City of El Paso hires legal counsel to help collect Trump campaign’s outstanding debt

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The City of El Paso is taking further steps in attempts of collecting more than $500,000 that’s owed by the Trump campaign from a rally that took place almost two years ago.

It’s almost the end of November and with obstacles throughout the year due to COVID-19, the City has been waiting since February 2019 on money that’s been owed from the Trump campaign.

“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 during Tuesday’s council meeting. “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.”

Here’s a breakdown of the costs:

“The Trump campaign is likely to face a large amount of debt from the election,” City Attorney Karla Nieman said.

On Monday, City Council unanimously approved of hiring outside legal counsel, the Law Office of Snapper L. Carr. “We believe that based on the research and the information that we’ve gathered through the city attorney’s office and the comptrollers office is the best course of action is to ask Mr. Carr to assist us in collecting the debt,” Nieman explained.

City staff said taxpayers would not be affected by hiring outside legal counsel and clarified that Carr is being hired on a contingency, which means he only gets paid if he collects.

According to the Texas Tribune, the City previously considered suing the campaign earlier this year, however decided not to. As for now, that decision remains the same.

“It does not necessarily mean that the City will be filing a lawsuit, but that we will be using various methods to attempt to collect the debt owed to the City of El Paso,” Nieman said.

The City Attorney said further updates will be brought back to council as necessary in executive session meetings.

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