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Trump still owes El Paso—a city facing a coronavirus disaster—$569,000 for his 2019 rally

As El Paso, Texas, battles the worst coronavirus outbreak in the nation as measured by population-adjusted cases, the city is also still fighting to get Trump’s campaign to pay its outstanding bill from a rally held there in 2019.

Trump’s outstanding balance of $569,204.63 for the rally he held in the border town back in February of last year still hasn’t been paid, according to El Paso Mayor Dee Margo.

“We’ve been unable to collect,” he told Yahoo Finance. “We're told even if we filed suit, chances of collection are slim.”

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at El Paso County Coliseum in El Paso, Texas, U.S., February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at El Paso County Coliseum in El Paso, Texas, U.S., February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

According to Margo, the heart of the conflict stems in part from an issue of botched billing on the part of the city which is now strapped for resources at the worst possible time.

“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,” he said.

Documents from an open records request filed by Yahoo Finance reveal the outstanding balance includes a more than $380,000 charge for police and more than $60,000 charged to the fire department. A 21% late fee assessed to the Trump campaign after the balance still remained unpaid in March 2019 pushed the balance past the $500,000 mark.

On Thursday, Margo relented the strapped position his police and fire departments find themselves in, saying, “Our police are stretched to the full extent of their capacity. We have COVID issues with our police and fire department, we have a number of issues we’re trying to deal with.”

Earlier this year in April, when Margo was instructing his staff to file suit against the Trump campaign, a Texas Tribune report highlighted that city leaders were already facing more than $25 million in lost revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic and were weighing cutting projects and employee salaries.

Despite that stance, the Republican mayor, who is up for re-election, refuted the idea that the nonpayment has had any impact on the city’s ability to battle its current health crisis.

“No, it has no bearing whatsoever,” Margo said.

A Trump campaign spokesperson did not return Yahoo Finance’s request for comment.

Zack Guzman is the host of YFi PM as well as a senior writer and on-air reporter covering entrepreneurship, cannabis, startups, and breaking news at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @zGuz.

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