O’Malley’s Discount Furniture: Why Hogan Moved into a “Largely Unfurnished” Government House

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Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is being scrutinized by the state ethics board for some furniture purchases at the same time that he struggles to gain a footing in the Democratic presidential primary.

O’Malley recently joked about his lackluster poll numbers in Iowa five months ahead of the Democratic caucuses. “We’ve got them right where we want them,” he told a group of Iowan college students. And if that weren’t enough, O’Malley suddenly has some very questionable furniture purchases to answer for.

According to the Baltimore Sun, before O’Malley’s gubernatorial term was up, he bought 54 furnishings from Government House at a huge discount, a move that allegedly left the residence “largely unfurnished” when Gov. Larry Hogan moved in.

O’Malley representatives told the Sun that the purchases were conducted correctly. But it certainly doesn’t look like they were. Given that the public wasn’t allowed to make an offer on any of the furniture, that all 54 pieces were declared surplus and subsequently declared “unserviceable” in a single day, and that it was discounted by an an average of around 85 percent of the original price, it looks like “the preferential sale or gratuitous disposition of property to a state official or employee,” which is prohibited.

If it’s any consolation to O’Malley, it looks like former Gov. Robert Ehrlich is also being scrutinized for his own purchase of Government House furnishings, though the scale of that one is much smaller. The O’Malleys reportedly paid $9,638 for the “unserviceable” “junk” which originally cost taxpayers $62,000. Ehrlich reportedly paid $992 for items which originally cost taxpayers $9,904.

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  1. 54 pieces of furniture for under $10,000??? How about if I, as a citizen, buy them and donate them to Habitat for Humanity? Or the furniture could just go directly back to the people in some other way, assuming that it isn’t “good enough” for the governor’s mansion anymore. I wouldn’t mind the Maryland taxes so much, if I could see them used in a more altruistic and directly charitable way. I have a hunch that governors don’t really need such a drastic discount, and besides, soon O’Malley will have the White House furniture at his disposal…

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