Trump Security May Cost NYC $100 Million by Summer

Depending on the Trump family living arrangements, the city will have to pay $500,000 for each day Trump is in town
January 20, 2017 10:54 am Last Updated: January 21, 2017 4:49 pm

NEW YORK—Security measures around Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan could cost the city and its residents upwards of $100 million in lost business and police expenditures by summer, based on estimates released by the New York Police Department and local business representatives.

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Since Election Day, the NYPD set up barricades and security checkpoints around Trump Tower, the home of President-elect Donald Trump and his family on busy Fifth Avenue between 56th and 57th streets.

Local businesses, including prominent brands like Tiffany & Co., have complained that the arrangement repels customers.

The NYPD have complained the arrangement ties up a significant number of officers.

Trump’s post-inauguration plans remain unclear. But both NYPD and the business community released estimates at a Jan. 10 city council hearing shedding light on the financial impact of the security measures.

Lost Business

Local businesses have already lost over $40 million in sales, according to Tom Cusick, president of the Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District. That includes retail on Fifth Avenue between 55th and 58th streets and on 57th Street between Madison and Sixth avenues. A number of luxury brands maintain their flagship stores in the area, including Gucci, Giorgio Armani Boutique, Tiffany & Co., and Louis Vuitton.

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The situation has been improving since Election Day, Cusick said, partly because the NYPD has responded to businesses’ pleas and rearranged security to make the area more inviting to consumers.

Tiffany & Co., which rents an expansive space in Trump Tower, set up a walkway that allows customers to enter the store without passing through the security checkpoint.

“This was done in consultation with the Secret Service and police,” Cusick said. “The change has dramatically helped, with improved pedestrian traffic and sales.”

Dozens of businesses on 56th Street have been hit to varying degrees, but haven’t organized to release a total dollar figure. Derek Walsh, owner of Judge Roy Bean Public House, organized a petition to the city on behalf of the businesses on 56th Street, but didn’t respond to a request for an estimate of the losses incurred.

Discussions with managers and employees of about a dozen local businesses indicated the losses reach into at least the hundreds of thousands.

The situation on 56th Street has improved since it was opened to traffic on Dec. 28 between Fifth and Sixth avenues, Cusick said.

Police Costs

The NYPD has refused, for security reasons, to specify how many officers it uses to secure the tower. It has, however, estimated the security detail will stretch its budget by $37.4 million by the inauguration on Jan. 20.

The expenses stem mostly from overtime pay needed to provide security around Trump Tower while maintaining patrol strength in the many precincts where officers are drawn from.

Every additional day Trump spends at the tower as president will cost the NYPD $500,000, said Vincent Grippo, NYPD deputy commissioner for management and budget, at the city council hearing.

Trump has mostly stayed in his office and apartment at the tower during the transition and may still come to the city on weekends, his advisers told The New York Times.

His wife, Melania, may continue to live in the apartment until their son, Barron, finishes the school year in the summer. The NYPD is discussing with the Secret Service what level of security would be necessary for Melania and Barron alone, Grippo said. They haven’t reached a conclusion yet.

If the family stays and Trump visits for two days every weekend until the end of the school year, the NYPD would run a bill of $22 million on presidential visits alone, excluding the security for the family.

If the security remains at current levels until the end of June, the bill would balloon to more than $80 million.

So far, Congress has appropriated $7 million to reimburse law enforcement for security related to Trump.

That means the city already has a negative balance of over $70 million in police costs and lost business revenues, with $22 million to $80 million in expenditures still on the horizon.