Albuquerque returns unpaid Trump campaign rally bill to collection agency


According to Mayor Tim Keller, the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, referred the unpaid rally debt from the Trump campaign to a collection agency.

Trump left office with nearly $ 2 million in unpaid bills from cities that hosted his campaign rallies, including a $ 211,175 bill from Albuquerque, resulting from his 2019 event in Rio Rancho.

“We decided to charge him because the costs to the city were huge,” Keller told The Daily Show’s Jordan Klepper this week. “They made us shut down the city center. We had to shut down the town hall.… In my mind, he owes us a lot more because there was about a day and a half when we couldn’t even function as a city. “

The bill includes the cost of additional police protection, security measures and paid time off for city employees who have been forced to stay at home. But about 18 months later, Keller said “no phone calls were returned, so we hired a collection agency.”

“He should get those annoying voicemail messages that we get, usually from scam companies where it’s like ‘You have debt‘,” Keller joked. “I think Mar-a-Lago is getting those calls now.”

Keller told local outlet KOB-TV that the city treated Trump’s unpaid bill “like any other debt” after the city received “no response” to its demands for payment. He said that like many creditors, the city automatically returns unpaid debts to collection agencies.

The city is also working to collect the debt, sending its latest bill to Mar-a-Lago instead of the Trump campaign office in New York.

“They’re chasing him again, just this month,” city spokeswoman Lorena Sanchez told the Albuquerque Journal.

Sanchez said Trump’s debt is one of more than 2,500 the city has returned to collections, which it typically does for bills over 61 to 90 days old.

Trump left office with at least $ 1.82 million in unpaid rally debt to 14 cities, according to a 2020 Center for Public Integrity analysis, including a $ 543,000 bill from Minneapolis for a rally in October 2019 .

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, a Democrat, said the money could have helped hundreds of families amid the coronavirus pandemic and business closures.

“During this crisis, this loss is even more pronounced – $ 150,000, for example, could pay for emergency rent assistance for 100 families in Minneapolis,” Frey told Public Integrity.

Trump also owes more than $ 430,000 in El Paso, Texas police bills following a rally in February 2019 that prompted officials to bill the campaign with late fees, to no avail. Tuscon, Arizona, also waited more than four years for the campaign to pay off its $ 82,000 debt.

Some debts date back to 2016, like a $ 65,000 note from Spokane, Washington. The campaign also owes Battle Creek, Michigan $ 93,000; $ 47,398 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin; $ 33,900 in Wildwood, New Jersey; and $ 9,380 in Green Bay, Wisconsin, according to the report. The report did not include another bill for $ 139,183 from Bernalillo County, New Mexico, which hosted one of Trump’s gatherings in 2019, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

Most of the costs stem from the costs of additional policing to keep Trump rallies safe.

“Is it fair to say that Donald Trump did fund the police? Klepper asked Keller.

“You could say that,” Keller replied.

The Trump campaign claimed in a statement to Public Integrity last year that it was not responsible for the costs to cities, arguing that “all billing requests should be directed to the Secret Service.” But Secret Service officials said they “receive no funding from Congress to reimburse city governments for the protection of local public safety they demand,” according to the report.

Many top Democrats who ran for president in 2020, including Sense. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., And Cory Booker, DN.J., then-Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, have regularly paid their rally bills, while Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt ., has a “checkered history of paying such bills,” as did 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, according to Public Integrity. President Biden’s campaign has paid several localities for the costs of “home security.” ‘event”.

Many cities that hosted Trump’s rallies did not charge for his campaign, according to Public Integrity, which noted that some localities have policies against such bills while others “didn’t care because of it. of Trump’s non-payment history “. In these cases, local taxpayers are forced to foot the bill.

Trump has a long history of refusing to pay his bills dating back to the 1980s, when he refused to pay the undocumented workers who worked on his Trump Tower project. Since then, he has outraged hundreds of contractors and even his own lawyers, according to a USA Today investigation.

Trump’s campaign committee still had over $ 18 million in cash after the 2020 election, while the joint fundraising committee the ex-president shares with the Republican National Committee raised hundreds of millions since mid-October, few of which have been earmarked for funding. Trump’s baseless legal challenges. The campaign was forced to repay more than 530,000 donations worth more than $ 64 million after online donors complained of scam tactics that were emptying their bank accounts every month without their knowledge, reported the New York Times earlier this month.

Keller said he didn’t expect Trump’s campaign to foot the Albuquerque bill, even though the city sent it to a collection agency.

“Considering what else has happened, I mean even regarding his own campaign which owes money to donors and a lot of shady stuff out there, so unfortunately I don’t don’t really expect us to get paid, ”he told KOB-TV. “But… you know, we would do it for anyone else, so he’s no different.”

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