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

News comes amid push to cut costs at HUD

TRD 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
City Council member Brad Lander and the Gowanus canal (Getty; City Council)

Gowanus rezoning community support hinges on NYCHA funding

Gowanus rezoning community support hinges on NYCHA funding
Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Lucerne Hotel at  201 West 79th Street (Getty; iStock; Google Maps)

Lawsuit blasts NYC’s “capricious” Covid-19 homeless response

Lawsuit blasts NYC’s “capricious” Covid-19 homeless response
Steve Cohen and Citi Field (Getty)

Citi Field lease clause could stymie billionaire’s quest for the Mets

Citi Field lease clause could stymie billionaire’s quest for the Mets
Paul Singer of Elliott Management (Getty; iStock)

Billionaire Paul Singer’s hedge fund dumps NYC for West Palm Beach

Billionaire Paul Singer’s hedge fund dumps NYC for West Palm Beach
New York City council member Margarate Chin, Mayor Bill de Blasio and council member Carlina Rivera (Getty; iStock)

Why the Soho rezoning will pass — and Gowanus, too

Why the Soho rezoning will pass — and Gowanus, too
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (Getty; iStock)

“It’s compliance warfare”: Industry slams landlord accountability bills

“It’s compliance warfare”: Industry slams landlord accountability bills
City Comptroller Scott Stringer (Getty; iStock)

Real estate investments cost NYC pension funds $370M

Real estate investments cost NYC pension funds $370M
arrow_forward_ios

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

Loading...