Incoming GOP House Rep Apparently Fabricated His Life Story
Incoming Republican New York Congressman George Santos appears to have presented voters and the public at large with a personal history that's positively riddled with falsehoods, according to a damning exposé from The New York Times.
For starters, Santos claimed that he earned degrees in economics and finance from Baruch College and New York University. However, when the Times inquired, neither school was able to locate any record of this attendance.
After securing his degrees, he supposedly became "an associate asset manager" in Citigroup's real estate division, according to a biography on his campaign website. A Citi spokeswoman not only told the Times that Citi couldn't confirm he'd worked there, but that his claimed job title wasn't familiar either -- and Citi sold its asset management division in 2005.
His shiny campaign resumé also included a claimed stint at Goldman Sachs. If you've picked up on the pattern, you've already guessed -- correctly -- that Goldman Sachs couldn't find any record of his employment.
Santos said he was the founder and leader of "Friends of Pets United," a supposed tax-exempt organization. While the Times found some traces of the organization on Facebook, the IRS found no indication it held tax-exempt status, and neither New York nor New Jersey officials could find records of such a registered charity.
It just keeps gets better: Friends of Pets United held a joint $50-a-head fundraiser, but the event's beneficiary says she never received a dime -- just excuses from Santos on why the money wasn't coming through.
During the same period as the purported pet philanthropy, Santos was the subject of an eviction suit, where was accused of owing $2,250 in rent. Two years later -- in 2017 -- he was again the target of an eviction claim, this time allegedly owing more than $10,000. Eviction was ordered, and Santos was fined more than $12,000.
In an apparent case of massive projection, in 2021 Santos claimed he was a landlord suffering from the consequences of New York's eviction moratorium. The Times couldn't find any records of his property ownership.
Will we landlords ever be able to take back possession of our property? My family and I nearing a 1 year anniversary of not receiving rent on 13 properties!!! The state is collecting their tax, yet we get 0 help from the government. We worked hard to acquire these assets...— George Santos (@Santos4Congress) February 9, 2021
Santos also reported having received a $750,000 salary and a million to five million dollars in dividends over the last two years -- from the "Devolder Organization," a mysterious entity with no public website or LinkedIn presence. During the same time, he lent more than $700,000 to his campaign.
Santos has portrayed Devolder as his "family's firm" that managed $80 million:
"He described it as a capital introduction consulting company, a type of boutique firm that serves as a liaison between investment funds and deep-pocketed investors. But Mr. Santos’s disclosures did not reveal any clients, an omission three election law experts said could be problematic if such clients exist." -- New York Times
Probing his past in Brazil, the Times also unearthed criminal charges against Santos -- and a confession -- over an incident in which "he stole the checkbook of a man his mother was caring for."
The openly gay Santos claimed that his company "lost four employees" in the June 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting. He didn't specify the company, and the Times couldn't find any overlap between profiles of the 49 dead and any of the companies Santos claimed to have worked for. (Like many others, he implied the assault on the Orlando club was an attack on the LGBT community -- reinforcing a persistent myth about the shooter's target selection.)
The 34-year old Santos won his northern Long Island and Northeast Queens district by 8 points, in a mild upset in an historic, first-ever congressional tussle between two openly gay men.
In a statement tweeted by Santos on Monday afternoon, his lawyer said it's “no surprise that Congressman-elect Santos has enemies at The New York Times who are attempting to smear his good name with these defamatory allegations.”
December 19, 2022
Icing on the cake: The lawyer attributes to Churchill a quote he apparently never said.
Santos faces more than just humiliation. If he's found to have knowingly and willfully made material omissions or misrepresentations on his House financial disclosures, he faces penalties of up to $250,000 and five years in prison.
He could well face a House ethics investigation, but the timing of that seems to make it likely that, barring his resignation, he'll be sworn in in January.
Just hours after the Times notified him about their pending report, looking like a man thrashing around for a lifeline, Santos posted a resounding endorsement of Kevin McCarthy, who's in the midst of a tumultuous drive to become Speaker of the House.
We have the opportunity of a lifetime to deliver real results for the American people. We MUST give the gavel to @kevinomccarthy to ensure we stop the disastrous policies the Dems have pushed for the last 2 years.— George Santos (@Santos4Congress) December 19, 2022
I encourage my colleagues to join me! Our country depends on it.