It was the tail end of Monday night's presidential debate, and Hillary Clinton was going after Donald Trump for the way he speaks about women - how he'd called them pigs, dogs, and slobs. How he'd berated a former Miss Universe for gaining weight.

The charge struck a nerve with former Inquirer staff writer Jennifer Lin, who was watching from home. She said she knows something about Trump's vitriol toward women: She's been on the receiving end.

Nearly 30 years ago, the current Republican presidential candidate, incensed over a story about his casinos, called her in her New York office, and said she had "s- for brains" and she worked for "a s- newspaper," Lin said.

Then he called her editor and referred to Lin with an offensive term, she added.

Lin wrote about the experience for the website Billy Penn on Thursday.

"It's the worst word in the English language to refer to a woman," she said later of the term Trump used.

In 1988, Lin, then 29, had written a story about the ins and outs of a battle to buy Resorts International Inc., and described a sharp-eyed car salesman who, almost by chance, set off a bidding war between Trump and the Hollywood producer and game-show host Merv Griffin.

The salesman, Dale Scutti, was strolling down the Atlantic City Boardwalk, past the then-unfinished Trump Taj Mahal and the Resorts casino hotel. He concluded that Trump, who was trying to buy the company that controlled the properties, had underbid - by a lot.

Griffin got wind of Scutti's observation, and fought Trump for the company until Trump ended up with the Taj and Griffin with all the rest.

"How a Curious Visitor Beat Trump at the Casino Game," read the Inquirer headline, on the front of the Business section.

The day it was published, Lin said, Trump called her, screaming.

"It was something that left me speechless," she said. "He hung up before I could say anything. It was just kind of stunning, to say the least."

Lin's editor, Craig Stock, fielded the second call from Trump, during which Lin said the developer referred to her by the offensive term. Stock, who also no longer works for the paper, declined to comment Thursday.

Lin wrote that Stock kept his cool and asked Trump whether he had a problem with the story. Trump, Lin wrote, replied that he hadn't read it, just the headline.

"I think what's more revealing, other than his profanity, is the fact that he didn't even read the story," Lin said.

She said Trump was invited to read the story and call back if he had any problems with it, but never did.

Watching the debate, Lin listened as Trump denied most of Clinton's charges about his language toward women. He offered one caveat: He had said "tough things" about Rosie O'Donnell, but thought "everybody would agree that she deserves it."

That was it for Lin. She fired off a Facebook post about what the presidential nominee had called her as a young reporter. A Billy Penn editor read the post and asked if she'd like to write about what had happened.

The experience, she said, speaks for itself.

"How [Trump] treats women is an issue," said Lin, who left the newspaper in 2014 to write a memoir about her family in China.

Lin's story drew a sharp response from the Trump campaign.

"This accusation is categorically false," wrote senior campaign adviser David Urban. "I find it incredibly coincidental that this person's crystal-clear recollection of one sentence, one word, spoken nearly 30 years ago just happens to coincide with Mr. Trump's surge in Pennsylvania. This is nothing more than an avowed liberal reporter who is trying to exploit Mr. Trump's reputation as click bait for her tabloid stories."

215-854-2961@aubreyjwhelan