Christmas spirit dies on Obama’s watch; ornament-hawking White House gift shop goes bankrupt

by
October 11, 2013

In another sign of the tough times in Washington these days, the White House Gift Shop, long run by a nonprofit group that helps uniformed Secret Service officers and their families, has gone broke.

The Secret Service Uniformed Division Benefit Fund, which traces its roots to the 1940s and for years did business as the official White House Gift Shop, lists more than $600,000 in liabilities in a pending bankruptcy petition in Washington.

The fund — which operated independently of the White House and Secret Service, and was not a part of the government — disclosed tens of thousands of dollars in assets consisting mostly of Christmas decorations, as well as such trinkets as magnets, puzzles and paperweights, many valued at just a few dollars each.

The price of more than 140 Democratic and Republican mouse pads is listed as “???” in court records, while 10 unsold copies of the book “Adams’ Alligator” go for $8.48.

The bankruptcy petition, filed in June in a case that remains active, doesn’t explain why the fund went bankrupt in the first place, but court records reveal a recent history of tax troubles and litigation.

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