President Donald Trump‘s reelection campaign owes the City of El Paso, Texas over $500,000. This debt has been outstanding for over a year. Now, city officials there are considering filing a lawsuit in order to finally get that past due bill paid off.
Mayor Dee Margo made the suggestion during a Tuesday news conference–saying that a city council vote to authorize such a lawsuit would likely be scheduled soon.
“With the millions of dollars in city revenue lost due to the pandemic, has the city reached out recently to the Trump campaign about repaying the $570,000 that is still outstanding?” a journalist asked.
“I know we’ve sent out a demand letter about that,” Margo said. “And my last instructions to our people were: if we need to, file suit.”
“The campaign has not paid as of yet,” Communications Director Laura Cruz-Acosta added. “We have sent invoices to the campaign. We would need council action in order to be directed to file suit.”
“We probably need to progress that way,” Margo affirmed.
Margo’s remarks were made during a virtual press conference focused on the Sun City’s efforts to deal with the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Margo noted that repeated efforts to have the Trump campaign pay up have been met with failure and denials from the White House that they are responsible for the bill. The latest attempt to collect occurred in February of this year–exactly one year after a 2019 Make America Great Again rally at the El Paso County Coliseum.
El Paso officials first invoiced the Trump campaign in March 2019–charging the entity Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. exactly $470,417.05 for security spread across six municipal departments.
Local ABC affiliate KVIA broke down those numbers:
Department of Aviation: $6,286.57 Fire Department: $60,630.84 Health Department: $528 Streets & Maintenance: $6,452 Sun Metro: $15,577.52 Police Department: $380,942.12
The original invoice was marked with a due date of late April 2019 but city officials only released the information to the media after the Trump campaign ignored the bill and refused to pay.
At the time, Trump’s campaign pleaded absolute ignorance about the missed payment situation in El Chuco Town.
“I’m not sure about that,” Trump Campaign Director of Strategic Communications Marc Lotter, told the outlet last year while dining at a high-dollar dinner hosted by the local Republican Party. “I’ll have to check with the accounting folks on that. And when that, about those bills, that’s not something that I’m aware of.”
But despite Trotter’s pleas of being truly mystified between bites, the situation hasn’t really progressed much since. Except for the balance.
The city has tacked on an additional $98,787.58 late fee after never hearing hide nor hair from the Trump reelection effort about their outstanding debt.
And, according to officials in the onetime Six Shooter Capital of the country, the campaign’s failure to pay its way has resulted in real pain for the community there–forcing the city to cover those costs by dipping into the contingency budget, which is typically reserved for genuine emergencies and natural disasters.
And El Paso isn’t the only unpaid city facing budget lapses due the allegedly excuse-laden Trump 2020 campaign.
According to the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative journalism newsroom, at least 13 additional municipalities have been given the finger by the 45th president’s reelection campaign over unsettled public safety-related debts. As of the outlet’s latest count, the Trump campaign owes some $1.82 million–with El Paso’s debt by far the largest. Minneapolis, however, isn’t far behind.
But now, all of those city and county governments are pleading with the president’s campaign to pay them back the money they are owed due to the budget crunch caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to campaign finance data as of April 21, the Trump campaign has over $98 million cash on hand.
[image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]
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