More than a year after Bernie Sanders led a high-spirited rally in a public park in National City during his run for the presidency, he's finally paid his bill of more than $28,000 in municipal services, the mayor said Friday (October 6).
at 12th Street and D Avenue, National City
The money had been put up by the city mainly for overtime pay for police, fire, and public works personnel. Sixteen city blocks were blockaded for the May 21, 2016, campaign appearance in Kimball Park, an expanse that presents a challenge to security as it is flanked by high-rise apartment buildings. The Sanders camp gave the city three days' notice to do its part to host the event.
On August 1, 2017, the city council voted to sue. It wanted $28,340 in out-of-pocket expenses and about $3000 more in penalties and interest, On October 4th, officials were notified the Sanders campaign would pay up — interest, penalties, and all.
“We'd sent them notice after notice,” mayor Ron Morrison said by phone from Albuquerque, where he has been taking a few days of relaxation. “The city no longer has to sue. We're done with it now. We were not, quote, 'making money,’ unquote, on this.”
The Financial Credit Network, a collections agency contracted by the city, was to be filing a lawsuit in Vermont, where Sanders’s campaign committee lists its address. Sanders is a U.S. senator from Vermont. He lists himself as an independent, although he sought to be nominated for president by the Democratic Party.
But on Wednesday afternoon, a vice president of the Financial Credit Network sent the city finance manager an email. Sanders, it said, had paid in full with a certified check made out to the collections agency, and the amount was now credited to the City of National City.
“Nice present...” the collections executive noted.
The city's original invoice requested payment by June 2, 2016. In quick succession came a courtesy notice and then three notices of delinquency. Officials said the Sanders camp insisted the Secret Service should pay the bill, at least for police coverage.
An estimated 7000 people attended the May 21 campaign rally, held not long before the June 7 California primary. Mayor Morrison presented Sanders the key to the city and proclaimed it Bernie Sanders Day.
Hillary Clinton won 53 percent of the votes cast in that primary; Sanders, 46 percent; another 1 percent was scattered among minor candidates.