There is a controversy brewing with HUD Secretary Ben Carson and his choice of office furniture. According to multiple sources that include the New York Times, CNN and the Guardian, Carson’s wife, Candy, was displeased with the decor in her husband’s new office.
Apparently, when Candy Carson was told that the limit to redecorate the office was $5K, she responded that she could not even find an office desk chair for that price. According to Helen Foster, a career HUD employee, she was pressured to find more money from the budget. Foster allegedly told Carson’s team that any funds above that would have to be approved by Congress and she could not comply. As a result of her stance, Foster found herself demoted from her job.
But Carson did receive a nice perk that included a new dining set for $31K, according to the Washington Post. The purchase was approved late in 2017 after 9 out of 10 chairs needed minor repairs and further examination deemed the set in need of replacing. It should be noted that under Carson’s watch, he delivered to Trump a proposed cut in his department of $6B. Carson’s decision to spend $31K on furniture comes at a time when the income level for a family of four for certain HUD programs is around $24K.
The furniture was ordered from a mysterious government contractor identified as Sebree and Associates LLC. An internet search reveals that the company has a staff of two and works out of an apartment in downtown Baltimore. The furniture was ordered in December 2017 and has not yet been delivered at the time of this writing.