HUD gets caught in lie about Ben Carson's $31000 dining set

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Carson expressed surprise at the price tag earlier this month said he directed his agency to cancel the order.

Carson's wife weighed in on that purchase as well, according to emails between Rodriguez and colleagues including Greenwood, who now serves as the secretary's chief of staff.

Approached Tuesday night about the discrepancies between his statement and emails regarding the dining room furniture, Williams told CNN: "When presented with options by professional staff, Mrs. Carson participated in the selection of specific styles". In a February 21 email, she wrote Greenwood and others that the subbasement would have "nothing suitable for the Secretary" because "the nicest desks/conference tables are the (ones) that are now occupying the Secretary and (Deputy Secretary's) private offices".

"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", Carson continued.

However, an email sent by HUD's director of scheduling, Jacie Coressel, shows that Candy Carson was asked to give her input on the process.

But according to unearthed emails, the Housing Secretary and his wife hand-"picked" the expensive furniture themselves!

"Mrs. Carson and the secretary had no awareness that the table was being purchased", he told CNN last month. The company confirmed a few days after CNN reported the purchase that the agency officially canceled the order on March 1.

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 made a decision to order a replacement at the cost of $31,561.

A HUD staffer noted in one email that the cost of the furniture shouldn't be an issue because "the furniture hasn't been changed since 1988".

One email chain shows serving cart options were approved by "leadership" but doesn't specify who made the request. But when HUD was confronted by the high price, Carson's spokesperson denied that the secretary had no knowledge of the furniture being bought in the first place.

In a Facebook post last week, the Carsons denied allegations that they were responsible for the purchase of the $31,000 dining set. The secretary knew that the table and chairs were old because somebody fell out of a chair once.

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

Were you just as surprised as anyone, Benny?