HUD spends $31K in taxpayer money on dining room furniture for Ben Carson

News comes amid push to cut costs at HUD

New York /
Feb.February 28, 2018 09:05 AM

The HUD Headquarters at the Robert C. Weaver Federal Building in Washington, D.C. and Ben Carson

Ben Carson, self-proclaimed cost cutter at the helm of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, spent $31,000 in taxpayer money on a new dining room set for his office. And he doesn’t plan to return it.

The department did not ask for approval from Congressional appropriations committee, which is required for any office redecoration costing more than $5,000. The justification, according to a HUD spokesperson: the table, which sits inside Carson’s office, serves a “building-wide need.” The table was bought from a company in Carson’s hometown, Baltimore, the New York Times reported.

An agency spokesperson said Carson wasn’t aware of the purchase but does not plan to return it, according to the Times.

Last year HUD official Helen Foster filed a complaint alleging she was demoted after she resisted Carson’s wife Candy Carson’s requests to sidestep the $5,000 law. According to Foster, HUD interim Craig Clemmensen asked her on Candy’s behalf to “find money” to pay for the decoration in January 2017. Foster refused, and was later demoted from chief administrative officer to a new role overseeing the agency’s Freedom of Information Act requests, she said.

The HUD spokesperson claimed Foster was reassigned as part of a routine reorganization of the agency. “Secretary Carson, to the best of our knowledge, is the only secretary to go to the subbasement at his agency to select the furniture for his office,” the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile Carson is also under pressure for bringing his son, whose company does business with the federal government, along on an official tour of Baltimore year. The agency’s inspector general is looking into the trip, and whether it created conflicts of interest.

Earlier this month the White House proposed slashing HUD’s budget by $8.8 billion, or 18 percent. Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, has warned against making publuc housing “too comfortable” for residents. [NYT]Konrad Putzier


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)
“Rich people are going to get richer anyway”: HUD Secretary Ben Carson dismisses concerns that Opportunity Zones will only benefit rich people
“Rich people are going to get richer anyway”: HUD Secretary Ben Carson dismisses concerns that Opportunity Zones will only benefit rich people
Photo Illustration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo (iStock, Getty/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)
Cuomo’s crisis: What a weakened or departing governor means for real estate
Cuomo’s crisis: What a weakened or departing governor means for real estate
Donald Trump, Cy Vance and Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg (Getty)
Manhattan DA narrows focus on Trump Org CFO
Manhattan DA narrows focus on Trump Org CFO
(Getty / Photo Illustration by Alison Bushor for The Real Deal)
Five reasons Andrew Cuomo is doomed
Five reasons Andrew Cuomo is doomed
The person behind the prank website is still anonymous. (Getty)
Phony website falsely claims REBNY cancels rent
Phony website falsely claims REBNY cancels rent
(iStock/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)
To boost economy, NYC will invest in rapid Covid test
To boost economy, NYC will invest in rapid Covid test
U.S. District Judge John Campbell Barker, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, ruled the eviction moratorium to be unconstitutional. (Getty, Texas Attorney General)
National eviction moratorium ruled unconstitutional, but remains in place
National eviction moratorium ruled unconstitutional, but remains in place
(iStock/Photo Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)
Dubious gentrification study will backfire on New York City
Dubious gentrification study will backfire on New York City
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...