Friday, April 29, 2016

Vermont City Might Sic Debt Collector On Donald Trump

People wait in line for a vastly overbooked Donald
Trump rally January 7 in Burlington, Vermont.
The city is trying to bill Trump for police and fire overtime. 
Donald Trump is supposedly a billionaire, but will he have a debt collector harassing him soon anyway?


According to NECN, Burlington, Vermont mayor Miro Weinberger, a Democrat, says Trump is about three months late paying an $8,500 bill for police and fire overtime costs from January 7.

That was from the notorious rally Trump held in which his campaign gave away far, far more tickets than there were available seats at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, where the rally was held.'

There's no guarantee Burlington will hire a collection agency yet. Weinberger and his city are wrestling with free speech issues versus a campaign basically running roughshod over a small city and not coordinating things at all with the muncipality.

Weinberger told NECN that given the importance of democracy and free speech, candidates should travel to communities like Burlington to give speeches and get a sense of how people are feeling about the issues.

But just popping into town with no plan for security, and what to do with all the people holding tickets for an event they can't get into and all the other issues is a bit much.

Generally speaking, national candidates don't cover the cost of police overtime in cities they visit, despite the disruption they cause. (Note: It's good disruption. As Weinberger notes, candidates really do have an obligation to travel and talk about their ideas.)

In neighboring South Burlington, NECN says Barack Obama's campaign didn't reimburse that city for a 2011 fundraiser in which police worked overtime to deal with the visit.

Trevor Whipple, South Burlington's police chief, drew a distinction between a politician's visit for official business and a fundraiser. Maybe the city should be reimbursed for political fundraisers, but not actual working on doing their job.

An exception to major campaigns not reimbursing cities for events is Bernie Sanders, NECN reports.

Last May, Sanders, the former mayor of Burlington,  held a very big rally on that city's waterfront to announce his presidential candidacy.

The Sanders campaign paid Burlington's bills for police and fire overtime in full and on time, Weinberger told NECN. 

It's not like Burlington is going to go bankrupt if Trump doesn't pay up. The police portion of the Trump bill is $7,200. The city's police department  has roughly a $10 million annual budget.

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