‘Oreo?’: US HUD Head Mistakes Real Estate Term for Cookie During Questioning

Clay Curtis
May 22, 2019

Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), speaks after signing a ceremonial agreement between the federal government and the City of New York meant to correct mismanagement of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), during a press conference at the Jacob Javits Federal Building, January 31, 2019 in New York City.

If a homeowner can not pay their mortgage, a lender may seize the property and try to sell it in a foreclosure auction.

Porter: Owned. Real estate owned.

Porter: "REO. No, not an Oreo".

"The "D" in HUD does not stand for 'deportation, '" said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), even though deportation has nothing to do with HUD's plan.

When asked about REOs, or real estate owned properties, the former neurosurgeon's brain immediately went to the world of sandwich cookies.

Carson's gaffe triggered an avalanche of tweets that weren't particularly flattering to the HUD secretary.

Carson seemed to take the misstep in stride, tweeting a photo of himself with a handwritten note to Porter and a package of Oreos he promised to send her way. "Sending some your way!"

"FHA loans have much higher REOs - that is they go to foreclosure rather than to loss mitigation or to non-foreclosure alternatives like shortsales - than comparable loans at the GSEs", Porter said.

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C-SPAN posted the videos of Tuesday's hearing online.

One could only think Carson wished the hearing would stop after the first exchange. "And while I was pleased to receive correspondence from him, what I'm really looking for is answers".

Carson: "Oreo?" a perplexed Carson answered.

REOs are foreclosed properties that fail to sell at auction and become owned by banks.

"I was asking serious questions about serious problems that Americans are facing", she added. When Pressley said, "You don't get to do that", Carson, seeming uninformed, simply said, "oh". "The foreclosure rate continues to exist at FHA and the foreclosure proceedings and processes have been bad for over 15 years I worked on the issue".

From the start of Tuesday's hearing, Carson clashed with Democratic lawmakers.

"E-Organization", he replied, not very convincingly. But Republican Rep. Bill Posey of Florida said he'd use his time to let Carson respond.

"If you read Saul Alinsky's book "Rules for Radicals" you can see exactly what they are doing-Look at rule 5 and rule 13-they don't even know that they are being used".

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