The organizer of this month’s “Trumpstock” festival is threatening legal action against the city of Kingman and Mohave County after permitting issues and a sudden change of venue for the event led to sparse attendance.

Trumpstock was meant to be a celebration of America’s 45th president, with thousands of Donald Trump supporters in attendance at Mohave County Fairgrounds. It was a festival featuring music, politicians, VIPs and one U.S. congressman, all proceeds from the event would go to Mohave County veterans. Now organizer Laurie Bezick says the event has left her financially broken, with little to give the event’s would-be beneficiaries thanks to contention from the Kingman Police Department and Mohave County officials.

“I am now $10,000 in debt,” Bezick said in a video posted to her Facebook page on Oct. 9. “I can’t afford to eat, my cell phone is shut off, we have to move because I can’t pay my rent … I am $10,000 in debt because I had about 3,000 who wanted to show up. Because I had to move my venue, only about 150 people showed up.”

Best laid plans

According to Facebook posts by Bezick, she had been planning Trumpstock since as early as March 2018, with multiple venues considered before Bezick applied to hold her event at the Mohave County Fairgrounds in Kingman. The event was scheduled to take place Oct. 4 through Oct. 6, and Bezick paid a $1,000 deposit to use the location, and began advertising the event through social media.

One day before the event was scheduled to take place, the Kingman Police Department denied Bezick’s permit to hold Trumpstock at the fairgrounds, due to security concerns. The denial prompted a last-minute change of venue for the event, to more than 30 acres of private property owned by All-American Pizza, in Golden Valley. When the City of Kingman prematurely announced on Facebook that Trumpstock was canceled, however, Bezick says the damage may have been irreparable.

According to Bezick, she had arranged to sell alcohol at the event, provided by veterans nonprofit Veterans United AZ. The proceeds from those sales would be donated to Mohave County veterans as well as 25% of all ticket sales. Instead, Bezick says, Mohave County officials forbade her from selling liquor at the event due to lack of a permit from the county to do so.

“I couldn’t pay my people,” Bezick said on the video. “I couldn’t pay a lot of people. I feel horrible … I have all these bills to pay. I don’t know how I’m gonna do it. I’m broke. I put so much money into this, I tried to make everybody happy and it wasn’t good enough. I can’t feed my kid, I can’t keep a roof over my head. I wanted to bring everyone together, have fun, celebrate being an American and our president. I couldn’t even do that. And our veterans really got screwed.”

Bezick appealed to viewers on her Facebook page last week, asking that they contact the Mohave County Fairgrounds Association and urge officials to return the $1,000 deposit she initially paid to use the location. Her deposit was never refunded.

While she remains a supporter of President Trump, Bezick says she will change her voter registration to “Independent,” having become disenfranchised with the Republican Party. She also says she may hold another Trumpstock event, but it will not be in Arizona. Bezick has said on Facebook that she intends to sue the City of Kingman and Mohave County for fraud her with malicious intent. That lawsuit has not been filed in Mohave Superior Court as of Monday.

Concerns for Mohave County

Trumpstock was a topic for discussion at Monday’s Mohave County Board of Supervisors meeting, where supervisors were confused and disheartened at the chain of events that led to the event’s lack of success.

“The whole thing was so disturbing, the way it happened,” said Supervisor Hildy Angius. “I’ve been getting conflicting stories about what happened the day they denied the permit. They moved the event to the county without any notice … I’d like to get information from whoever was involved in the initial rejection, and see a report about the sequence of events.”

Angius requested at the meeting that county officials contact Kingman representatives to find out, if possible, how events unfolded as they did for Trumpstock.

“My concern is about our part in the event process,” Angius said. “Apparently we’re not letting people know well enough in advance what the procedure is. But letting event organizers know their permit’s denied the day before it’s scheduled? That should never happen. I want the county to have a specific policy, and the board just wants more information on how these things happen.”

According to Supervisor Buster Johnson, Besick’s situation was untenable, but her failure to secure proper permitting with the county before Trumpstock’s change of venue could have put any number of eventgoers at risk.

“The county needed to stick by its own rules and regulations,” Johnson said. “Trumpstock was promoted as an event intended for ‘thousands’ … our permits are there in order to protect health, safety and welfare of visitors of these events.”

For Bezick, however, a special event permit from Mohave County would have required six months’ advance notice. Due to the Kingman Police Department’s denial of her permit to use the Mohave County Fairgrounds, Bezick had one day to prepare for her event.

Because of this, Johnson said, the event had no insurance, no signage, no traffic control, no alcohol permit, no camping permit, no restroom facilities, no patio extension for drinking on-property at the location, no approval from the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office and no food safety inspection. According to Johnson, the event – which also featured an appearance by Congressman Paul Gosar – also had no professional security agency to provide protection for guests and VIPs.

“We just had the two-year anniversary of the Las Vegas shooting,” Johnson said. “They had permits, had security – it had everything that was required, and a tragedy still happened.”

According to Johnson, officials from the Mohave County Public Works Department and the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office told Bezick that if her event became too crowded, she would have to get proper permitting.

County officials are expected to examine permitting statutes, and determine what steps, if any, could prevent such circumstances from happening again.

Attempting to recover

Last Thursday, Bezick announced that she had moved to Las Vegas. As of Monday morning, attempts to contact Bezick by telephone were unsuccessful. Supporters of Bezick have created a GoFundMe account to help Bezick recover financially from Trumpstock’s loss. That account can be found by visiting www.gofundme.com, and typing "Trumpstock" into the search bar.

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(26) comments

tomgarven

I just know I am going to get lots of negative comments over this posting but I have a far different opinion that many others posting here. I hope to heavens I never plan an event which requires an Event Permit and after the event has failed it seems like many people couldn't be more happy that a fellow American failed and is now suffering financial loss. Failures at one point in our history as a country were viewed as a learning experiences. And after the person learned their lesson their friends and neighbors pulled together and helped them recover. The way she was treated by the County was to me at best; rude and quite likely illegal. It was also as a minimum an un-American act of defiance to our right as an Americans to peaceful assembly and speak to others as defined in the 1st Amendment to our Constitution. This is most likely not going to end well.

When I first read the previous version of this story I wrote out a laundry list of about 15 questions and yes some of them were repetitive but I believed the County needed to answer or address at least a few of them. Why was there only one days notice? If we expect event organizers to lay out a $1000 bucks for a permit and then that permit is denied, when will they be able to address the County Board of Supervisors for a hearing or an appeal? And when will they be able to address the Board of Supervisor to request a return of their permit fee? And where pray tell is the listing of the approved security firms the County is now mandating be used for certain types of events. You just can't invent a new requirement the day before an event without notification to an event organizer who has possibly spent thousands and expect not to be sued. If you paid out several thousands for incentives for travel, vendor support and other event costs or maybe spent a couple of hundred of man hours making arrangements; would that type of behavior make you angry. If the County demands armed security then they have a responsibility to provide a listing of where those approved services can be obtained. Anything else just becomes a guessing game. And of course these approved agencies need to be independent from any County employee or Board Members influence. And who establishes the criteria that defines WHICH events require either armed or unarmed security forces. Would that be the Chief of Police and how many days in advance must the Chief meet with the event organizers? I reviewed the Special Event permit for guidance and found nothing about who or when these types of things must happen. And what is the role of the County Transporation services. Is the extent of their involvement to provide approval of a traffic plan and who will they be calling upon for traffic control. Is that a County function or a contractrated service and if contracted when must the contractor approve the plan. I found no guidance for those types of actions either. A Special Permit application is silent on many of these topics. Expecting an event coordinator to guess what the County wants, when it want it, how much it will cost and who must approve a certain permit level permit are all undefined. The County can't continue to live in a bubble and expect to be judged by the public as helpful and responsive to the needs of the people they are elected to serve.

Some people might think this is some type of joke but don't ask any of those personnel who were shot at a Vegas Concerts or in some of our government offices or our schools. They might have a slightly different opinion what we need to be doing.

The 1st Amendment to our Constitution is very clear. An American has the legal right to to peaceable assembly and speak at a public gathering place. Those rights shall not be infringed. This whole mess could turn into a full blown fight to disrupt EVERY political event held in Mohave County unless we make some serious efforts to correct what to me are significant deficiencies .

The saddest part of this posting is that while we fight amongst ourselves the actions we need from our government go undone. In the end it will be We-The-People who are going to suffer from this political nonsense.

HwyRovr

Sorry, Tom, not this time [thumbdown][thumbdown][thumbdown]

tomgarven

As I expected HwyRovr.

HwyRovr

Pleased I did not disappoint.

simon1dog

Thank you Tom, well said!

HwyRovr

Still curious, Simple. How much have you donated to the gofundme account?

simon1dog

Howdy, much like Donald Trump's tax returns are no business of yours or anyone else, neither is my record of substantial financial donations to worthwhile causes. Now if you're wondering what I ate for breakfast this morning that's a different story; steak and eggs with a cup of decaf.

tomgarven

[beam]

tomgarven

Well this smile face didn't end up in the right spot.

tomgarven

[smile]

Roco

Just checked the gofundme account and only $200 of 10,000 has been funded as of 2 weeks ago. Seems like she has a lot of support from her fellow trumpsters.s/

HavasuGuy

[beam][beam][beam]

HwyRovr

One can only wonder how much Simple has donated?

Dawn King

I saw that, too. What I'm questioning is other than the $1k deposit Bezick had to fork out for the special event permit (which will be returned) how in the heck did she spend $10k on an event that didn't happen? Why would anyone obviously so financially strapped as Bezick take such a risk to "lose everything?" From the get go, this whole trumpstock proposal sounded more like a bogus attempt to separate diehard trump supporters from their money, rather than to support trump, America or to raise funding for veterans' organizations. Earlier articles indicated discrepancies in her application information, and this article even states she was only donating 25% of the ticket sales to veterans' groups. So, where was the other 75% going? Doesn't really matter at this point, but the gofundme site indicates she's also not getting much sympathy from the party of trump. Kingman made a good call in not supporting this self-serving "event."

HwyRovr

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

simon1dog

Howdy, HG, put down the bottles of "Geritol". Put them down and slowly back away. You two geezers need more than iron in your blood. You're both deficient in the gray matter department. I know of nothing that'll help you two other than maybe a nip or nap.

HwyRovr

Silly little Simple. Never has anything of value to say but he bleats away day after day. If he wasn't so funny it would be a waste of time to read his trash.

happy coot

I completely support Supervisor Johnson for pointing out all the reasons not to permit this event. And I'm tired of the so called reporting of this story every day in the bird cage liner, it's a waste of paper and ink, even my bird won't read it but he likes to use it for his bathroom. Lets get past this garbage and focus on how the city can flush more money down the drain on worthless projects ie. way fair, Riviera, ghost mall etc.

HavasuGuy

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

simon1dog

You are correct in one respect: 100% wrong

HwyRovr

Of course I am right, you have always been 100% wrong and I thank you for clarifying that point.

HavasuGuy

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

HavasuGuy

[thumbdown][thumbdown][thumbdown]

simon1dog

Anytime you say "mark my words" I have to laugh. Of all the times you've said that (hundreds) not once have you been right.

HwyRovr

Ahh, Simple, aren't' you cute? Wrong as usual because my tack record for stating facts runs 100% while you don't have courage to respond to anything I post with nothing more than simpleminded ignorance.

HwyRovr

Honestly? Am I the only one who could see Loserpalooza was destined to be a complete failure? Mohave County DOTs are well known for "supporting" the moron in the White House until it comes time to actually laying out some cash and then they run like cockroaches exposed to light. Mark my words this GoFundMe account will do good to raise a hundred bucks.

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