Trump campaign threatens to sue Minnesota over 'phony and outlandish' rally security bill

"Welcome to Minneapolis where we pay our bills," the mayor tweeted back.

October 8, 2019, 2:27 PM

President Trump and his campaign have accused the Democratic mayor of Minneapolis of "attempting to extort" the campaign with over half-a-million in security fees ahead of Thursday's rally.

The Trump campaign on Monday night threatened legal action against the city, accusing Mayor Jacob Frey of trying to force a “phony and outlandish" security fee of $530,000 ahead of the president's rally at the Target Center in Minneapolis. A previous unpaid security fee for his rally in El Paso, Texas in February of this year was also roughly the same amount.

Trump echoed his campaign’s attacks on Frey in a string of tweets Tuesday morning, including blasting the “Radical Left Mayor of Minneapolis” for trying to “price out Free Speech.”

“Probably illegal! I stand strongly & proudly with the great Police Officers and Law Enforcement of Minneapolis and the Great State of Minnesota! See you Thursday Night!” the president added.

“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,” Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement on Monday. “People want to hear from their President, and no mayor looking to beef up his résumé for a run for higher office should stand in the way.”

ABC News reached out to the Target Center and its management for comment but has yet to receive a response.

Frey responded in a brief Tweet Tuesday morning, alluding to the campaign’s past issues with paying cities security bills around campaign rallies: “Yawn... Welcome to Minneapolis where we pay our bills, we govern with integrity, and we love all of our neighbors,” the mayor tweeted.

On Monday, the Trump campaign released a letter from its lawyers to AEG, the management company that runs the Target Center in Minneapolis.

“The Campaign cannot be in breach of an obligation it does not owe to AEG," the campaign’s lawyers argue in the letter. "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.”

The letter goes on to give the city until 11:00 am CDT on Tuesday to comply with the agreement “or else we will prepare the necessary papers to begin court proceedings.” After the deadline passed on Tuesday Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh told ABC News, "We will have something to say when it’s appropriate."

The Trump campaign has a history of not immediately paying charges billed by cities after rallies. The president's reelection campaign still owes nearly half-a-millions to El Paso stemming from February this year, as ABC News previously reported.

Back in June, the campaign cast doubt on El Paso's accounting, implying they had been overcharged.

"Since 2015, the Trump Campaign has held nearly 550 rallies all over the country, and this invoice is roughly 10 times the amount that a locality generally asks to be reimbursed," Michael Glassner, chief operating officer with the Trump campaign, told ABC News in a statement back in August regarding the outstanding El Paso bill. "We are reviewing it."

The Trump campaign also pointed to a report that a health care reform-themed rally in 2009 that then-President Barack Obama hosted at the same venue amid ongoing congressional debate over Obamacare. The price for security was $20,000, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

The City of El Paso confirmed to ABC News on Tuesday that the bill has still not been paid by the Trump campaign—and the city of Minneapolis has taken notice, even reaching out to the City of El Paso regarding the bill, according to El Paso Communications Director Laura Cruz-Acosta.

ABC News' Sasha Peznik contributed to this story.

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