WECT INVESTIGATES: Trump camp pays bill for 2016 rally this week

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The Trump for President campaign sent a $4,000 check to UNC Wilmington Wednesday, more than a year and a half after it held a rally at Trask Coliseum for then-Republican nominee Donald Trump.

The issue of the existing debt came to light after WECT started investigating whether presidential campaigns paid their bills from public rallies held in Wilmington during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The rally at Trask Coliseum appears to be the only event where a candidate continued to owe money.

The Trump campaign and the College Republicans of UNCW jointly rented the facility in 2016. Last week, UNCW officials confirmed to WECT that there was still an outstanding balance of $3,899.25.

"One payment was made by the campaign to cover the estimated cost of the event. A final payment was due after the event, and the university continues to work to secure the outstanding balance," according to a university official.

Messages to several members of the College Republicans were not returned over the last several days, but the university sent a new statement Tuesday morning to WECT.

"We have been assured by the NC GOP that the remaining balance is in the process of being paid."

A Trump campaign official says an attempt was made to pay this bill shortly after the rally in 2016, but for reasons unknown, the check was not cashed. Another check sent in 2017 also did not hit its intended target. After learning of the outstanding debt this week, the campaign worked to resolve the situation quickly.

Trump visited Wilmington twice during the general election in 2016, but only once at a publicly-owned facility.

Trump spoke to thousands Saturday afternoon at his rally at the Air Wilmington Hangar (Source: WECT)
Trump spoke to thousands Saturday afternoon at his rally at the Air Wilmington Hangar (Source: WECT)

The second rally took place at Air Wilmington, which is a private hangar near Wilmington International Airport, only days before the election. Since that second rally took place on private property, we don't know for certain if the final bill was paid. We reached out to Bill Cherry, the president of Air Wilmington, on multiple occasions, but have yet to hear back.

The Democratic nominee for President in 2016, Hillary Clinton, did not hold a rally in the Port City, but her vice presidential running mate Tim Kaine appeared twice. A representative from the Hannah Block USO confirmed Democratic officials paid the regular rate to use the facility for an event in September 2016.

We have a message out to the Brooklyn Arts Center, which was the location for the second rally, to see if bills were paid for a November rally by Kaine there. However, since it's a private facility, that information is not required to be released by the facility.

Former President Bill Clinton spoke outside of Cape Fear Community College's Union Station Commons Wednesday in support of his wife, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and her bid for the White House. (Source: WECT)
Former President Bill Clinton spoke outside of Cape Fear Community College's Union Station Commons Wednesday in support of his wife, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and her bid for the White House. (Source: WECT)

In October 2016, former President Bill Clinton held a rally for his spouse at the Union Station Commons on the campus of Cape Fear Community College. CFCC officials confirm Democrats have paid for the use of the public area. The college provided the rental agreement below.

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