by Caitlin Bronson
The city of Cleveland voted Wednesday to purchase $50 million in liability insurance in preparation for the Republican National Convention – a five-fold increase over what was originally planned – as threats of protest and even attack during the official nomination of Donald Trump grow stronger.
National political parties require cities hosting presidential conventions to procure liability insurance, but Cleveland’s policy provides limits much higher than have been written in previous years. The city Board of Control greenlit a $9.5 million fee to broker AON Risk Services Northeast, far outstripping the $1.7 million officials in Tampa, Florida spent in 2012 when they hosted the GOP convention.
Philadelphia, which is holding the Democratic convention, is also expected to spend much less in insurance fees.
That’s down to the tone of the tumultuous Republican race for the White House, said Cleveland Finance Director Sharon Dumas.
“Given the climate nationally and internationally, the risk assessment was higher than it’s been for other conventions,” Dumas told the Associated Press.
In a separate interview with Cleveland.com, she added that the “national trend of conflicts and the risks associated with the convention” justified the higher-than-planned expense.
Various Trump campaign events have resulted in violence and even arrests arising from scuffles between supporters and anti-Trump demonstrators, and a police officer was assaulted during a June 3 rally in San Jose, California.
The environment in Cleveland is likely to be similarly contentious as groups confirming travel to the city include Trump supporters, anti-Trump protestors, a white nationalist group and the controversial Westboro Baptist Church.
Together, Cleveland is expecting between 50,000 and 75,000 extra people in its downtown area during the convention.
“There’s such a huge range of things that can happen when you have that many people with so many different viewpoints together in a city,” Christine Link, executive director of the Ohio ACLU told the Huffington Post.
The city will pay for the insurance policy through a $50 million federal security grant approved in December. However, the heightened cost of the coverage will require it to scale back on money previously allocated to personnel, supplies and capital equipment.
The convention will be held July 18-21 in Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena.
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