Freedom isn't free!
And, apparently, neither is booking the USA Freedom Kids.
People either fell in love with the USA Freedom Kids or wondered why their parents were forcing them to dance at Trump's rally in Pensacola, Florida on January 13.
But now the dance troupe will be suing the Republican presidential nominee's campaign.
USA Freedom Kids say that the Trump campaign broke verbal agreements and have not paid the group for the two events they performed at, even refusing to pay $2,500 for travel expenses.
Stephanie Scruggs, a regional field director wrote to the founder of the troupe, and father of one of the dancers, Jeff Popick in an email from January 5, stating,
We are not able to pay the girls or cover travel. However we have coordinated with the event space to allow the girls to set up a table and pre-sell their album, shirts, etc if this is helpful to you.
Popick agreed as he believed the group could earn more than the cost of travel in merchandise sales. However, there was no merchandise table. On top of that, security wouldn't allow the girls to bring in their merchandise.
The merchandise was left outside in the parking lot. All of their t-shirts, CDs and posters were stolen while the girls performed.
Despite losing all of their merch, the girls were thrilled that their dance was going viral. Popick asked the Trump campaign about performing for them again.
The campaign offered them a slot in Iowa, when Trump skipped out on a debate to host his own rally, but would not pay for travel from Florida.
The lawyer representing the USA Freedom Kids, Marc Shapiro, said,
They had said, well Iowa's a pretty long distance for us to travel. There's plane flights up there, and hotels and so forth, would you give us a stipend so that we can travel up there and perform. The Trump campaign said no, you would have to pay your own way.
The girls and Popick hopped a redeye to Chicago O'Hare but then they were informed that they would not be performing. He said,
It was a long, overnight odyssey. They were exhausted, but excited to perform. We flew non-stop to Chicago, and then had to drive another 5½ hours to Des Moines. It wasn't until after we were already in the vehicle about an hour or two into it that we had to break the news to the girls.
Trump's campaign had saved seats for the dancers, but they were only allowed to stay if they did not speak to the media, a difficult task as they were wearing their iconic outfits and their seats were next to the media enclosure.
Now, after nine months of trying to deal with Trump's team, they will be suing the campaign in Sarasota County, Florida for $15,000 in damages.
Popick went on to clarify why he is seeking these damages, saying,
This is not an opportunistic thing where we're suing Donald Trump. We're not suing for emotional distress and all that other stuff that people do when they trump up — no pun intended — when they trump up a lawsuit. That's not what this is. This is tangible dollars I spent under false pretenses.