal, which had opened earlier that year at the north end of the Atlantic City boardwalk. Lee was not kind to Donald Trump‘s billion-dollar casino.
“The worst punishment God can devise for a sinner,” Lee wrote, “is to make her spirit reside eternally at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City.” Oh, burn!
The letter — dated August 25th, 1990 — is up for sale at Nate D. Sanders Auctions, a Los Angeles auction house once based in Baltimore. It did not return a request for comment; the letter has currently received two bids, with a current price of $1,209.
The letter was written to a Doris Leapard, a Middletown, New Jersey, native who lived most of her life in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. A 2008 obituary calls her a “feisty advocate” for the cultural scene in the city.
When the Taj Mahal opened in 1990, Trump dubbed it “the eighth wonder of the world” and said it was the world’s largest casino. It was completed by Trump after a long development process that began as a new casino from nearby Resorts.
The Taj is now owned by Carl Icahn, who also owns the Tropicana casino at the other end of the row of casinos in A.C. Though it still has Trump’s name on it; he lost his remaining 10 percent ownership stake as it came out of bankruptcy in February. Icahn is currently involved in a battle with the workers’ union, claiming that the head of the Unite-HERE union “has been trying to close the Taj Mahal for two years.”
From the letter — which was postmarked in New York — it appears Lee was actually at the Taj Mahal with friends earlier that year. It’s not clear why she would ever possibly end up there, but it is nice we finally got her belated take on Donald Trump’s gilded gambling hall.
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