Ben Carson continues his reign of foolishness as the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The former doctor’s policies are horrendous, from his family’s alleged involvement to a proposal to raise the rent on low-income people to blocking Obama’s Small Area Fair Market Rent rule. In addition, the team he has hired is equally ridiculous, especially those who attack journalists or lie to media outlets. Carson’s latest hire is seriously problematic.
According to CNN.com, Carson hired 29-year-old Alfonso Costa Jr. who, according to HUD spokesman Raffi Williams, “is a graduate of Yale, Oxford and Harvard Law.” Costa Jr. will serve as Carson’s deputy chief of staff, but CNN.com reports his father, Al Costa, is one of Carson’s BFFs who is a dentist-turned-real-estate-investor.
In 2007, Carson said about Costa that he is “one of my closest, if not my very closest friend.” In addition, Ben and Candy Carson had a real estate deal with Costa. But here is the strangest part: CNN.com reports Costa was convicted of healthcare fraud in 2007, and Ben Carson wrote to the judge on his behalf at the sentencing, “I could literally trust him with all of my earthly possessions and rest assured that I would get all of them back with interest. To sum it up, next to my wife of 32 years, there is no one on this planet that I trust more than Al Costa.”
Reportedly, Costa charged insurance companies $44,000 in dental work that was never done. He was facing 18 months in prison, but only received three years probation. In 2015, Mother Jones reported that Costa and Carson were business associates and Carson profited somewhere between $200,000 and $2 million for a suburban Pittsburgh office building that he owned and Costa’s firm managed. Now, Costa’s son will be working for HUD.
This is one of many strange hires at HUD. Earlier this month, CNN.com reported former Uber driver Andrew Hughes, 32, was hired to be Ben Carson’s chief of staff at HUD.
Outside of degrees from Ivy League schools — that nearly any person with wealthy parents can receive — there is no explanation of what experience 29-year-old Alfonso Costa Jr. has to be a deputy chief of staff. Oh, this is the Trump administration, which is equivalent to the friends and family discount—it’s all about who you know and who you worship.