Hogan accuses O’Malley of misleading on mansion-furniture deal

WASHINGTON — The fight over furniture at the Maryland governor’s mansion escalated Tuesday, with current Gov. Larry Hogan accusing former governor Martin O’Malley, now a Democratic presidential contender, of misleading the public about a deal that let O’Malley leave the mansion with 54 pieces of furniture.

At a news conference on Tuesday, Hogan said O’Malley never told him that the furniture Hogan admired during a tour of the governor’s mansion was paid for by taxpayers.

“I asked,” Hogan said, recalling how he admired the furniture in the living room and family room.

Hogan said he asked whether the furniture was O’Malley’s or whether it had been paid for with tax dollars. “And he said, ‘This is mine.’ And it wasn’t…it was paid for by the taxpayers.”

But O’Malley has told The Washington Post that his purchase of the furniture — at a rate well below the $62,000 originally paid for the collection — had been disclosed to the current governor.

Hogan called that assertion “blatantly false.”

“At no time did Gov. O’Malley or the First Lady mention anything about their plan to take the 54 pieces of furniture. I had no idea—it was never mentioned. I think he simply made that up to The Washington Post,” Hogan said.

O’Malley has said in the past that his purchase was within the rules set by the Department of General Services. But an ethics investigation has been launched, and if it’s found that O’Malley was given a preferential price on the furniture, it could be a violation of the rules regarding purchase of state property.

The Baltimore Sun has reported that the former governor paid $9,638 for the 54-piece collection.

The dustup does show that the Republican Hogan and Democrat O’Malley can agree on one thing: They have similar taste in furniture.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report.

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