Cities angry with Trump over millions in unpaid rally expenses
WASHINGTON -- This time next week, U.S. President Donald Trump will be an ex-president facing an impeachment trial in the Senate that could doom his political future, and a series of looming lawsuits over business dealings and allegations of sexual assault.
But Trump’s staggering level of debt may be the most lasting repercussion of his presidency as he’s racked up millions in unpaid bills from rallies, security costs, bank loans and other unknown sources. Paying back that money could be increasingly difficult for Trump as more companies cut ties with him and the Trump Organization in the wake of the Capitol riot.
Trump owes cities nearly $2 million from rallies dating back to 2016, and multiple mayors tell CTV News they were never reimbursed a dime.
Wildwood, N.J. Mayor Pete Byron hosted a Trump rally last January, but Trump still hasn’t paid more than $30,000 in police and security overtime.
“He should've paid us. I’m not happy about it, frankly,” Byron told CTV News.
The outstanding bills are particularly frustrating given economic struggles during the pandemic.
“We could certainly use the $32,000, like probably every municipality, especially after the year we’ve gone through," the mayor said.
The city of Albuquerque, New Mexico is out $211,175 from a Trump rally in 2019.
“Unsurprisingly, we have not received payment,” said the city’s public information officer Jessica Campbell. “We have billed the Trump campaign a number of times since they left taxpayers on the hook. We want them to make it right, and won’t give up until they do.”
In Spokane, Wash., they’re missing $65,124 from a 2016 Trump rally.
“City Council is not happy about this trend and has asked the administration to develop a new policy that insists on pre-payment, but that has not yet been implemented,” a city spokesperson from Spokane said.
Mesa, Ariz., is still waiting for Trump to pay back $64,000.
CTV News reached out to more than a dozen mayors who say they want their money back from Trump over the rallies.
Dave Levinthal, a senior Washington correspondent for Business Insider, has been tracking the issue for years.
"The campaign has told me that they don't pay these bills because they don't feel as if they have to pay these bills,” he said. “This will all be part of his legacy: Donald Trump stiffing communities in need because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Trump has always been cagey about his finances, refusing to release his tax returns during the 2016 and 2020 elections. But investigative reporting from The New York Times suggests that Trump is on the hook for US$421 million in loans which will come due in the next three years. In addition, he also owes US$100 million in 2022 for a mortgage on the Trump Tower in New York.
Trump has repeatedly denied the Times’ reporting and claimed he can’t release his tax returns because he’s under audit. Top government officials have contradicted that logic, saying there’s nothing legally preventing the president from doing so.
In the wake of the Capitol riots, more companies have distanced themselves from Trump. The PGA cancelled plans to host the 2022 golf championship at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey, a move that reportedly infuriated the president.
The Trump Organization responded by saying that the PGA has no right to terminate the agreement and that the organization breached its contract.
Multiple banks have vowed to never work with Trump again, including Florida-based Professional Bank, New York’s Signature Bank and Deutsche Bank, which said its only relationship will be monitoring payment of loans totalling more than US$300 million.
The City of New York announced plans to sever ties with the Trump Organization, which will cut off US$17 million in contracts for a golf course, skating rinks and a carousel in Central Park, according to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Real estate brokerage Cushman & Wakefield has handled leasing at Trump-owned properties for years, but it said their relationship with the Trump Organization has come to an end.
Aside from business dealings, Trump has also lost one of his biggest assets: his social media following. Twitter permanently banned Trump from the platform following the Capitol riots and Facebook and Instagram suspended him until the end of his term, though that suspension may continue “indefinitely.”