Who owes SPD a lot of money?

This is a followup to last week’s briefing on SPD’s overtime audit. In a side note, it was pointed out that SPD bills event organizers after the fact for police services, but has poor follow-through on collecting on those bill. Council member Burgess had asked SPD for a list of the organizations with the biggest outstanding bills, and noted that it was interesting to see who owes SPD money — and particularly how many federal government agencies made the list.

Burgess’s office gave me a copy of the list, and it is indeed interesting.

Here’s the full list.

The award for largest outstanding debt — $168,303 —  goes to One Reel, the organizer of the annual Bumbershoot concert. You would think with the ridiculous amount of money they charge for tickets (for what used to be a free city-wide concert) they could manage to pay their bill, which is over 120 days past due.

But Burgess is indeed right: federal agencies seem to have issues paying their bills as well. Those agencies include:

  • DEA: $27,766
  • FBI: $90,891
  • Immigrations and Customs Service: $10,153

In addition, Seattle Center owes $35,000 — strange, since the Seattle Center is run by the City of Seattle.  The Space Needle, a private corporation, owes $1,455 that is well past due. The Port of Seattle owes $52,909, over a month past due. And VODA Studios, which does TV ads and music video shoots for folks such as Macklemore, is more than two months past due on their $9,247 bill.

You would think that people would be highly incented to pay their police bills on time.   Overall the list accounts for more than $450,000 of unpaid bills; that is a rounding error in SPD’s annual budget, but as was pointed out last week it certainly shows one more aspect of the police department’s operation that is not well managed.