Atherton awaits payment for Obama visit to town | June 12, 2013 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - June 12, 2013

Atherton awaits payment for Obama visit to town

by Renee Batti

Dear Town of Atherton: The check is not in the mail.

That letter could have been written by the White House, or by the Democratic National Committee, or by one of several residents, delivering a clear message: Don't expect reimbursement anytime soon for Atherton's cost — about $7,600 — for police and public works services provided for the April 4 presidential visit to your fair town.

But the town hasn't abandoned all hope, City Manager George Rodericks says.

Mr. Rodericks announced shortly after President Obama's April visit for two fundraising events that the town would be "contacting all parties involved" to seek repayment for providing extra services. He sent invoices to the White House, the Secret Service, the DNC, and residents who hosted the two events: Marcia and John Goldman, and Liz Simons and Mark Heising.

The town received a response from one of the residents "requesting additional clarification on the rationale for the invoice and history," Mr. Rodericks said in a report to the City Council. The DNC also wrote back, saying it won't pay the bill, and suggesting that the town might have more luck getting reimbursed by the Secret Service, he said.

At this point, Mr. Rodericks told the Almanac, the town's only recourse is to continue to pursue reimbursement from the homeowners who hosted the events. "Or, we could sue the White House — but we're not going to do that."

He said town staff is prepared to "go through a lot of hoops and hurdles" to entreat the homeowners for repayment "in a more formal way than just a letter." If all else fails, he said, the town could attach a lien on the properties and collect the money through the property tax rolls.

The events included a brunch, where tickets went for $32,400 per person; and a luncheon, where tickets started at $1,000 per person. Lunch and a photo with the president cost $5,000, or $7,500 for two people.


Posted by Tsk tsk tsk, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jun 11, 2013 at 11:10 pm

A lien on the property? For a debt that is as poorly perfected as a notion of reimbursement for police services? That would be a bad faith lien and would be really ill-advised.

Posted by sr, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jun 16, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Think it would set an unfortunate precedent. Leave the homeowners alone. Go after the secret service if they requested the services of the Atherton police.