Tuesday, 13 November, 2018

Emails suggest HUD Secretary Ben Carson knew of $31000 dining room set

Ben Carson spent $31k on a dining set after cutting HUD's homeless housing budget New Emails Reportedly Show Ben Carson Personally Picked Out $31000 Dining Set
Herman Weaver | 15 March, 2018, 04:34

Emails show that Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonHUD watchdog looking into involvement of Carson's family at agency Ethics watchdog calls for probe of Carson family role at federal agency Thanks to Trump and Pence, America's relationship with Israel is stronger than ever MORE and his wife chose a $31,000 furniture set for the secretary's office themselves, despite a spokesperson's comments, CNN reported.

According to CNN's report, "an August email from a career administration staffer, with the subject line 'Secretary's dining room set needed, ' to Carson's assistant refers to 'printouts of the furniture the Secretary and Mrs. Carson picked out'".

As CNN notes, one HUD spokesman even blamed the purchase on an unnamed staffer: "The secretary did not order a new table".

Austin Evers, American Oversight's executive director, said in a statement that the effort to upgrade Carson's immediate surroundings is at odds with some of his public policy positions, including a quip he made during an interview with the New York Times in May that public housing officials should avoid creating "a comfortable setting that would make somebody want to say: 'I'll just stay here".

A HUD spokesman, who previously spoke to CNN under the condition of anonymity, had said the Carsons did not know which items were being purchased for the office and that Candy Carson had no interest in redecorating. "We will find another solution for the furniture replacement".

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Another email released to the group showed Helen Foster, then Hud's chief administrative officer, stating more than a year ago that she had been "asked about "finding" additional money for furnishing the Secretary's office".

"When presented with options by professional staff, Mrs. Carson participated in the selection of specific styles", Mr. Williams said on Wednesday. "All the furniture in his office was purchased by the government prior to his arrival". "Are you available on any of those dates and would you like to come in and have input on the redecorating?"

He said he and his wife, Candy, looked at catalogs and were taken aback by the cost of some furniture but wanted to ensure anything picked wouldn't clash with other pieces in his office. "The table was ordered by the career staffers in charge of the building". One email published by American Oversight indicates that HUD received an estimate that said fixing a chair would cost about $1,100.

In a Facebook post last week, the Carsons denied allegations that they were responsible for the purchase of the $31,000 dining set. The set included a Newport dining table with a mahogany finish along with upholstered chairs.

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