A popular gift shop located just blocks away from the White House has filed for
bankruptcy protection. The shop known as the “Official White House Gift Shop” claims
it is unable to pay their creditors with outstanding liabilities in the
hundreds of thousands of dollars. The shop is known for selling memorabilia
and commemorative items to Washington D.C. area tourists. The shop is
closed during the government shutdown and it is not expected to reopen
once lawmakers reach an agreement.
The gift shop collects funds for a nonprofit organization designated to
help Secret Service agents and their families called the Secret Service
Uniformed Division Benefit Fund. The fund was started after an assassination
attempt on President Harry Truman that left one White House police officer
killed and two wounded.
According to documents related to the filing the shop has liabilities at
roughly $600,000. They also claim to have $6,000 in unpaid taxes. In recent
years the shop has lost revenue of over $100,000. Some of the expenses
listed the shop had included hockey tournaments, golf, and soccer for
employees that totaled more than $10,000 in 2011. Over $1,000 in floral
arrangements were paid during the same year for hospital stays and funerals
of Secret Service members.
The shop owners will attempt to sell assets to pay their creditors, but
there has been doubt as to how much they can raise. A trustee stated that
many of their assets, such as magnets, paperweights, and mouse pads, have
little or no value. They have Christmas ornaments (77,000 valued at $50,000)
and a commemorative plaque (valued at $500) that may help raise roughly $6,000.