HUD Secretary Ben Carson Purchses $31,000 Dining Set on Taxpayers’ Dime-Truth!
Summary of eRumor:
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson purchased a $31,000 dining set for his official office without congressional approval.
A staffer for HUD Secretary Ben Carson ordered a $31,000 dining set for Carson’s office — but Carson later canceled the order and now insists that he knew nothing about the purchase.
But the $31,000 dining set — which included a custom table, chairs and hutch — is no longer the issue. Helen Forster, a career official at HUD, filed a complaint alleging that she was demoted and replaced by an appointee of President Trump after she refused to break the law by funding redecoration expenses for Carson’s office without congressional approval. Forster filed a whistleblower complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, and The Guardian newspaper obtained a copy:
The complaint letter said that the day before Trump’s inauguration in January last year, Foster was asked by acting HUD director Craig Clemmensen to help Carson’s wife, Candy, obtain funds for the redecoration of her husband’s office suite. When Foster replied that there was a statutory limit of $5,000, Clemmensen allegedly told her that administrations had “always found ways around that in the past”.
When she had not relented by 10 February, Foster was repeatedly told by Clemmensen “to ‘find money’ for Mrs Carson”, according to the complaint, and that “$5,000 will not even buy a decent chair”. Foster said she complained to HUD’s budget director about being asked to break the spending limit.
Foster’s complaint alleges that her handling of the dining set, as well as her instance that a $10.8 million funding deficit being reported and her handling of a two freedom of information requests, led to her being reassigned. A staffer for Carson initially defended the $31,000 dining set purchase, but Carson himself later backed off. Carson released a statement saying that e was “surprised” to learn that the $31,000 dining set had been ordered and had requested that the order be canceled, CNN reports:
Carson also said his wife, Candy Carson, had “asked if used furniture was an option,” the first time there’s been an indication that she was involved in the process. “My wife also looked at catalogs and wanted to be sure that the color of the chair fabric of any set that was chosen matched the rest of the decor,” he wrote.“I made it known that I was not happy about the prices being charged and that my preference would be to find something more reasonable,” he added.