ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — A furniture feud is brewing in Maryland. Governor Larry Hogan blasts former governor Martin O’Malley for buying fancy furniture from the governor’s mansion at a deep discount. The State Ethics Commission is now looking into the matter.
Meghan McCorkell with the controversy.
O’Malley officials say the purchases were above board and the governor followed standard operating procedure from the Department of General Services.
As Martin O’Malley moved out of the governor’s mansion, a new Baltimore Sun investigation unveils a lot of furniture went with him.
A chair bought in 2004 for $1,500 sold to O’Malley for $15. The governor spent $12 on a mirror bought in 1995 for $1,200. For $8, he got a table that retailed for nearly $900 in 2003.
In all, the O’Malleys purchased 54 pieces of furniture that taxpayers paid $62,000 for–all for $9,600.
All of it was declared “junk” that would be thrown away.
But on his Facebook page, Governor Larry Hogan says: “If they call that expensive, beautiful barely used furniture ‘junk,’ I’d hate to hear what they call the 20 year old stuff I brought with me from my house to replace it all.”
“If the furniture really was junk why would anybody want to buy it?” asked political expert Matthew Crenson.
Crenson says O’Malley may need to answer for the deep discounts.
In a letter obtained by WJZ, the Attorney General’s Office asks the State Ethics Commission for a termination on the propriety of selling furniture to outgoing governors.
“I think they’ll be looking at whether there was any public announcement of this sale because these sales are not supposed to be made preferentially to government officials,” said Crenson.
It also happened with Republican Bob Ehrlich. Taxpayers paid nearly $10,000 for furnishings Ehrlich got for under $1,000.
The Ethics Commission will look into both purchases.
All of the furniture O’Malley purchased was in the residential section of the mansion–not the public rooms.
The state capital determined how much value each piece of furniture lost.