Minneapolis Mayor Tries to Extort Trump Campaign of $500,000

In an effort to force the cancellation of Trump’s Minneapolis rally, the city’s left-wing mayor tried to extort $530,000 out of the Trump campaign for “security” to allow Trump to hold its rally.

Leftist mayor Jacob Frey tried to force the Trump campaign to pay the exorbitant amount for “security” at the city’s Target Center, according to Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale.

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According to the Trump campaign:

The radical leftist mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, is abusing the power of his office and attempting to extort President Trump’s re-election campaign by conjuring a phony and outlandish bill for security in an effort to block a scheduled Keep America Great rally. Democrat Mayor Frey is using the bogus security charges to pressure the Target Center, site of the contracted October 10, 2019 rally, into preventing Minnesota residents from exercising their First Amendment rights in support of President Trump.

Frey’s city government preemptively informed the Target Center that it would be responsible for $530,000 in security and other costs related to the event. The Target Center attempted to pass the costs on to the Trump campaign under threat of withholding the use of the arena.

The Trump campaign informed the Target Center that the U.S. Secret Service is solely responsible for coordinating security and that withholding the use of the arena would be viewed as a breach of contract and result in court action. Additionally, the ridiculous sum of $530,000 is more than 26 times the estimated security costs for a 2009 Target Center health care rally held by President Barack Obama. Police officials estimated that the costs then were around $20,000. Again, the costs are a matter between the city and the Secret Service.

“We are well aware of Mayor Frey’s vocal partisan opposition to President Trump and calls to disrupt the rally,” read a letter from Trump law firm Jones Day to the Target Center’s management firm. “This last-minute squeeze seems to be nothing but a pretextual political effort with serious First Amendment ramifications.”

In 2016, President Trump earned more than 1.3 million votes in Minnesota and came within 1.5 percentage points of winning the state.

“This is an outrageous abuse of power by a liberal mayor trying to deny the rights of his own city’s residents just because he hates the President,” said Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale. “People want to hear from their President, and no mayor looking to beef up his resume for a run for higher office should stand in the way.”

The Trump campaign also sent a letter to the Target Center’s management:

Dear Sir:

Our Firm represents Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. (“the Campaign”). The Campaign is in receipt of your threat to violate the terms of its contract with AEG Management TWN, LLC (“AEG”) to lease the Target Center from October 9–10, 2019, in connection with a Campaign rally featuring President Trump. The rally is scheduled for this Thursday evening. The Campaign’s preparations for the rally remain ongoing in reliance on that contract, and tens of thousands of the President’s loyal supporters are expected to attend.

Your letter of this morning on behalf of AEG threatening to terminate the rental contract at the last minute seems to rest on a representation by the City of Minneapolis that, without any apparent backup support, that “additional security and related costs” associated with the rally will be $530,000. You claim it is somehow the Campaign’s responsibility to “coordinate” these additional services and expenses, “including arrangements for payment to be made directly by [the Campaign] to the City, in advance of” the rally. If the Campaign does not, you assert, AEG will deem it a default or force majeure and cancel the contract.

Your position is clearly wrong under the plain wording of the contract. Neither the Campaign nor AEG is responsible for arranging or paying for rally-related security. Rather, the U.S. Secret Service – and the U.S. Secret Service alone – is “solely and directly” responsible for coordinating law enforcement services in connection with the rally. “As such, no law enforcement costs shall be coordinated by [AEG], charged through [AEG] to [the Campaign], or shall otherwise be reimbursable expenses in connection with the [contract].” The Campaign cannot be in breach of an obligation it does not owe to AEG. Yet AEG’s failure to deliver the Target Center on October 9 would be a breach of contract, and the Campaign will aggressively pursue all remedies available to it in law or equity – not to mention in the court of public opinion.

We presume this contrived legal justification for threatening to terminate the contract is the result of AEG receiving pressure from City leadership determined to cancel the rally. We are well aware of Mayor Frey’s vocal partisan opposition to President Trump and calls to disrupt the rally. This last-minute squeeze seems to be nothing but a pretextual political effort with serious First Amendment ramifications. Politics is no basis to interfere with a contract, and if the agreement with the Campaign is not honored, the Campaign will also look to hold AEG and the City responsible for the apparent infringement on the Campaign’s financial interests and fundamental First Amendment rights, as well as those of its many supporters.

Please confirm that AEG will honor its agreement with the Campaign by no later than 11:00 am CDT on Tuesday, October 8, or else we will prepare the necessary papers to begin court proceedings.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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