Joe Biden owes Philly $15,500 in unpaid bills after leaving a muddy mess from a campaign event. The city wants its money ASAP.

  • Philadelphia is demanding that Joe Biden's campaign pay up more than $15,500 after a campaign event in November left the city cleaning up a water-logged FDR Park.
  • City authorities sent the campaign a pay-upon-receipt invoice last month and have since followed up, but they continue to wait on their money.
  • Biden's November 1 rally in a South Philly park involved hundreds of cars driving onto rain-soaked grass, which required $9,500 in repairs.
  • Like many cities, the COVID-19 pandemic has waylaid Philadelphia's budget, forcing layoffs, service cuts, and tax increases.
  • President Donald Trump's campaign remains the king of campaign rally debt, having failed to pay more than $1.82 million in police and public safety bills across 14 municipalities, Insider previously reported.
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Joe Biden's campaign owes Philadelphia more than $15,500 and the city wants its money ASAP, according to interviews and documents Insider has obtained.

The debt stems from Biden's rainy drive-in rally on November 1 at Philadelphia's Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park, a few miles south of his campaign's national headquarters. The event left the city cleaning up a muddy mess after hundreds of cars drove onto the grass. 

Biden's campaign has yet to pay a $6,025 site fee for using the park, and a $9,500 to cover the costs of repairing a portion of the waterlogged grounds.

Philadelphia's Department of Parks and Recreation sent the Biden campaign invoices on November 8 and asked that they be paid "upon receipt," the city's spokesperson Lauren Cox told Insider. 

The city has since followed up with the campaign but had not received payment as of December 3, Cox said. Philadelphia officials acknowledge that it will "sometimes take a while to reconcile campaign costs at the end of a cycle," she added. 

Liza Acevedo, a spokesperson for the Biden presidential transition committee, said she didn't immediately have information about how the campaign is addressing Philadelphia's bills.

In financial disclosures filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission, the Biden campaign reported having more than $1.5 million cash on hand and no debt as of late November.

Trump is still king of presidential campaign rally debt

Philadelphia's $15,525 Biden event price tag represents a tiny fraction of the city's annual budget, and likewise, an even smaller portion of the overall federal-level campaign spending during the 2020 election cycle. 

The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics estimates the cost of the recent elections will exceed $14 billion.

Nevertheless, every dollar is precious at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is threatening to crater Philadelphia's municipal finances — a quandary that's similarly pummeling the bottom lines of other American cities, large and small. 

Philadelphia City Hall has already raised taxes, cut some services, and laid off hundreds of government workers to balance its books. It also scuttled a planned $19 million budget increase for its police department, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

President Donald Trump's presidential campaign, meanwhile, has long failed to pay police and public safety-related bills stemming from his rallies and sent by city governments. Together, Trump's bills total more than $1.82 million, Insider previously reported. 

That includes an invoice of more than $35,000 from a 2018 campaign rally across the state from Philadelphia in Erie, Pennsylvania.

"We were simply trying to recoup our costs to the city because we did not believe that the City of Erie taxpayers should subsidize that visit," Renée Lamis, chief of staff to Mayor Joe Schember, told Insider this week. 

Lamis added that the city decided not to bill any presidential campaign in 2020 "since it was a presidential election year, and we wanted the candidates to visit Erie."

Trump also owes El Paso, Texas, and officials there have been more aggressive in pursuit of their money. They announced last month that they plan to take legal action against the Trump campaign for its failure to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in police bills and related late fees from a visit in 2019.

Philadelphia, meanwhile, is hoping that Biden's team will pay up faster than Democrat Hillary Clinton, who conducted a campaign event near Philadelphia City Hall in 2016.

Cox confirmed Thursday that Clinton's campaign committee — it's still technically in operation and had more than $372,000 remaining in its coffers as of September 30 — never paid a $2,678 bill Philadelphia sent more than four years ago.

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