President invoice Clinton and his wife started shipping furniture native the White residence to the Clintons" newly purchased residence in new York much more than a year ago, despite questions at the moment by the chef usher around whether they were entitled to remove the items.

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The day prior to the items to be shipped out, White house chief water level Gary J. Walters said he asked whether the Clintons need to be acquisition the furnishings due to the fact that he believed they were government property donated as part of a White home redecoration task in 1993, throughout Clinton"s an initial year in office.

But Walters to be told by the White house counsel"s office that the items that asked about -- which contained an iron and also glass coffee table, a painted TV armoire, a custom lumber gaming table, and a wicker center table with wood height -- to be "personal presents received by the Clintons prior to President Clinton"s suspect office."

Personal property brought to the White house by an incoming president does not have to be discover on gaue won reports. Together a an outcome of the counsel"s determination, the furnishings were sent out on to the Clintons" new home in Chappaqua. They to be not provided among the controversial presents Clinton revealed, the day before he left office this year, the he and his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), had taken with them.

However, federal government records display that the gifts that concerned Walters did no arrive in ~ the White residence until after the Clintons relocated in. At least one that the items, a Ficks-Reed wicker table, was logged in in ~ the White home on Feb. 8, 1993. Happiness Ficks, the widow that the manufacturer, said The Washington write-up last week it was meant for the White House, no the Clintons, and also she assumed it would stay there.

The Clintons" interior decorator, Kaki Hockersmith, had actually been soliciting gifts for the White home redecoration task even prior to the 1993 inauguration, according to several of those she approached. Walters stated he interpreted she was telling donors the the furnishings were because that the executive mansion rather than the Clintons personally.

"As much as we were concerned, they were government property," Walters said of all the gifts derived for the $396,000 redecoration project.

This week, the Clintons reverted the 4 items to the White House, together with other furnishings, after questions were raised about whether they in reality belonged come the Clintons. Nearly all the furnishings had been designated official White house property by the national Park organization in 1993.

Julia Payne, a spokeswoman for the previous president, said the Clintons want to be "overcautious" in light of the pertains to that had actually been raised. Despite the questions posed through Walters, Payne stated the Clintons or Hockersmith gained the four items in tiny Rock prior to they pertained to Washington.

"I don"t understand physically wherein the items were," Payne said, but "they were not compelled to put them on your financial disclosure form. He wasn"t chairman yet."

Hockersmith did not return repeated calls this main seeking comment.

The Clintons came under strong criticism after ~ disclosing that they were taking with them $190,000 in gifts received end the past eight years. GOP lawmakers and other critics chastised Hillary Clinton, in particular, for accepting a decision of gift just before she was sworn in together a senator and became spanned by strict ethics rules the prohibit the receipt of any type of gift worth much more than $50.

Bowing to together criticism, the Clintons determined on Feb. 2 to pay for $86,000 worth of presents given to them in the year 2000. This week, lock agreed come return another collection of gifts that had been donated to the White residence in previously years, consisting of six item they had actually not previously disclosed as having been taken. These contained the coffee table, the armoire, the gaming table and also the wicker table the Walters has asked about a year ago.

Yesterday, the nationwide Park business released an inventory of all the furnishings returned this mainly by the Clintons. It included $28,500 in furnishings determined by The short article earlier this main as having actually been legit designated as White home property through the Park Service.

The armoire, the coffee table and also the wicker center table to be trucked to new York top top Jan. 4, 2000, just before the Clintons moved into the $1.7 million home in suburban brand-new York, Walters stated yesterday. The gaming table and also most that the other furnishings the Clintons returned to White residence custodians this week had actually been taken from the White home last month in several shipments beginning Jan. 4, 2001, the work after Hillary Clinton to be sworn in.

Walters stated he embraced without a fuss the decision of the counsel"s office, in a memo date Jan. 3, 2000, the the presents were an individual Clinton property. In the memo, White home associate counsel Meredith Cabe said the reason the 4 items "arrived after the Clintons" was each items "was provided a special finish" under Hockersmith"s direction "to complement the design decor selected through the Clintons for individual rooms in their an individual space in the Residence." Cabe claimed she was relying on info from Hockersmith.

"I"m no a lawyer," Walters said. "I didn"t feel I remained in a place to argue through the counsel"s office."

Payne said, "No item, nothing, was eliminated without the approval that the usher"s and curator"s office."

Walters blamed himself for not raising any kind of questions as soon as the remainder of the furnishings to be taken native the White home last month. He said a Hillary Clinton aide, Eric Hothem, had actually told him these also were "the Clintons" an individual property."

"I should have asked for much more specifics on these items," Walters said. "I shoulder the blame for not saying, "Hey, wait a minute." "

In interviews this week, Walters claimed that Hockersmith called the so late Vincent Foster, climate the White residence deputy counsel, the the furnishings she to be soliciting for the 1993 redecoration job were expected for the White residence collection, no the Clintons personally.

Walters stated that Foster command him and the Park service in a march 24, 1993, memo to begin accepting the presents with officially acknowledgments, in order to making the furnishings government property. Walters stated he sent out thank-you letter of his own, however by law, the Park Service"s acknowledgments room what count since only it has actually the legal government to accept gifts for the White House.

Gifts intended for the an initial family are claimed to it is in routed through the White House gifts office, a different unit.

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Walters claimed it was long-standing plan to have the donors state "if feasible in writing, that the gift/donation is for the executive, management Residence or the Presidency, no the President."

Walters said Hockersmith was offered a copy of the policy and it was she job, as the one that solicited the gifts, to attain the letters. Yet no letters ever before materialized.

Walters said he do the efforts unsuccessfully to "close the loop" because that years. "It finally concerned the suggest of decision as soon as the Clintons bought their home in new York. They to be under the impression that these items were theirs to take."