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Land Owners Trump The Donald

Clare and Vincent Sabatini have been involved in a five-year battle against multi-millionaire Donald Trump. Trump wanted their restaurant and two other properties to be condemned so that he could buy them below market value and use the space for parking and limousine waiting area for Trump Plaza.

But in what is being compared to David versus Goliath, the Sabatinis won and are able to keep their restaurant. CBS 'This Morning' Correspondent Hattie Kauffman reports.
"I told him that he was like a character in a Danielle Steel novel. He has tenacity and that is how he does business."

Clare Sabatini
That was Clare Sabatini's reaction to Donald Trump after he tried to seize her restaurant in 1994 , one of three properties the real estate tycoon sought to take over in Atlantic City. Vera Coking, a 70-something widow and homeowner, was offered $251,250 for her home. Peter Banin, a jewelry store owner, was offered $189,500 for his shop. Clare and Vincent Sabatini, owners of the Italian restaurant, were offered $700,000.
Sabatini's Restaurant
Superior Court Judge Richard William ruled Thursday that the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CREDA) and Trump could not seize property for the purpose of expanding Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino. Judge Williams decided that the property did not meet the requirements for condemnation, and would be "overwhelmed by the private benefit."

"There are Donald Trumps all over the world," says Russian immigrant Clare Sabatini. "The judge left this message to government partiesÂ…that businesses and government can't do this."

If interested in the three properties, Trump will have to negotiate with the owners rather than acquire them at bargain basement prices using eminent domain, the right of the government to appropriate private property for public use, usually with some compensation to the owner.

"We could have taken their money when it was offered, but we wanted to have some say. The way they approached us was like we had nothing to do with it and they were going to take it," says Sabatini.

To Sabatini, however, the real betrayal was on the part of the government. "The government sent letters saying that if we didn't leave in 30 days, they woulput us out," she says. "I was told that I could be handcuffed and put out in the street if I didn't agree to leave. And that was long before money even came up."

Trump and CREDA can appeal the decision, although neither party has reacted or made any public statements.