• Guest, The rules for the P & N subforum have been updated to prohibit "ad hominem" or personal attacks against other posters. See the full details in the post "Politics and News Rules & Guidelines."

$31,000 on a new dining room set for Secretary Ben Carson's office

pauldun170

Diamond Member
Sep 26, 2011
8,254
3,750
136
One of my favorite parts of the article
Mr. Clemmensen, acting on Mrs. Carson’s behalf, told Mrs. Foster to “find money” to purchase better furniture for the office — and he quipped that “$5,000 will not even buy a decent chair,” according to the complaint, which was reported by The Guardian newspaper.
Ben and Candy Carson are model Trump appointees

WASHINGTON — Department of Housing and Urban Development officials spent $31,000 on a new dining room set for Secretary Ben Carson’s office in late 2017 — just as the White House circulated its plans to slash HUD’s programs for the homeless, elderly and poor, according to federal procurement records.

The purchase of the custom hardwood table, chairs and hutch came a month after a top agency staff member filed a whistle-blower complaint charging Mr. Carson’s wife, Candy Carson, with pressuring department officials to find money for the expensive redecoration of his offices, even if it meant circumventing the law.

Mr. Carson is also facing questions on another front. Under pressure earlier this month, he requested that HUD’s inspector general investigate his son’s involvement in a department-sponsored listening tour of Baltimore last summer. Department lawyers had warned Mr. Carson that including Ben Carson Jr., an entrepreneur who does business with the federal government, could create a conflict of interest.

Mr. Carson “didn’t know the table had been purchased,” but does not believe the cost was too steep and does not intend to return it, said Raffi Williams, a HUD spokesman.

“In general, the secretary does want to be as fiscally prudent as possible with the taxpayers’ money,” he added.

Department officials did not request approval from the House or Senate Appropriations Committees for the expenditure of $31,561, even though federal law requires congressional approval “to furnish or redecorate the office of a department head” if the cost exceeds $5,000.

Mr. Williams said department officials did not request congressional approval because the dining set served a “building-wide need.” The table is inside the secretary’s 10th-floor office suite.

The decision was made by a “career staffer” who selected the company, Sebree and Associates, which is based in Mr. Carson’s longtime hometown, Baltimore, from a list of preapproved federal contractors, Mr. Williams said.

Neither Mr. Carson nor his wife — who expressed a strong interest in sprucing up the drab, wood-paneled, 1960s-era secretary’s suite, according to several current and former department staff members — requested that the 50-year-old table be replaced, Mr. Williams said.

But he had remarked how the previous table was covered in scratches, scuff marks and cracks. Mr. Williams emailed several pictures of the old table, which looks polished and not visibly scarred, during events held by Mr. Carson’s predecessor, Julián Castro.

The new table, listed as “household furniture” in federal procurement documents, has not yet arrived.
About a month before it was ordered, Helen G. Foster, a former top HUD official, filed a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel, a federal whistle-blower agency, claiming that she had been demoted and transferred after resisting Mrs. Carson’s attempts to get around the $5,000 redecoration law.

The pressure began in January 2017, before Mr. Carson was even confirmed, when HUD’s interim secretary, Craig Clemmensen, told Mrs. Foster to help secure redecorating funds for Mrs. Carson, a frequent visitor to the department’s Washington headquarters who serves as an informal adviser to her husband, the complaint said.

Mr. Clemmensen, acting on Mrs. Carson’s behalf, told Mrs. Foster to “find money” to purchase better furniture for the office — and he quipped that “$5,000 will not even buy a decent chair,” according to the complaint, which was reported by The Guardian newspaper.

Mrs. Foster refused to comply, and said she then sent HUD officials the text of the law requiring congressional approval for the purchases. After she was removed from her position as the department’s chief administrative officer, she was made head of the agency’s unit overseeing Freedom of Information Act requests, which she viewed as an act of retribution.

She “has suffered much humiliation and a loss of reputation, and harm to career advancement, as a result of this retaliatory reassignment,” according to a letter written by her lawyer, Joseph Kaplan, to the head of the special counsel investigations unit on Nov. 3.

Mr. Williams said Mrs. Foster was reassigned as part of a routine agency reshuffle, and denied that Mrs. Carson pressured her to help redecorate the office.

“Secretary Carson, to the best of our knowledge, is the only secretary to go to the subbasement at his agency to select the furniture for his office,” Mr. Williams said.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/27/us/ben-carson-hud-furniture.html
 

Puffnstuff

Lifer
Mar 9, 2005
15,404
4,138
136
5k probably wouldn't buy Trump and friends a decent roll of toilet paper. We have so many other more important matters that require funding yet they can blow that kind of money on furnishings.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DarthKyrie

Ackmed

Diamond Member
Oct 1, 2003
8,366
367
126
I'm no stranger to the gov spending ridiculous amounts of money on shit. If it's true that there is a 31k table with chairs with hutch, there needs to be a damn audit and stop to such elaborate spending. I don't know if I could spend that much if I tried on those pieces.
 

Franz316

Senior member
Sep 12, 2000
894
258
136
There are not enough words to describe this administration. Calling it a cesspool would be too kind.
 

soundforbjt

Lifer
Feb 15, 2002
16,429
4,099
136
I'm no stranger to the gov spending ridiculous amounts of money on shit. If it's true that there is a 31k table with chairs with hutch, there needs to be a damn audit and stop to such elaborate spending. I don't know if I could spend that much if I tried on those pieces.
Since they (Trump) got rid of the ethics department, it’s tougher. All of Pruitt’s first class flights, his Cone Of Silence, etc. There’s some reason they don’t want to be heard or their actions scrutinized..
 

dank69

Lifer
Oct 6, 2009
29,159
13,256
136
This is unfair. That guy Carson once saw a poor person's house. He's an expert in this. Please let him do his job
Exactly. How can we expect him to help poor people when he is sitting in a $5,000 piece of shit chair?
 

BoomerD

No Lifer
Feb 26, 2006
57,557
5,861
126
Geez...making a fuss over little shit like this...after all, it's government money...it's not like it's REAL money... :rolleyes:
 

HomerJS

Lifer
Feb 6, 2002
27,932
13,771
136
Oh I so wanted to make a Chris Rock response to this but would get filtered out
 

brycejones

Lifer
Oct 18, 2005
21,215
13,416
136
Carson knows poverty, he doesn't want to be reminded of it by sitting in a shitty $5000 chair looking at someone's used office furniture.

Good grief we need to have compassion for this man, after all Jesus is with him, and Jesus wouldn't want him to suffer such an indignity.
 
  • Like
Reactions: KMFJD

Puffnstuff

Lifer
Mar 9, 2005
15,404
4,138
136
Imagine this...a guy who's accustomed to the niceties in life overseeing the administration of housing benefits to the poorest segment of our population. The disconnect is just beyond belief yet here we are. I wonder what the next bizarro occurrence will be with this administration?
 

vi edit

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Oct 28, 1999
61,345
5,196
126
And this follows on the heals of another Carson linked ethics issue that never got the traction it was due.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/using-his-position-for-private-gain-hud-lawyers-warned-ben-carson-risked-running-afoul-of-ethics-rules-by-enlisting-son/2018/01/31/bb20c48e-0532-11e8-8777-2a059f168dd2_story.html?utm_term=.533fb78a8d2e

Carson gave his daughter in law's firm a nearly half million non-competing bid contract. And that was *AFTER* the administrations own ethics office told him not to.
 

Puffnstuff

Lifer
Mar 9, 2005
15,404
4,138
136
Nobody in this administration cares about morals, ethics or what the law says. Call it a Trump family tradition.
 

K1052

Lifer
Aug 21, 2003
37,540
12,079
136
Just a reminder that rich people are not only better than you in general they should also get to spend your money on superfluous shit if some moron appoints them to a cabinet post.

Be grateful for such good leadership, little people.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY