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vekalat-talagh > Treasure Hunt > Part 7
"Fifty million dollars?"

"Somewhere in there, I'm pretty sure. With everything, I mean all the programs, Sunset's probably serving five thousand people a day, all told, citywide. It adds up."

"I'll say. So where's all that money come from?"

"Everywhere, Mickey, are you kidding me? Individual philanthropists, foundations, tuition and other income from the schools, moving company fees and the sale of the redeveloped buildings. I mean, a lot of these things are profit centers in themselves. But also there's a ton of public health money from the city. . . ."

"This city? I thought we were in a budget crunch."

She nodded. "Always. But even if they cut way back, the Health Services Department is going to stay the single biggest agency in the city."

"Is that true? The biggest?"

Alicia shook her head. "I'm sure that's right. I think they're in for five million to us, just Sunset. But then there's also AmeriCorps, which is federal and funds the Battalion, for another several mil. And then there's all the just day-to-day regular fund-raising."

"That gets you to fifty million?"

"Pretty close, most years."


"Yeah, I know. It's impressive."

"So, I've got to ask this, what was Dominic making running this thing? Does anybody know that?"

"Sure. It's public record again. You could look it up in twenty minutes." She broke a small smile. "But you don't have to because I already know. His salary was six hundred forty-eight thousand dollars."

"Every year?"

"Last year, anyway. And at least close to that the year before, and before that." She shrugged. "It's a major executive job, Mickey. He earned what he made. He deserved it."

"Still," Mickey said. "Six hundred and fifty grand. Makes me think I might want to go into charity work myself."

"I thought you wanted to be a chef."

"I do. But I'm flexible. For that kind of money I believe I could be tempted."

"No." She touched his arm again. "You don't do it for the money. You do it for the work. It's great helping people, it really is. Way better than standing in a restaurant saying h.e.l.lo with your smile on all day.

That's why I got into my own volunteering. Although now with Dominic gone . . ." She stopped and visibly gathered herself as she threatened to tear up. "Sorry," she said. "I keep doing this." But wiping her hands over her eyes, she got herself back under control. "So I guess we're to that now. My relations.h.i.+p with Dominic."

"We can be if you're comfortable with it."

"I'm fine with it." The words confident enough that they carried with them almost the hint of a threat. "I've done nothing I'm ashamed of."

"Although the other day you said that maybe you and Mr. Como were too close. What did you mean by that?"

"I meant that there was some chemistry, physical chemistry, that we both acknowledged. But he was a married man and he wasn't going there. And neither was I. We'd even talked about me quitting so we wo

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