Newly-elected US congressman invented his past – NYT
George Santos, who made history last month when he flipped a competitive New York seat to become the first openly gay Republican member of the US House of Representatives, allegedly made up his life story, according to the New York Times, which belatedly dug into the congressman’s past on Monday.
Santos presented himself as the “full embodiment of the American Dream,” a second-generation Brazilian immigrant, former Wall Street banker and real estate investor who rescued animals in his spare time. However, the Times was unable to verify so much as his college degree – let alone his work resume, charitable works, his family real estate empire, or even his home address.
The outlet found that while he was supposedly studying finance at Baruch College, Brazilian court records show Santos was being prosecuted for allegedly stealing the checkbook of a man his mother was caring for. Citigroup and Goldman Sachs could find no record of Santos working for them. Santos also claimed to be a landlord managing 13 properties, but no records exist of his owning property in New York City or Long Island. He was, however, evicted twice from apartments in Queens, in 2015 and 2017.
Even Santos’ animal rescue “charity,” Friends of Pets United, was not registered as a nonprofit, and a New Jersey animal rescue group that partnered with him for a fundraiser told the Times it never received its share of the money.
Santos did work for Harbor City Capital, an investment company charged with running a $17 million Ponzi scheme, though he insists he left before charges were filed. While he listed over $1 million in earnings and dividends from a company he founded on campaign financial disclosures, the scarce public information about the firm is self-contradictory.
When the Times attempted to interview the congressman about the holes in his story at the address where he is registered to vote, the individual who answered the door claimed not to know him.
It remains unclear why the Democratic Party did not do basic opposition research on Santos, a vocal Trump ally who questioned the authenticity of the 2020 election results and opposed abortion rights. The incumbent Democrat Tom Suozzi abandoned his seat to challenge Kathy Hochul for governor, resulting in a seven-way primary fight, while Santos ran unopposed as a Republican.
December 19, 2022
Santos' campaign responded to the allegeations on Monday, with his attorney, Joseph Murray, saying it was “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.”