How Des Moines forced Donald Trump to pay his bills
Guests walk past vendors selling campaign related merchandise as they arrive for a rally hosted by former President Donald Trump on May 13, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa. The campaign was forced to cancel the rally before the gates were officially opened to the public due to inclement weather with the possibility tornadoes moving through the region. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Ahead of Donald Trump’s campaign visit to Iowa last week, the Des Moines Water Works Park Foundation made sure it was financially protected from the nation’s bill-skipper-in-chief.

According to documents obtained by Raw Story through an Iowa public records request, the public operator of Lauridsen Amphitheater in Des Moines, Iowa, compelled the Trump 2024 campaign committee to sign a six-page contract to use the facility for a May 13 rally that was ultimately canceled because of potential tornadoes in the area.

The Water Works Park Foundation charged the Trump campaign $12,900 for rent, not including fencing, parking personnel and portable toilets, according to the contract, which Trump campaign treasurer Bradley Crate signed.

“Base rent fee is due prior to event, any additional fees as ordered by DJTFP24 will be due within 30 days of event’s conclusion,” the contract said in bold type, referring to the Trump 2024 campaign.

Sam Carrell, executive director of the Des Moines Water Works Park Foundation, said Tuesday that the Trump campaign indeed paid ahead.

"While we don’t offer a refund, we do offer other open make up dates when weather forces a cancellation," Carrell told Raw Story.

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The Des Moines Water Works Park Foundation is a nonprofit organization with a mission to "improve the quality of life for Central Iowan’s by the enhancement of Water Works Park in Des Moines, Iowa.

The Trump campaign also appears to at least be liable for more than $1,000 of damage to grass. As Axios reported, “Before leaving the park, a semi-truck went off a rock path and into soggy grass areas that were off limits to vehicles. Then, food truck drivers and other vendors drove on the same spots.”

Another part of the contract obtained by Raw Story said the Trump campaign “shall be responsible for, and pay for damages to the Water Works grounds and facilities, which are caused by the event.”

Trump, according to Axios, has reportedly agreed to pay, but the campaign did not respond to the story.

The contract states that the Trump campaign was required to have a “comprehensive general liability insurance policy, including public liability and property damage, covering its activities hereunder, in an amount not less than One Million Dollars ($1,000,000).”

The contract did not, however, require the Trump campaign to pay for associated local public safety costs — the kind that Trump officials have generally avoided in recent years. Trump has a long history of ignoring bills in business and politics. Numerous cities are still asking Trump to pay police- and public safety-related bills from his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns.

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This year — eight days before Trump’s rally on March 25 in Waco, Texas — public officials there signed a detailed contract with the Trump campaign ahead of Trump’s event at the city-owned Waco Regional Airport.

Because the event was at a municipal facility, city officials had more legal leverage over the Trump campaign, and they used it — including forcing Trump to foot bills for “public safety, sanitation and transportation personnel and resources required to preserve public order and protect public health, safety and welfare”.

At the same time, officials in El Paso, Texas, were still waiting for Trump to pay up for public safety-related costs stemming from a February 2019 visit.

"The Trump campaign has not submitted any payments for their debt," El Paso city spokesperson Laura Cruz-Acosta told Raw Story, noting that Trump’s tab is $569,204.63, including a city-issued late fee of $98,787.58.