Evidence Points to HUD Lying About Ben Carson's $31K Dining Set
Mar 14 2018 by Desiree Burns
"I was as surprised as anyone to find out that a $31,000 dining set had been ordered", Carson wrote.
But the newly released emails show two Carson aides discussed the dining set back in May 2017, when they asked about repairing the "fairly precarious" existing furniture, which would have cost an estimated $1,100 to fix.
The gotcha report comes just weeks after Carson denied ordering the expensive furniture set, saying he was not the one to blame.
An August email obtained by the liberal watchdog group American Oversight shows a HUD staff member making reference to "the furniture the Secretary and Mrs. Carson picked out". The furniture, he said, was "characterized as unsafe" and was "beyond fix and needed to be replaced".
Carson and his spokesman Raffi Williams repeatedly claimed that the Hud secretary was not involved in a decision to make the purchase, after the Guardian revealed a controversy at the department around the furnishing of his office.
"I don't think it even crossed her mind, this separate room", he said of the decorating plans. HUD has since canceled the order. In a February 21 email, she wrote Greenwood and others that the subbasement would have "nothing suitable for the Secretary" because "the nicest desks/conference tables are the (ones) that are now occupying the Secretary and (Deputy Secretary's) private offices".
HUD staffer Aida Rodriguez emailed Secretary Ben Carson's chief of staff and executive assistant regarding furniture Carson and his wife "picked out".
"Are you available on any of those dates and would you like to come in and have input on the redecorating?" it asks her.
A HUD staffer noted in one email that the cost of the furniture shouldn't be an issue because "the furniture hasn't been changed since 1988".
"I made it clear that I was not happy about the prices being charged and that my preference would be to find something more reasonable", it continues.
Foster has alleged in a complaint to a whistleblower agency that she was demoted and replaced with a Donald Trump appointee after refusing to break the law by breaking a $5,000 spending cap for improvements to Carson's office.
The newly published emails show she told fellow staffers about this concern. "The table was ordered by the career staffers in charge of the building", he said.
Carson said he and his wife were told there was a $25,000 budget that must be used by a deadline or it would be lost, and they received a $24,666 quote for the furniture.