By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE and MAGGIE HABERMAN New York Times
Over the years, Donald Trump or his businesses have been accused of stiffing carpenters, dishwashers and lawyers, leaving a trail of lawsuits and grudges in his wake. Now he is in a billing dispute with one of his own campaign aides.
Trump's most recent filing with the Federal Election Commission indicates that his campaign has disputed a bill for $766,756 from a vendor, the well-regarded Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio.
The amount is listed as a "contested debt" in the Oct. 27 filing. Under FEC rules, contested debt refers to "a bona fide disagreement between the creditor and the committee as to the existence of a debt or the amount owed by the committee."
Fabrizio, who records show was paid another $623,629 in September by the Trump campaign, did not reply to an e-mail seeking comment. A campaign spokesman, Jason Miller, said the debt was "an administrative issue that we're resolving internally." He declined to elaborate. The dispute was reported by the Washington Post.
Fabrizio was hired in the spring as Trump found himself in a protracted primary fight for the Republican nomination. A veteran pollster, he was an ally of Paul Manafort, the ousted Trump campaign chief, with whom Fabrizio worked on then-Sen. Bob Dole's 1996 presidential campaign.
Fabrizio also has worked for Trump's businesses over the years. But he is known for presenting bad news to clients in unvarnished fashion, something that Trump has not always handled well during the presidential campaign. Among other things, he participated in a meeting in August in which advisers urged Trump to maintain his focus and stop engaging in self-defeating fights.