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Politics El Paso Hires Legal Counsel to Retrieve Trump Campaign's Over Half a Million Dollars of Outstanding Debt

18:50  25 november  2020
18:50  25 november  2020 Source:   newsweek.com

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President Donald Trump will travel to El Paso , Texas, on Wednesday to offer his condolences and support to survivors, first responders and local officials in the wake of a mass shooting at a Walmart that left 22 dead. But he'll arrive with a 0,000 debt to the border city from his last visit.

The Trump campaign has said it doubts El Paso ' s accounting and has implied it' s been overcharged. Ironically, that cost would have to be eaten by the very people championed at Trump ' s campaign rally: El Paso police officers who are on the front lines of the president' s border battle.

El Paso, Texas, has voted to seek outside legal counsel in order to help retrieve more than $500,000 owed to them by the Trump administration following a campaign rally held there nearly two years ago.

Donald Trump holding a sign in front of a crowd: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the El Paso County Coliseum on February 11, 2019 in El Paso, Texas © Joe Raedle/Getty U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the El Paso County Coliseum on February 11, 2019 in El Paso, Texas

El Paso has been finding ways for the administration to foot the bill accumulated while hosting a campaign rally at the El Paso County Coliseum in February 2019.

The costs include $470,000 in security and other expenses, as well as an additional $99,000 in late fees, bringing the total to $569,000 still owed to the city as it battles with major financial issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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"We all are seeing firsthand the struggles that everyday El Paso families have in addition to the challenges that we have in our own budget," City Rep. Peter Svarzbein said at a council meeting on Tuesday.

"So this amount of money is not inconsequential and also the message that we send that nobody is above the law is also an important one for our community to understand as well."

The city voted to seek outside legal counsel, the Law Office of Snapper L. Carr, to help them collect the debt.

"We believe that based on the research and the information that we've gathered through the city attorney's office and the comptroller's office is the best course of action is to ask Mr. Carr to assist us in collecting the debt," City Attorney Karla Nieman said.

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City officials assured that taxpayers will not contribute towards getting the legal counsel's help and Carr will only be paid if the money is collected.

The Texas Tribune previously reported that El Paso considered suing the Trump campaign in order to force them to hand over the money, but decided against it and instead sought other ways.

"We're on unprecedented territory by having to collect an outstanding invoice from a sitting president," Nieman said in a statement last week. "We continue to explore various options."

Speaking to Yahoo Finance, El Paso Mayor Dee Margo said that even if they filed suit, they were told that the chances of retrieving the money "are slim."

Margo blamed a botched billing on their part as the reason for them being unable to collect the money.

"The city mishandled the documentation and the way we should have handled it and we learned a lot. We're not used to presidents coming to visit El Paso," Mago said.

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The Trump administration has been contacted for comment.

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El Paso lawyered up to try and collect $570,000 owed to the city by the Trump campaign from a rally 2 years ago .
The city council hired the lawyers to collect the Trump campaign debt days after the National Guard was sent to help with bodies of COVID-19 victims.The city council voted unanimously on Monday to hire external lawyers to help collect the nearly $570,000 in debt that the city has been trying to collect since February 2019.

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