Harper Lee: Trump casino was ‘worst punishment' God could devise


Harper Lee, one of America's most renowned and celebrated authors, compared one of Donald Trump's casinos to hell on Earth, a letter signed by the novelist now reveals.

"The worst punishment God can devise for this sinner is to make her spirit reside eternally at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City," Lee wrote to friend Doris Leapard, on August 25 1990.

Harper Lee in 2007
Getty Images

This particular letter is part of some 29 correspondences written and signed by the late Harper Lee, which are being auctioned off in separate lots by Nate D. Sanders Auctions in Los Angeles this week.

Famous for her literary classic "To Kill a Mockingbird," Harper Lee passed away at the age of 89 this February, less than a year after the release of her other novel "Go Set a Watchman," which also tackles the topic of racial injustice.

The novelist wrote the letter describing the Trump-owned casino just months after it opened in Atlantic City. The Taj Mahal property, according to reports from The New York Times, underwent a pre-packaged bankruptcy procedure in summer 1991, before emerging from bankruptcy later that year.

The bidding for each of Lee's letters starts at $750 each, with the auctions ending on March 31, according to the auction site.

Harper Lee's "Go Set a Watchman" on sale.
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Some of the letters have already received bids, with the letter about Trump's Taj Mahal casino, already receiving a bid of at least $1,330.

In the letters to her companions, Lee gives her thoughts to a number of subject matters, from Broadway productions and other novelists, to her own health and well-being.

"These letters offer fascinating insight into Harper Lee's life (and) her correspondence with her friends since she was notoriously known as a private person," Samuel Heller, Nate D. Sanders Auctions' PR director, told CNBC via email.

"The auction house is already thrilled with the reception the letters have received. Harper Lee letters are highly coveted by collectors especially after the release of her new book and her passing last month," Heller added.

The signed letters, which will be auctioned individually by Nate D. Sanders Auctions include one to Lee's friend Doris Leapard, in which she expresses her distaste for Donald Trump's Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City,
Robyn Beck | AFP | Getty Images

One correspondence to friend Doris Leapard dated January 29 1999 saw Lee thank her for an autograph of Vivian Malone, who was one of the first black students to enroll at the University of Alabama in 1963.

"I shall treasure (the autograph) always. Looking back, it's incredible what people had to endure just for their basic rights. Today's young haven't a clue what their parents went through," Lee wrote.

Another letter dated January 4 1993, Lee complained about there being a "new holiday sport" in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, where fans had come to the town and invaded her own privacy.

"There has evolved a new holiday sport in Monroeville, that of people bringing their visiting relatives to look at me. There is so little in the way of entertainment, looking at Harper Lee is something to do."

Check out the full catalog from Nate D. Sanders Auction.

Harper Lee in 2007
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