HUD gets caught in lie about Ben Carson's $31000 dining set


Carson told CNN at the time that he was surprised at the $31,000 price tag on the order and had it canceled.

"I believe Allison has print outs of the furniture the Secretary and Mrs. Carson picked out", Rodriguez wrote in the August 29 2017 email.

The staffer told Carson the quote seemed to be reasonable and justified the purchase because the previous furniture was purchased in 1988, and receipts showed HUD moved forward with the purchase - which was now $7,000 higher - four months later.

An email from a career HUD staffer with the subject line "Secretary's dining room set needed" sent to Carson's assistant last August refers to "printouts of the furniture the Secretary and Mrs. Carson picked out", CNN reported on Wednesday. The furniture, he said, was "characterized as unsafe" and was "beyond fix and needed to be replaced".

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Spokesperson Raffi Williams claimed Secretary Carson was unaware of the purchase, but will not be returning the dining set.

"I don't think it even crossed her mind, this separate room", he said of the decorating plans.

"The career administration staffer sent the quote to Carson's office", CNN reported, "specifically Carson's chief of staff and his executive assistant, casting further doubt on the agency's assertion that the purchase was made entirely by career staff". "I have requested that the order be canceled". 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".

"Are you available on any of those dates and would you like to come in and have input on the redecorating?" it asks her.

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In a Facebook post last week, the Carsons denied allegations that they were responsible for the purchase of the $31,000 dining set.

Former HUD official Helen Foster filed a complaint with department's special counsel late past year, in which she claimed she had been demoted because she raised concerns about the purchases. One email published by American Oversight indicates that HUD received an estimate that said fixing a chair would cost about $1,100.

The spokesman initially blamed the expensive order on "the career staffers in charge of the building".

While the initial quote for the furniture came in at $24,666, the final bill came to almost $7,000 more, due to delivery and installation charges, along with a price increase for the upholstered chairs.

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