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White House Gift Shop Files for Bankruptcy

Image: White House Gift Shop Files for Bankruptcy

Friday, 11 Oct 2013 10:08 AM

By Lisa Furgison

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Federal buildings remain closed during the government shutdown, but it looks like the White House Gift Shop will remain closed even after lawmakers work out their differences. The gift shop is bankrupt, according to court documents filed recently.

A nonprofit organization sold White House trinkets such as Air Force One Christmas ornaments, from a brick and mortar shop at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.,  according to The Washington Times. Located just two blocks from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, it billed itself as the "Official White House Gift Shop," selling commemorative items to tourists.

Editor's Note: Ordinary Man Retires at 42. His Secret to Success . . .

The proceeds from the gift shop went to the Secret Service Uniformed Division Benefit Fund, which helped Secret Service agents and their families.

Court documents list about $600,000 in liabilities in a pending bankruptcy petition, which includes about $6,000 in back taxes.

According to IRS forms compiled by CitizenAudit.org, the benefit fund lost $24,000 in 2011 with a reported revenue of $273,000. That's almost a $100,000 decrease from the $365,000 in revenue the fund reported three years prior.

The most recent financial report lists several expenses for 2011, which include $10,550 to cover golf, soccer, and hockey tournaments for employees, and another $1,100 for flowers sent to hospital rooms or funerals of Secret Service members.

According to the Times, a trustee for the fund, Wendell Webster, is now trying to sell off the remaining assets in an attempt to pay creditors. However, the list of assets, which include mouse pads, magnets, and paperweights, won't add up to much, says Webster.

The highest ticket item on the list is a Cal Ripken commemorative plaque valued at $500. About 77,000 Christmas ornaments are valued at $50,000, but Webster expects the ornaments to bring in about $5,600.

Reports about the financially strapped gift shop surfaced last year. At that time, reports indicated the shop could pay to restock the shelves, but couldn't cover employee salaries.

According to The Los Angeles Times, the Secret Service Uniformed Division Benefit Fund was created after a White House police officer was killed and two others wounded during an assassination attempt on President Harry Truman, The Los Angeles Times reports.

Editor's Note: Ordinary Man Retires at 42. His Secret to Success . . .

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