Clintons Return $28G in Gifts

Wednesday, February 7th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday returned $28,000 worth of donated sofas, rugs and other furnishings they took when he left office. They acted because it was unclear whether the gifts were meant for them or the White House collection.

``As a result of the questions being asked, the property is being returned to government custody until such time that the issues can be resolved,'' said Jim McDaniel, the National Park Service's liaison to the White House. ``It may well turn out that that property is rightly the personal property of the Clintons. I think those questions have yet to be resolved.''

After they were criticized for taking $190,000 worth of china, flatware, rugs, televisions, sofas and other gifts with them when they left, the Clintons announced last week that they would pay for $86,000, or nearly half the amount.

The latest decision to return about $28,000 other gifts brings to $114,000 the value of items the Clintons have either decided to pay for, or return.

The Park Service and the White House Curator's Office took another look at the gift inventory after $28,000 worth of items the Clintons took were discovered a list of donations given to the Park Service for the 1993 White House redecoration project. The Washington Post quoted three donors this week as saying that the furnishings they gave were intended for the White House, not the Clintons.

``As a result of questions about the status of certain property donated to the White House during the Clinton administration, the National Park Service will accept the return of the property in question and act as a custodian of such property,'' a statement released by the Park Service said.

The Clinton's transition office had no immediate comment.

A person familiar with the Clintons' move out of the White House, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: ``They've been returned.''