Sometimes David wins, and sometimes Goliath

In 1994, Donald Trump – that wonderful specimen of humanity – convinced the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority to exercise eminent domain on his behalf to condemn the home of Vera Coking so he could build a limousine parking lot next to one of his casinos. Fortunately, level heads prevailed and the petition was rejected on the basis that this was not a “public purpose,” the reason for which eminent domain was established. The Institute for Justice defended Ms. Coking, and she returned to live in her long-time home in peace.

By the holy skull of Mogg’s grandmother, this kind of douchebaggery – wealthy people throwing their weight around by dint of money and power – has always incensed me, especially when it is done in such an insouciant and public way. Trump reminds me of Leona Helmsley, she who disdained the “little people,” and I’m mightily glad he lost this particular battle, just on general principles.

Last month, another David and Goliath situation quietly went to the large player, but not – as the Salt Lake Tribune implied – on Goliath’s terms. Back in 2002, Earl Holding was constructing the Grand America hotel and bought all the property on a block for that purpose – except the Flower Patch, who didn’t want to sell.


The Flower Patch



Aerial view showing the corner lot.

In December, the property owner finally accepted an offer to deed the property to the hotel, but on his terms.

Parrish, who sold business control of the Flower Patch chain of stores to a Florida company in 1999 but held onto the properties, confirmed the sale Monday. The Sandy resident and property manager said his commitment to keeping the historic Salt Lake building as a flower shop faded over the years. “Now it’s just a business situation,” he said.

Flower Patch chain owner Tom Gordon said that while ‘‘a great location,’’ the building is old, antiquated and ‘‘quite frankly, not worth remodeling for our purposes.’’

So the landscape changed, and it became a viable business decision to sell out; but it happened when the property owner decided the time was right, and not before. As a result, Holding had to reduce the size of the planned hotel by 125 rooms. And for as long as I lived in Salt Lake, I smiled to see that little flower store there. It reminded me of another couple of situations which – although fictitious – have burned their images indelibly into my mind.



The Little House “could not be sold for gold or silver.” (By Virginia Lee Burton)


Batteries Not Included.

The 1% owns so much and takes so much and gives so little (with some notable exceptions) that it’s nice to see the little guy win every now and then.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

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