Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson on Wednesday offered to educate Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) about real estate owned property (REO), a term he appeared to be unfamiliar with during a Tuesday hearing.
During a House Financial Services Committee, Carson confused REOs with Oreo cookies as he was questioned by Porter about foreclosures.
“It was, first of all, it was 3 1/2 hours of testimony. So you can see that some of the networks are only interested those kinds of sound bites that they can use to ridicule,” Carson told Stuart Varney of the Fox Business Network.
“You know the fact of the matter is, I was having difficulty hearing her. And, of course, I’m very familiar with foreclosed properties. And with REOs. I have read extensively about them. Knew about them, even as a teenager. There was a lot of blighted areas in Detroit where I grew up.”
“But what is interesting, you know, that we, when a family gets into a problem with their mortgage and it is backed by our agency we go through a lot of procedures with the banks to make sure that they don’t get foreclosed upon. In a few cases where they do, obviously, we’re able to sell those properties very quickly. And the, REO portfolio, just over the last 10 years, has dramatically decreased by tenfold,” Carson added.
“You know, 65,000 down to 6,500. So I suspect when Katie Porter was an expert in this area things were very different. That is why I invited her to speak with our staff that deals with these so they can bring her up to date. Maybe she would then be able to understand what is going on,” he concluded.
Porter said Wednesday that Carson’s responses at the hearing indicated he wasn’t prepared for his job.
“My questions were serious — they weren’t designed to be funny,” Porter said. “He’s clearly done absolutely nothing to even learn about this problem, much less address it.”