Obama's campaign owes city 24G and it would be welcome
By Daily News Staff
Philadelphia Daily News
BARACK OBAMA spent a record $760 million getting himself elected president. But his campaign, Obama for America, still owes Philadelphia nearly $24,000 for several pre-election events, and the cash-strapped city hasn't given up its collection efforts.
The most expensive event was an Oct. 4 rally on the Parkway, featuring Bruce Springsteen. The city's expenses came to $9,050, including sound systems, lighting, platforms, bleachers and clean-up costs.
There were smaller charges for a series of Obama appearances on Oct. 11, at Progress Plaza, the Mayfair Diner and Vernon Park, and $3,666 for a Joe Biden rally at Marconi Plaza the day before the election.
Mechelle Sabb, special-event coordinator in the Managing Director's Office, said the bills remain unpaid in spite of a December letter sent to Obama headquarters in Chicago, warning that non-payment could jeopardize his welcome at future events in Philadelphia or Fairmount Park.
Calls to the White House press office were referred to Democratic National Committee, which sent Clout back to the White House. No one would talk on the record, but one source said the campaign would quickly write a check to cover the charges.
The city's collection efforts came to light through Adam Lang, 31, a computer-network engineer who lives in the Sharswood section of North Philadelphia. He wanted to test the city's compliance with the state's new public-records law. He asked for the city's records on the Obama rallies, and the Managing Director's Office provided them a week later.
"I commend their response," said Lang, a Republican who challenged U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah in the November election. "I have absolutely zero complaint."
This article appeared in the Daily News's Clout column on February 20, 2009.