BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Governor showdown. Governor Larry Hogan lashed out at former Governor Martin O’Malley, saying he lied about furniture bought from the governor’s mansion. There are new accusations over $62,000 in furnishings; Hogan says O’Malley isn’t telling the truth about furniture he bought at a deep discount before leaving office.
Investigator Mike Hellgren has more on where that furniture ended up and what else Hogan said Tuesday.
This is making headlines, as O’Malley is on the presidential campaign trail.
What got Hogan so upset was an article in the Washington Post and a conversation the former governor referenced—the two have very different memories of it.
As former governor Martin O’Malley campaigns for president, he faces a growing controversy about furniture his family bought from the governor’s mansion when he left office: more than 50 handpicked items for which taxpayers footed a $62,000 bill. The state charged the governor a little more than $9,500—just 15% of the original cost.
Governor Larry Hogan became incensed after reading an interview O’Malley gave to the Washington Post, where O’Malley said his wife explained the process to Hogan’s family.
“I can tell you it was absolutely, blatantly false. At no time did Governor O’Malley or the first lady ever mention anything about their plan to take the 54 pieces of furniture,” he said. “He simply made that up to the Washington Post.”
O’Malley now lives in Baltimore’s picturesque Homeland neighborhood. He recently told the Washington Post that his family followed the rules when buying the furniture, that he’s surprised by the scandal and that if he’d known there’d be this much fuss, he never would have bought it.
In a new statement, O’Malley’s spokeswoman told WJZ, “Under the direction of the Department of General Services, the O’Malleys—just as the Ehrlichs did before them—purchased these non-historic household materials with their own money, according to guidelines set by the DGS.”
The Department of General Services has asked the State Ethics Commission for guidance on sales to outgoing elected officials. No formal investigation has been launched.
“I asked, `This is a beautiful living room, family room. Does this belong to the state or is this your furniture you brought with you from Baltimore’ and he said, `This is mine’ and it wasn’t. It was owned by the taxpayers,” Hogan said. “He’s been misleading. No question about it.”
There was little furniture in the mansion’s living areas when he first took office. Maryland does have a policy prohibiting “preferential sales” to government officials.
O’Malley also said he believes the issue is being brought up because he’s running for president.