Emails show that Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonHUD watchdog looking into involvement of Carson’s family at agency Ethics watchdog calls for probe of Carson family role at federal agency Thanks to Trump and Pence, America’s relationship with Israel is stronger than ever MORE and his wife chose a $31,000 furniture set for the secretary’s office themselves, despite a spokesperson’s comments, CNN reported.
An email from 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.”
HUD spokesman Raffi Williams told CNN last month that Carson and his wife, Candy, “had no awareness that the table was being purchased.”
Ben Carson said a few days later 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 Carson was “presented with options by professional staff,” she “participated in the selection of specific styles.”
CNN obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information Act request from American Oversight, a liberal watchdog group led by former Obama administration officials.
The network also reported that HUD’s scheduling office in early August had written an email to Candy Carson, the secretary’s wife, 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 Candy 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 Caron’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.
Earlier this month, Ben Carson ordered his agency to cancel the order for the $31,000 dining room set for his personal office.
“I was as surprised as anyone to find out that a $31,000 dining set had been ordered,” Ben Carson said in a statement. “I have requested that the order be canceled. We will find another solution for the furniture replacement.”
He added that he might choose a different dining room set, but that his “preference” would be a more “reasonable” price tag.
Reports surfaced last month that HUD had spent $31,000 last year on a new dining room set for Ben Carson’s office.