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tv   HUD Sec. Carson on Purchase of Dining Room Furniture for His Office  CSPAN  March 20, 2018 7:56pm-8:02pm EDT

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while on capitol hill, housing and urban development secretary ben carson addressed how a dining set costing about $31,000 was requisitioned for his office. you can watch all of the house hearing on c-span.org. here is a look at his comments. >> well, thank you for that opportunity. first of all, when i assumed the
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position, i was told that traditionally secretaries redecorate this offices. i came in, i looked at it, you know, i'm not really big into decorating. if it was up to me, my office would probably look like a hospital waiting room, but at any rate, you know, i invited my wife to come in downstairs. we have a bunch of used furniture, went down, made a couple of changes. had some drapes added down in the basement also and blind for the window. the total cost for renovation, $3,500. a few months later i was told the dining room set needed to be changed. i said why? because people being stuck by nails. a chair collapsed with people sitting in it. it's 50 years old. i said, okay, we can potentially do that. i asked my wife also to help me with that.
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they showed us some catalogs. the prices were beyond what i wanted to pay. i made it clear that that just didn't seem right to me. and, you know, i left it with my wife. i said, you know, help choose something, but i said the money that is going to be used, we need to take care of the deputy secretary's office. and, you know, whatever's left over, you know, i'll take care of the dining room furniture. it was very important to do that, and i realized that, but i had so many other things to do at that point. you know, i had no assistant secretaries, i had no deputy secretary, you know, i was running from place to place dealing with a lot of important issues so i really wasn't that concerned about furniture. you know, the next thing that i quite frankly heard about it was this $31,000 table had been bought. i said, what the heck is that all about?
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investigated, immediately had it cancelled. not that we don't need the furniture, but i thought that that was excessive. there were reports that, you know, i said that i had no involvement. i always said what my involvement was in it. you know, it makes for a wonderful story. carson wants to, you know, take down the budget but he wants to buy this expensive furniture that bears no resemblance to the truth. but we did use that opportunity to say what internal controls allowed this to happen in the first place? because we have been spending a lot of time looking at what's going on externally. and, you know, there are a lot of issues, and we finally got a cfo in december and we've been able to address those, but now we've added, you know, things that are closer to home to make sure this kind of thing doesn't happen again. >> our podcast c-span's "the
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