CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - When a political candidate stumps for votes in Cleveland, it costs the city of Cleveland a ton of money. Donald Trump's recent rally at the I-X Center set the city back over $68,000 for security that included 104 police officers, 47 police vehicles, four horses, and a helicopter. The city sent the bill to the Trump campaign.
But, if history is any indicator, the city will never see its money. Since we began keeping track six years ago, we've yet to find any presidential candidate who reimbursed the city for a political appearance. That includes the man who currently occupies the White House.
In 2010, President Obama campaigned for other Democrats at Cleveland State. It wasn't just any appearance. It was a rock star studded pep rally on Mall C, featuring Bruce Springsteen. Six years after that rally, neither the Obama team, The White House, or Democratic Party has reimbursed the city for security and traffic control including over 100 police officers, mostly on overtime, 13 SWAT members, and EMS.
The city of Cleveland did bill the Obama campaign for $54,000. The Obama campaign did pay the $11,000 in stage costs but stiffed taxpayers for the other $43,000.
Carl Monday spoke to Safety Director Marty Flask in 2010, when he first reported on this story. Flask said, "I'm pretty confident our chances of recovering this are very slim." Turns out, Flask was right on target. Nearly six years later, the City is still waiting for the $91,000 it's owed for the Springsteen rally and the one at CSU.
The Mayor's Office claims the city also billed the Obama campaign for a Burke Lakefront rally in October of 2012 but says the campaign never paid the bill. However, the folks at City hall have yet to produce an actual invoice, or any other paperwork that would suggest the city aggressively pursued that money.
Despite our repeated records requests, dating back years, the city has also failed to deliver invoices for other candidates from either party who came to Cleveland, including Hillary Clinton, and going all the way back to 2004 and John Kerry.
The Mayor's Office declined an on-camera interview.
But, in a statement, admitted there is "no standard policy for why a campaign is billed," that campaign logistics are "evaluated on a case by case basis," and that a determination is then made, to "either seek reimbursement or eat the costs."
Fact is, there are no records that show that any presidential campaign has ever paid for traffic, safety and security during a campaign visit to Cleveland.
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