Newly released emails show that Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Ben Carson and his wife chose a $31,000 furniture set for the HUD office, despite claims from Carson and his spokesman that he had no involvement in the decision, CNN reported Wednesday.
An August email from an administration staffer to Carson's assistant refers to "printouts of the furniture the Secretary and Mrs. Carson picked out," CNN reported.
HUD spokesman Raffi Williams initially had said the Carsons were not involved in choosing the dining set, telling CNN in February: "Mrs. Carson and the secretary had no awareness that the table was being purchased."
Carson told CNN at the time that he was surprised at the $31,000 price tag on the order and had it canceled.
"I made it known that I was not happy with the prices being charged and that my preference would be to find something more reasonable," Carson said in that statement.
The newly released emails show discussions about the dining set going back to May, when repairs to chairs of the existing furniture were discussed. The emails show discussion of the purchases were sent to Carson's chief of staff and his executive assistant, and to his wife, Candy Carson, CNN reported.
A HUD spokesman denied that the Carsons had been involved in the purchase when CNN first reported the story.
"Neither of them knew this purchase was being made," the spokesman said at that time.
The documents were released following a Freedom of Information Act request from American Oversight, a liberal watchdog group, CNN reported.
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