HUD Official Says She Was Demoted For Refusing To Blow Budget Cap On Decor

on December 15, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America

A senior official at the Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) alleges that she was demoted after pushing back on requests to spend more than was allowed on the redecoration of Secretary Ben Carson’s office, The Guardian reported Tuesday morning.

The official, Helen Foster, filed a complaint to the Office of the Special Counsel (OSC), a government watchdog, and The Guardian obtained the complaint.

In the complaint, Foster alleged that acting HUD director Craig Clemmensen directed her to help Carson’s wife, Candy Carson, access funds to redecorate Ben Carson’s office in January 2017. When Foster informed Clemmensen that there was a $5,000 budget cap on redecorating, Clemmensen told her that past administrations “always found ways around that” and later told her to “to ‘find money’ for Mrs Carson,” according to the complaint. Clemmensen also told Foster in February that “$5,000 will not even buy a decent chair,” per the complaint.

Foster said in the complaint that she was demoted after pushing back on Clemmenson’s demands. She also alleged that she was blocked from handling a Freedom of Information Act Request related to Trump appointee Lynne Patton.

Read The Guardian’s full report here.

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