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Son of close Carson friend hired at HUD

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson will name the son of his close friend and business associate as de...

Posted: May 31, 2018 9:12 AM
Updated: May 31, 2018 9:12 AM

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson will name the son of his close friend and business associate as deputy chief of staff, the department confirmed Wednesday.

Alfonso Costa Jr., 29, is expected to join the department in the coming weeks, a source familiar with the decision told CNN.

The arrival comes as one of Carson's closest political aides, deputy chief of staff Deana Bass, leaves the department and shortly after a relative novice to housing policy, Andrew Hughes, was promoted to chief of staff.

"Alfonso Costa Jr. is a graduate of Yale, Oxford and Harvard Law," HUD spokesman Raffi Williams said in a statement to CNN. "If his academic achievements are any indication of success, we are confident he will make significant contributions to the Department. The Secretary looks forward to having him serve as trusted and valued adviser."

Calls to Costa's phone number were not returned.

Costa's father is a dentist-turned-real-estate-investor who Carson has described as "one of my closest, if not my very closest friend." Carson and his wife were involved in a 2007 real estate deal with the senior Costa. Later that year, after the elder Costa was convicted for health care fraud, Carson wrote on his behalf to the federal judge sentencing him.

"I could literally trust him with all of my earthly possessions and rest assured that I would get all of them back with interest," Carson wrote to the judge. "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."

A New York Times reporter earlier tweeted the Costa hiring.

Carson, a former renowned neurosurgeon, arrived at HUD with no prior government or housing experience, and has previously landed in hot water for blurring the lines between close personal relationships and department business.

The agency's inspector general is currently investigating the role of Carson's family in official HUD business as well as the purchase of a $31,000 dining set for the secretary's office suite.

His son, Ben Carson Jr., held and coordinated official meetings, including organizing an official "listening tour" event for Carson in Baltimore last year. Carson Jr. is not a federal employee and has business dealings in Baltimore -- raising questions about whether Carson Jr. and his building company benefited from his father's government position.

Secretary Carson called the revelations, based on internal emails, an "attack by the media," and wrote in a social media post that he "insisted that HUD operate in an open and ethical manner." He also called for the agency's inspector general to review the matter, and that review is underway.

The Carson family has a decades-long friendship and business relationship with the senior Costa, who works in real estate in Pennsylvania. In 2007, they and Costa purchased a Pittsburgh office building, according to property and business records, which ties the Carsons to holding companies incorporated at Costa's house. Carson also listed the two companies on the financial disclosure form he submitted in 2017 ahead of his confirmation as housing secretary.

One of the Costas contributed $5,400 to Carson's presidential campaign in 2015; publicly reported campaign finance records are not clear whether the contribution was from the father or the son.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 343505

Reported Deaths: 7543
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds23932444
DeSoto23229283
Harrison20527329
Rankin15411291
Jackson15232252
Madison10959227
Lee10719179
Jones9047169
Forrest8723159
Lauderdale7884244
Lowndes7054151
Lamar702989
Lafayette6548124
Washington5595139
Pearl River5196152
Bolivar4954134
Oktibbeha494398
Panola4771112
Warren4728128
Marshall4701106
Pontotoc447773
Union433279
Monroe4330137
Neshoba4281181
Hancock428088
Lincoln4176116
Pike3667113
Leflore3627125
Tate353388
Alcorn350974
Sunflower347694
Scott341176
Adams340988
Yazoo339376
Copiah324968
Simpson322891
Itawamba314680
Coahoma314085
Tippah306568
Prentiss298863
Covington293484
Leake285475
Marion284181
Wayne277543
George272251
Grenada269488
Newton262364
Tishomingo239770
Winston236784
Jasper230648
Stone229637
Attala226373
Chickasaw219060
Holmes200174
Clay197654
Clarke186880
Tallahatchie183742
Calhoun181332
Smith179235
Yalobusha171540
Walthall145748
Lawrence142826
Greene140134
Amite137543
Noxubee135235
Perry133538
Montgomery133044
Carroll126431
Webster121232
Jefferson Davis116734
Tunica114227
Benton106725
Claiborne105331
Kemper102429
Humphreys100133
Franklin87923
Quitman84719
Choctaw82619
Wilkinson78032
Jefferson71328
Sharkey51618
Issaquena1736
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 577463

Reported Deaths: 11510
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson841981589
Mobile47171860
Madison37047533
Tuscaloosa26915465
Shelby26873256
Montgomery25918625
Baldwin24499328
Lee16949181
Calhoun15252332
Morgan15017290
Etowah14778370
Marshall12933235
Houston11774292
Elmore10761217
St. Clair10617252
Limestone10574158
Cullman10363205
Lauderdale10083254
DeKalb9382191
Talladega8836188
Walker7681287
Autauga7479114
Jackson7317117
Blount7266139
Colbert6635142
Coffee6163132
Dale5453117
Russell470642
Chilton4682117
Covington4649125
Franklin450081
Tallapoosa4440156
Escambia427882
Chambers3898125
Dallas3717163
Clarke367763
Marion3427106
Pike327879
Lawrence3225101
Winston294973
Bibb284565
Geneva276383
Marengo259967
Barbour246261
Pickens240062
Butler238272
Hale232778
Fayette225264
Henry209245
Monroe197241
Randolph196744
Cherokee196348
Washington180139
Macon168752
Crenshaw165558
Clay163759
Cleburne160245
Lamar149938
Lowndes144854
Wilcox130531
Bullock126142
Conecuh119630
Coosa116929
Perry109928
Sumter109032
Greene98736
Choctaw64325
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Columbus
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Very hot and very humid conditions linger in our area for our Saturday. However, the heat and humidity start to dwindle a bit as we go into our Sunday and beyond. As a matter of fact below normal high temperatures for this time of year.
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