Amid intense public outrage, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is requesting that the order for a $31,000 dining set for his office be canceled, CNN reports.
“I was as surprised as anyone to find out that a $31,000 dining set had been ordered,” Carson said in a statement provided to CNN by longtime adviser Armstrong Williams.
According to the company that sold the furniture to the agency and purchase documents obtained by the news network, the $31,000 dining set includes a table, sideboard, breakfront — all in mahogany — and 10 mahogany chairs with a blue velvet finish.
“I have requested that the order be canceled. We will find another solution for the furniture replacement” Carson added.
On Tuesday, Helen Foster, a senior official with Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), revealed that she was demoted and replaced by a Trump appointee after refusing to break the law to approve the expensive redecoration of Carson’s office.
Foster filed a complaint alleging that HUD officials violated whistleblower laws, and she seeks a public apology, compensatory damages and reinstatement as the department’s chief administrative officer.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican, has asked HUD for records relating to office furnishings since the beginning of 2017.
Senior White House officials are furious about the series of negative stories on spending at HUD and have taken a more hands-on role in trying to stem the tide, sources with knowledge of the situation told the news outlet.