Emails suggest HUD Secretary Ben Carson knew of $31000 dining room set

A spokesperson initially denied Ben and Candy Carson had anything to do with selecting the dining room set

A spokesperson initially denied Ben and Candy Carson had anything to do with selecting the dining room set

That flies in the face of a statement made a month ago by HUD spokesman Raffi Williams, who said as the controversy simmered that "Mrs. Carson and the secretary had no awareness that the table was being purchased".

When originally reached by CNN for content, Carson said he was "surprised" by the price tag, and said the order had been canceled.

The furniture hunt did not end in February, however: an aging conference table and its accompanying chairs used for Carson's private lunches with guests proved so problematic that his deputies chose to order a replacement at the cost of $31,561. Not only did the HUD spokesperson say the Carsons had "zero awareness of this purchase being made", he denied that Candy had any interest in redecorating the suite at all. "I have requested that the order be canceled".

Emails show Candy Carson, the wife of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, was involved in the purchase of a tax-payer funded $31,000 dining room set for the secretary's office.

He acknowledged in his statement he had a $25,000 furniture budget, which matches the initial quote of $24,666 received in August, according to the emails.

But in an email on 29 August previous year that was released on Wednesday, an official at Hud wrote that Carson and his wife, Candy, had "picked out" the furniture themselves.

On March 1, Carson issued CNN a statement regarding the tax-payer funded purchases.

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He said he and his wife, Candy, looked at catalogs and were taken aback by the cost of some furniture but wanted to ensure anything picked wouldn't clash with other pieces in his office.

"I briefly looked at catalogs for dining furniture and was shocked by the cost of the furniture". The bill ended up almost $7,000 over that figure, according to CNN.

Carson's team later claimed that the legal cap did not apply to the $31,000 furniture order, because the dining set would be for the benefit of the entire Hud headquarters staff.

In a Facebook post last week, the Carsons denied allegations that they were responsible for the purchase of the $31,000 dining set. "That's literally it. So they had nothing to do with the purchase, nothing to do with anything around that".

"I don't think it even crossed her mind, this separate room", he said of the decorating plans.

Revelations of the inconsistencies come just weeks after Secretary Carson used a biblical reference - Psalms 91 - in his defense: "Under his wings you will find refuge".

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