"Next to my wife of 32 years, there is no one on this planet that I trust more than [Alfonso] Costa," Ben Carson said at a 2008 sentencing hearing for the man he calls his best friend. "We discovered that we were so much alike and shared the same values and principles that govern our lives." Carson may have to elaborate on those shared values and his loyalty to Costa, a former dentist convicted of charging for never-performed procedures, the AP reports. Records examined by the AP show the men have been entwined for some time, including Costa's ongoing involvement with Carson's children's charity and his son's role in Carson's election campaign. Most notable, though, is the money Carson has made with commercial real-estate investments via Costa, earning Carson and his wife between $200,000 and $2 million a year, per candidacy financial records.
The AP notes Costa's ongoing links to Carson—who's always sworn the case against Costa was bogus, notes Mother Jones—are in the spotlight because Carson came out in 2013 with harsh words for those convicted of health care fraud, saying such convicts should go to prison for at least a decade and have to give up "all of one's personal possessions"—what the AP notes he called the "Saudi Arabian solution" in his 2011 book America the Beautiful. Carson's campaign spokesman told the AP Wednesday that he couldn't give any details on specific questions, but he did confirm that Carson and Costa "are best friends and ... do hold business investments together." And where Carson spent his most recent vacation to Italy in September? At Costa's luxury villa on the Amalfi coast, per Mother Jones. Read the full AP report.