As far as Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is concerned, the controversy generated by what critics call “pricey“ $31,000 redecoration of his Washington, D.C. office is really no big deal. What has been ordered could easily be returned, and be replaced by much simpler and way cheaper “used furniture.”
Carson said he was not aware of the costs of the dining set in question. He said: “’I was surprised as anyone to find out that a $31,000 dining set had been ordered. I have requested that the order be canceled. We will find another solution for the furniture replacement.”
Carson’s wife had even suggested to the famous neurosurgeon a much cheaper alternative to the controversy by asking if his office could do with used furniture instead as an option.
Carson added: “My wife also looked at catalogs and wanted to be sure that the color of the chair fabric of any set that was chosen matched the rest of the decor. I made it known that I was not happy about the prices being charged and that my preference would be to find something more reasonable.”
The controversial dining room set for his personal office at HUD headquarters included a mahogany table, sideboard, breakfront and 10 chairs with a blue velvet finish.
The dining furniture is not set to be delivered until May and based on the hints of the interior design firm from which it was ordered, it has also not been paid yet. Such lessens the complications should the order simply be canceled.
Still, there are officials who would rather not see the matter go and demand further investigation into the expensive dining set for Carson’s office. Republican Trey Gowdy, the chair of the House Oversight Committee, has asked HUD to provide records for the office furnishings since 2017.
A senior HUD official also said that she filed a complaint with a government watchdog agency after she was allegedly demoted and replaced by a President Trump appointee after she disagreed at the $5,000 price of the chair to be bought for Carson’s office.
47-year old Helen Foster complained in November that she was told: “$5,000 will not even buy a decent chair.”