HUD official who objected to Carson's redecorating resigns in protest

HUD official who objected to Carson's redecorating resigns in protest
© Greg Nash

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) official who first raised alarms about Secretary Ben CarsonBen CarsonBiden administration buys 100,000 doses of Lilly antibody drug Ben Carson launches conservative think tank Trump's '1776 Report' released on MLK Day receives heavy backlash MORE's redecorating expenses has reportedly resigned in protest. 

Helen Foster, a senior career official at HUD, announced her decision in a letter written to Carson and HUD Deputy Secretary Pam Patenaude, according to the Washington Post. In the letter, Foster claims Carson and Patenaude demoted her and accused her of being a liar because she criticized the agency's expenses that went toward redecoration. 


She also alleges that $10 million in taxpayer funds were "grossly mismanaged." 

“Even though I reported all of these issues appropriately, through the HUD chain of command, and with documentation, I was demoted into a made-up ‘do-nothing’ job with no duties or responsibilities by your direct reports,” Foster wrote. “A full year has [passed] since, and I remain in the same spurious position with no official duties.”

Foster's resignation comes months after she alleged in a complaint that Carson demoted her after she refused to "find money" for a redecoration plan in Carson's office. She claimed she was demoted in part for for telling officials that the plans would need congressional notification since their cost would exceed $5,000. 

The Post reports that emails reveal Foster telling colleagues she was forced to respond to “endless questions about why I won’t fund more than the $5000 limit” for redecorating the office.

The plan to redecorate Carson's office during President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to hold virtual bilateral meeting with Mexican president More than 300 charged in connection to Capitol riot Trump Jr.: There are 'plenty' of GOP incumbents who should be challenged MORE's transition eventually came under congressional scrutiny. Carson said the allegations regarding his redecorating efforts were “without evidence or substantiation" on social media, and later defended those comments while testifying before Congress — a moment that Foster says devastated her.  

“From my perspective, this was the head of my agency, my ultimate boss, and a cabinet-level official, calling me a liar in public,” she wrote.

Carson has faced heavy scrutiny regarding the costs of furniture in his office. In February, it was reported that HUD would spend $165,000 on “lounge furniture” for his Washington, D.C., office. It's also been reported that in 2017 Carson spent $31,000 on a dining set for his office.