Administration

HUD spending $165K on ‘lounge furniture’ for office: report

Greg Nash

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will reportedly spend $165,000 on “lounge furniture” for its D.C. office, according to The Guardian.

This comes on the heels of President Trump proposing a $6.8 billion budget cut for the department, cuts that would leave fewer resources for programs that help the poor and homeless.

Last September, the HUD signed contracts for the furniture with an Indiana-based furniture retailer, according to The Guardian.

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On Tuesday it was also reported that HUD Secretary Ben Carson spent $31,000 late in 2017 on a dining set for his office.

These revelations came after Helen Foster, a senior career official at the agency, alleged in a complaint to a watchdog for federal employees that she had been demoted after she refused to “find money” for the redecoration of Carson’s office.

Before President Trump’s inauguration, then-acting HUD Secretary Craig Clemmensen had asked Foster to help Carson’s wife get funding for the redecoration. Foster told Clemmensen that they could only legally spend $5,000 to improve the suite but said she was told to find the money anyway.

She says Clemmensen told her that “$5,000 will not even buy a decent chair.”

Raffi Williams, a spokesperson for HUD, last week first told The Guardian that department hadn’t purchased the table that was part of the alleged $31,000 dining set.

Williams later confirmed to the newspaper that the table had been purchased, and after Foster’s complaint was reported, Williams also confirmed that $31,000 had been spent on a dining set.

When asked to explain why he had made the initial misleading statements, Williams responded that he had only been asked about spending from what he referred to as “the decorating budget” to improve Carson’s office and had been unaware that the table had been purchased, The Guardian reported.

HUD officials are also reviewing Carson’s family involvement in the department after officials reportedly expressed concerns about Carson’s oldest son inviting potential business partners to HUD an event.

Ben Carson Jr. has denied any conflicts of interest but requested an inspector general investigation after the reports were made.

Tags Ben Carson Budget decorations Donald Trump HUD
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