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Thursday, 8 February, 2001, 14:15 GMT
Clintons return disputed gifts
Bill Clinton
The gifts included china, coffee tables and golf clubs
Former US President Bill Clinton and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton have returned $28,000 worth of White House furnishings they took with them when he left office.

A spokesman for the Clintons, Jake Siewert, said that "at this point, everything's been returned to the Park Service, and we'll leave it to them to decide what to do about it".

The couple have come under a flood of criticism from politicians and the media over expensive gifts they received in their final year in the White House.

The Clintons have argued that none of the gifts they took, including some $23,000 worth of household furnishings, was on a curator's list of official White House property.

Pay-back time

Last week they announced they would pay back $86,000 - slightly less than half the value of the $190,000 in gifts they are reported to have received.

Gift list
Denise Rich: Coffee tables and chairs, $7,300
Ronald and Beth Dozoretz: Dining table, server and golf clubs, $7,000
Steven Spielberg: China, $4,920
Ted Danson and Mary Steenburger: China, $4,800
Jack Nicholson: Golf club, $350
Sylvester Stallone: Boxing gloves, $300
The National Park Service, which acts as a steward for the White House, said it would keep the furniture until the ownership question was resolved.

The White House curator's office is working with the Clintons to clear up any confusion about whether the items the couple took were personal gifts or items that were supposed to stay, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said.

Two furniture makers whose donations the Clintons took with them have said their gifts were part of the $396,000 refurbishment of the executive mansion, and were not meant for the Clintons personally, the Washington Post reported.

But Bill Clinton's office issued a statement saying the furniture was removed from the executive mansion with the approval of the White House Usher's and Curator's Offices.

Clinton friends

The controversial gifts include two coffee tables and chairs worth $7,375 from Denise Rich, a top Democratic Party fundraiser.

Clintons' new home
The Clintons have a new $1.7m home in Chappaqua, New York

Mrs Rich spent last year lobbying for a presidential pardon for her former husband, who fled the country in 1983 under indictment for tax evasion and racketeering. Marc Rich received a pardon from the former president as he left office.

The gifts being repaid include furniture, televisions, clothing, china and works of art.

Also among the people to be repaid are movie mogul Steven Spielberg and actors Kate Capshaw, Ted Danson and Mary Steenburger.

Actor Jack Nicholson is also expected to receive payment for a golf driver worth $350.

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See also:

03 Feb 01 | Americas
Clintons try to defuse gifts furore
26 Jan 01 | Americas
Clinton gifts under scrutiny
20 Jan 01 | Americas
Clinton pardons 100
20 Jan 01 | PM
Where next for Clinton?
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