Newly released emails show that Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson and his wife Candy personally selected the $31,000 custom dining set he bought for his office with taxpayer dollars despite a public statement by HUD that Carson and his wife “had no awareness that the table was being purchased,” CNN reported.
An email sent to Carson’s assistant last August reportedly cites “printouts of the furniture the Secretary and Mrs. Carson picked out” and has a subject line that says: “Secretary’s dining room set needed.”
Last month, HUD spokesman Raffi Williams told CNN that Carson and his wife “had no awareness that the table was being purchased.”
A few days later, Ben Carson said he had briefly looked at catalogs for dining furniture and was “shocked by the cost of the furniture.”
Williams told CNN on Tuesday that when Candy was “presented with options by professional staff,” she “participated in the selection of specific styles.”
The new documents were provided to CNN through a Freedom of Information Act request from American Oversight, a left-leaning watchdog group led by former Obama administration officials.
The Hill adds:
The network also reported that HUD’s scheduling office in early August had written an email to Candy Carson telling her there would be a designer in town to “look at possibly redecorating the Secretary’s office and bringing in new furniture.”
The scheduler asked Carson if she would be available to come in and give her input on the redecoration. The scheduler said the order for the new furniture needed to be in by a certain deadline “in order to use the money allocated for this fiscal year.” The furniture was quoted as being $24,666 and that quote was sent to Ben Carson’s chief of staff and his executive assistant, according to CNN.
Receipts show the furniture cost nearly $7,000 more than what the quote said in August.
Carson ordered his agency to cancel the order for the $31,000 dining room set for his personal office earlier this month.
“I was as surprised as anyone to find out that a $31,000 dining set had been ordered,” Carson said in a statement. “I have requested that the order be canceled. We will find another solution for the furniture replacement.”
Carson said he would choose a different dining room set, but that his “preference” would be a more “reasonable” price tag.