It looks as though Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo will recoup the extra security costs from Monday’s Aspen fundraiser with Vice President Mike Pence after all — but not from the hosts of the event.
Pitkin County Republicans chair Anna Zane has been working closely with DiSalvo to arrange repayment.
“I’m working at the local level to make sure that the taxpayers are not on the hook for this. We are working very hard to make sure that’s taken care of,” she said. “This was not a local event, but we want to make sure it’s done right.”
To that end, at least one person has offered to pay for the local security effort that assisted Pence’s U.S. Secret Service detail. The task was managed by the sheriff’s office and included numerous public agencies.
The total bill was calculated at more than $24,000, but the Aspen Police Department is not seeking monetary compensation, which reduces the cost by $6,500.
“I’ve had three people volunteer to pay, and I hope that makes the host feel like s--t,” DiSalvo said.
He added that he still doesn’t know the identity of the Caribou Club member who hosted the $35,000-per-couple event at the downtown Aspen venue.
The name of the local donor willing to pay the security costs that DiSalvo has been seeking is unknown, too.
“I think they want to be a good Samaritan,” Zane said.
DiSalvo said he believes the payment situation will be sorted out by Monday.
“And I don’t even know how I feel about taking that money, but I will,” he said.
The issue has become a bit of a lightning rod for social media commentary this week. Some Aspen Daily News readers alluded to the behind-the-scenes arrangements being made.
“Laughing! You people sure get your panties in a knot quick! The bill will be paid. Such a joke!” Susan Callaway wrote on aspendailynews.com on Wednesday.
Similarly, Facebook comments have run the gamut from support for the Trump Administration and criticism of the newspapers that have run the story to outcries about taxpayers having to foot the bill for a nonpublic event.
“They still owe for their ‘big’ inauguration event. And his rallies too. Don’t hold your breath,” J.S. Walsh commented.
“After scanning your newspaper archives for a similar complaint and request for reimbursement from Michelle Obama’s skiing and shopping trip to Aspen in February 2015, I cannot find a similar article. Michelle Obama’s vacation cost the taxpayers a total of $121,876.21 of which $64,807 was for [U.S. Secret Service] protection. Did the city of Aspen receive reimbursement for this expense?” Patsy Weston observed.
“The hypocrisy of the left never ceases to astound me,” she continued.
Local officials have alluded to the difference between providing security assistance to a sitting president’s wife and children visiting the area for a scheduled vacation and a vice president traveling to raise money for the benefit of a political party.