In a recent congressional testimony, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson appeared to think that a freshman Democrat was questioning him about Oreo cookies when she was, in fact, asking him about foreclosure properties.
Rep. Katie Porter, a California Democrat, asked Carson about real estate owned properties — or REOs, properties that fail to sell at foreclosure auctions — during his testimony before the House Financial Services Committee.
“I’d also like you to get back to me if you don’t mind to explain the disparity in REO rates,” Porter said to Carson. “Do you know what an REO is?” Carson replied, “An Oreo?”
“No, not an Oreo,” Porter said. “An R-E-O. REO.”
Carson responded, “Real estate …” before pausing.
Porter asked, “what’s the O stand for?,” to which Carson answered, “organization.”
Porter replied, “Owned, real estate owned. That’s what happens when a property goes to foreclosure; we call it an R-E-O.”