Retaliation Firings, a Breakfront China Cabinet and a Bootleg Christian Charity: What’s Going On at Ben Carson’s Department of Housing and Urban Development?

Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

First it was reported that Ben Carson, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and his wife, Candy, were out here balling without a budget, buying some $31,000 of dining room furniture that included a breakfront china cabinet—because nothing says old bougie blackness like a breakfront china cabinet.

Initially, Carson denied knowing about the purchase. Then, after emails were discovered indicating that he and his wife were fully aware that his office wasn’t going the Ikea route that his budget allowed, he started moonwalking those claims.


On Tuesday, Carson defended the purchase during a congressional hearing, claiming that old furniture wasn’t baller enough.

“Bitch!” Carson yelled out. “Don’t you know I have a portrait of me and black wavy-haired Jesus hanging in my house? Did you really think we were going to stick to that $5,000 budget?!” Carson then smacked five with another black man who could’ve been Raffi Williams, since he works as a spokesperson for the department and could be heard mumbling, “They got Ben Carson all the way fucked up.”

Fine, whatever—Ben Carson didn’t cuss anyone out or refer to himself in the third person, but doesn’t that feel like a Ben Carson thing to do? Wouldn’t it be amazing if Ben Carson started every sentence with, “What Ben Carson ain’t going to do ... ”

Whatever, y’all aren’t any fun. Back to the news.

Carson did appear in front of a congressional committee, and he did defend the purchase, noting that the old HUD furniture was raggedy and falling apart. If this wasn’t enough, The Guardian reports that a senior official at HUD was forced to step down after links were found to another HUD employee who was repeatedly sued for fraud and reportedly lied on his résumé.


On Tuesday, Johnson Joy, HUD chief information officer, offered his resignation, which Carson accepted after The Guardian exposed that Joy and Naved Jafry, a senior adviser to Joy at HUD who also resigned, were running a bootleg Christian not-for-profit in Texas whose website accepted donations even though it was unclear if they actually did anything. Shortly after The Guardian’s inquires, the website was locked to the public.

And it gets worse: Joy’s resignation comes on the heels of another Guardian report claiming that a former executive assistant who blew the whistle on improper use of HUD spending in Joy’s office was fired in retaliation.


Katrina Hubbard told The Guardian that after she raised concerns about the department’s spending of public funds, she was reassigned and then fired.

“I reported information about fraud, waste and abuse, and as a result I was retaliated against,” Hubbard told The Guardian. According to The Guardian:

Hubbard’s case is being investigated by the office of special counsel (OSC), which oversees federal workers’ employment rights. Last month the Guardian revealed that the OSC was investigating a complaint from Helen Foster, a senior HUD official, who said she was demoted for refusing to break a legal spending cap on improvements to Carson’s office.


The OSC and Raffi Williams, a HUD spokesman, did not respond to The Guardian’s requests for comment. The complaint follows rumors that Donald Trump is considering removing Carson after a series of embarrassments, including the $31,000 dining set, which included a baller breakfront china cabinet.

I haven’t looked at Vegas lines, but a safe bet would be that Carson is next up to be fired on the White House special edition of Celebrity Apprentice.

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About the author

Stephen A. Crockett Jr.

Senior Editor @ The Root, boxes outside my weight class, when they go low, you go lower.