U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson wants to cancel an order for $31,000 in dining room furniture for his office following intense criticism about it being wasteful spending.
The agency, which is undergoing cost cutting, ordered the furniture because “a new secretary was coming in and the current furniture was old and it was raggedy,” the interior design firm that sold HUD the pieces told CNN.
The order included a mahogany table, sideboard, breakfront, and 10 chairs. Eight of the chairs, which are from the David Phoenix Collection, cost $990 apiece, accounting for $7,920 of the bill. The two armchairs for the heads of the table are a bit more expensive, coming in at $1,050 each. The sideboard was $6,548, and the breakfront was the most expensive piece in the order, at $7,091.
HUD was set to receive the furniture in May, but Carson has asked for the order to be canceled, according to CNN, stating “I was as surprised as anyone to find out that a $31,000 dining set had been ordered.”
Senior White House aides have reportedly become upset by recent negative stories on HUD spending and are making moves to curb the problem. House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R- South Carolina) has also asked for HUD records about the purchase of office furnishings dating back to 2017, CNN reports.