Dr. Ben Carson, Housing Policy Novice, Spends $31,000 on a Mahogany Cabinet for His Office
Housing and Urban Affairs Secretary Dr. Ben Carson, a former surgeon with no specific experience working in federal housing policy, reportedly ordered $31,000 in mahogany furniture for his office in February.
The $31,000 mahogany furniture set was purchased by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and included 10 mahogany chairs with a blue velvet finish. The furniture purchase was revealed by a whistleblower employed at HUD, Helen Foster. Foster is claiming she was demoted at HUD after resisting requests for the high priced furniture orders.
Further, a February 27 report in The Guardian claimed that “HUD has agreed to spend $165,000” on “lounge furniture” in addition to the $31,000 on the mahogany set.
Secretary Carson, 66, has not denied reports that HUD has been attempting to expedite the expensive furniture purchases. Tea Party Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC), who is the Chairman of the House Government Affairs Committee, has announced an investigation into the matter and has requested documents related to the purchase. Gowdy’s request was a rare move by a Republican member of Congress regarding questionable behavior by a Trump appointee.
On March 1, Secretary Carson told CNN he wanted the $31,000 dining set order to be canceled. His statement was provided only to CNN by longtime advisor and friend Armstrong Williams.
“I was as surprised as anyone to find out that a $31,000 dining set had been ordered. I have requested that the order be canceled. We will find another solution for the furniture replacement,” the statement read. Typically such high expenditures made in federal offices must be signed off on by the principal.
The statement given to CNN also confirmed what had long been rumored: That Carson’s wife Candy is involved in office matters.
The statement read that Candy Carson had, “asked if used furniture was an option. 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,” Secretary Carson’s statement read.
“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,” Secretary Carson added in the statement.
Trump’s selection of Carson to head HUD, was instantly criticized after he was nominated.