According to a new lawsuit first reported by The Guardian, former Department of Housing and Urban Development official Helen Foster was initially demoted, then ultimately replaced by a Trump appointee when she tried to enforce legal restrictions on office expenditures. Specifically, the ex-chief administrative officer claims her bosses informed her that “$5,000 will not even buy a decent chair” when she tried to restrict Secretary Ben Carson‘s expensive office makeover, then subsequently reprimanded her for exposing a massive budget shortfall worth $10 million and purportedly expressing Democratic sympathies.
In a letter filed with a watchdog tasked with protecting federal employees, Foster detailed her claims about receiving pushback for trying to enforce federal financial regulations regarding Carson’s office redecoration plans:
The complaint letter said that the day before Trump’s inauguration in January last year, Foster was asked by acting HUD director Craig Clemmensen to help Carson’s wife, Candy, obtain funds for the redecoration of her husband’s office suite. When Foster replied that there was a statutory limit of $5,000, Clemmensen allegedly told her that administrations had “always found ways around that in the past.”
When she had not relented by 10 February, Foster was repeatedly told by Clemmensen “to ‘find money’ for Mrs Carson,” according to the complaint, and that “$5,000 will not even buy a decent chair.” Foster said she complained to HUD’s budget director about being asked to break the spending limit.
Foster also suggested that the retaliation against her came as a result of her complaints about being “barred from handling a pair of sensitive freedom of information act (FOIA) requests relating to Trump apparently because she was perceived to be a Democrat”:
“The information responsive to the FOIA requests reveal that Ms Patton wanted Ms Kasper fired because she was critical of President Trump,” according to Foster’s complaint. Foster said she was told by Deena Jih, another HUD attorney, that Jih had heard Foster was being sidelined because she was thought to be a Democrat.
According to The Guardian, Foster was registered as a Republican in 2003 per public records. As for her current political affiliation, her attorney, Joseph Kaplan, refused to comment on the matter. Foster herself chose not to provide any comments for The Guardian‘s story either.
(Via The Guardian)