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March 29, 2016

Harper Lee: Hell on earth is eternity at Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City

Author wrote it's 'the worst punishment God can devise.'

Eternal damnation for celebrated author Harper Lee would have meant living forever at Atlantic City’s Taj Mahal casino, the author of “To Kill a Mockingbird” typed in a letter to a friend.

Lee, who died in February at the age of 89, wrote "The worst punishment God can devise for this sinner is to make her spirit reside eternally at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City."

The letter was written to Doris Leapard of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on August 25, 1990.

The letter, posted from New York, was penned just months after former casino owner Donald Trump opened the billion-dollar property in April. Lee, a lifelong resident of Monroeville, Alabama, long maintained an apartment in New York.

The letter does not explain the context of Lee’s dim view of the Taj Mahal, though the writer was known nearly as well for her reclusiveness and need for privacy as for her first published novel.

Though Trump, the Republican front-runner for president, still has his name still on the casino property, he no longer has anything to do with the casino. The resort is now owned by billionaire Carl Icahn. He took over earlier this year after Trump Entertainment Resorts emerged from bankruptcy.

In a hand-written addendum to the two-page type-written letter, Lee wrote: ''Sorry about the scratchy typing – my typewriter sticks from the humidity.''

The Nate D. Sanders auction house in Los Angeles will sell it and a second letter by Lee on Wednesday. The top bid for the Taj letter Tuesday morning was $1,330.

Lee’s "To Kill a Mockingbird" is considered a classic on the topic of racial injustice in America. The 1960 novel has sold 30 million copies, won a Pulitzer Prize and was made into a beloved movie.

A second novel – actually a first draft of “Mockingbird” titled “Go Set a Watchman” – was published last summer to mixed reviews.