(NewsNation) — Representative-elect George Santos from Long Island flipped New York’s third district from blue to red. He beat Democrat Robert Zimmerman by eight points last month, but now, Santos is accused of misrepresenting key parts of his background.
Recent reporting has poked holes into parts of his biography, including his education, charitable efforts and basic work history. It’s also been discovered that there’s a criminal charge against him.
According to his website, Santos is the son of Brazilian immigrants and a first generation American born in Queens, New York, and the first openly gay Republican to win the House seat. Santos, on his website, claims he is a seasoned Wall Street financier and investor. He reportedly had stints at Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and MetGlobal.
The incoming congressman-elect previously said he worked at Citigroup after college, rising to an associate asset manager in the company’s real estate division. But The New York Times reports that a Citigroup spokeswoman said they could not confirm that Santos ever worked there and said she was unfamiliar with the job title from Santos since Citigroup sold off its asset management operation in 2005, before he claims he worked there. A spokesperson for Goldman Sachs also told The New York Times there is no record of Santos working for them, either.
Santos says he graduated from Baruch College in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance, but The New York Times found that the school could not find any records of anyone matching his name or date of birth. Around the same time, when he was allegedly at Baruch College, Brazilian court records uncovered by the New York Times say Santos allegedly stole someone’s checkbook to make fraudulent purchases. They report that two years later, Santos confessed to the crime and was later charged.
The National Republican Congressional Committee website says Santos also attended New York University, but an NYU spokesperson told Axios they found no record of someone matching his name and date of birth attending the university.
The congressman-elect’s wealth and work history have also been called into question. Santos allegedly reported a $750,000 salary with more than $1 million in dividends from his company called the Devolder Organization. But again, the Times could not find anything to back up his claim of making a fortune in real estate.
In an interview, Santos told WNYC that his business “lost four employees” in the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. But the Times reports that none of the victims appear to have worked at firms that have been named in his biography.
The congressman-elect’s attorney, Joe Murray, issued the following statement on The New York Times report:
“On the verge of being sworn in as a member of the Republican led 118th Congress, the New York Times launches this shotgun blast of attacks. It is 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. As Winston Churchill famously stated, ‘you have enemies? Good. It means that you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.’”
Two people who know Santos appeared Monday on NewsNation’s “Dan Abrams Live” to discuss the scathing report.
Democrat Robert Zimmerman lost to Santos in the midterm. He said the report from The New York Times is “validating” to many questions and issues that were raised during the campaign.
“A lot of the questions and information were out there. The Times had, of course, the ability to take it to another level with their excellent investigative journalism,” Zimmerman said.
Dan Abrams asked Zimmerman if he feels his campaign team failed to uncover what the Times is now reporting.
‘It’s really not about a failing on anyone’s part. It’s about the fact that George Santos is a fraud,” Zimmerman said, later adding: “I’m very proud of the fact that many of the issues that were brought up by the Times and were raised by other media sources came about because of the opposition research done by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, came about because of many of the issues that we had also followed up on.”
Grant Lally serves as the attorney for the North Shore Leader, who broke parts of the story on Santos in September.
“He (Santos) makes up stories and just looks people in the eye and lies to them. And he did that to local elected officials, local Republican activists. People smelled this and they caught him in his lies. A lot of the local Republicans, and I’m a Republican, refused to have pictures with him because he was such a, as one elected official put it, a pathological liar,” Lally said.
He continued: “He was widely known in Republican circles as ‘George Scamtos’ this past summer, and we published that in a September article.”
Zimmerman said he came across many reporters who acknowledged that they didn’t have the bandwidth to investigate Santos.