Tag Archive: NY-11

Dec 30 2014

The End of the Grimm Affair

Finally accepting his untenable position to remain in office, tough guy, Representative Michael Grimm (R-NY11) has decided to resign his House seat sparing the people of Staten Island and Brooklyn the embarrassment of having a convicted felon representing them. Mr. Grimm spoke yesterday with House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) who obviously laid out the grim options (pardon the pun).

House rules dictate that a member convicted of a crime for which a prison sentence of two years or more may be imposed should not participate in committee meetings or vote on the floor until winning re-election. The stricture could have left Mr. Grimm’s 11th district effectively disenfranchised until 2016.

After sources leaked the news of the resignation to The New York Daily News early Monday, Mr. Grimm released a statement at midnight that he had changed his mind and would not stay in Congress, stating that he would resign on January 5th.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will set a date for a special election.

The judge should throw the book at him for deceiving the voters and using his office as a bargaining chip for a lighter sentence, as expalained by Blake Zeff at Salon:

It will take some time, specifically until the announcement of his criminal sentence, to fully appreciate the snow job Michael Grimm just pulled on Staten Island voters. But we already know plenty enough to call it a criminal’s virtuoso parting heist.

Grimm, you’ll recall, ran for reelection last month as a two-term GOP incumbent in socially conservative Staten Island, with a 20-count indictment on his back. The charges, largely misunderstood by the voters (and media, for that matter), essentially amounted to this: He ran a restaurant some years back, and in an effort to skirt payroll taxes, paid workers under the table and submitted a fake payroll to the feds. He was then caught lying about it when a “real” payroll was discovered by prosecutors in his computer records.

This last part is important because it tells you what Grimm knew: he had lied to federal officers (a crime that never gets ignored), and they had the goods on him. In other words, he was very likely going to prison – and he knew it. [..]

The congressman was clearly never going to serve out his term, nor would he take his case to trial, as he had assured voters.

But he had a very good reason to convince voters otherwise.

If you’re headed to prison but want to cop a deal with the feds, you need a chip you can bargain in exchange for a lighter sentence. And for a politician, there are few chips more valuable than a seat you can resign. If Grimm lost his race last November, he’d have been a disgraced former congressman with no seat to give up and, likely, real prison time. If he won, he’d have the golden House seat to drop in exchange for – he hoped – leniency.

It is the NYT article best sums up the end of this sad affair:

Whoever takes Mr. Grimm’s seat will be unlikely to match his track record as a source of national fascination, or satire. A tough-talking politician with a clenched jaw and an intense stare, a fondness for dark-tailored suits and Brooklyn wine bars, Mr. Grimm brought with him a reputation for controversy, including the time – back in his law enforcement days – when he reportedly waved a gun around a Queens nightclub. He carried himself with a bravado that was on display until the end.

Mr. Grimm knew this was coming when he was indicted for tax evasion last April. Instead of admitting it then and withdrawing from the race, he decided to arrogantly stand his ground and lie about his guilt, bringing unwanted attention to Staten Island and, now, costing NY tax payers millions for a special election. Never mind the money that his supporters donated to his campaign, they should have seen the handwriting on the wall. The IRS and FBI do not bring these charges unless they can win. Remember Al Capone?

But too many Staten Island voters still love the tough guy image and swagger, hopefully this time they will make a better choice.

Dec 26 2014

The Grimm Affair

In a predictable fashion, convicted felon and admitted liar, Representative Michael Grimm refused to resign from his seat representing Staten Island and part of Brooklyn in New York’s Congressional District 11.

Representative Grimm said he had no intention of stepping down. “Absolutely not,” he said.

He sounded equally resolute when he declared himself “guilty” to Judge Pamela K. Chen of United States District Court in Brooklyn, who accepted his plea and noted that it included his signing of a “statement of facts” in which he acknowledged committing perjury, hiring illegal immigrants and committing wire fraud.

Judge Chen then commanded Mr. Grimm to return to court for sentencing on June 8. Federal prosecutors, who along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service have investigated Mr. Grimm for years, are seeking a penalty of at least two years in prison. His lawyers, some of whom joined the proceedings via conference call from Florida, are asking for a more lenient sentence and will almost certainly recommend probation.

However, Judge Chen didn’t sound like she would be considering probation:

“Do you understand all of the possible consequences of your guilty plea?” she asked.

“I do, Your Honor,” he said.

Judge Chen warned that she could “depart upward or downward” from sentencing guidelines. Mr. Grimm said he understood, and also acknowledged that he had forfeited his right to appeal any sentence less than 33 months in jail.

Mr. Grimm still doesn’t have the decency to resign. Nor did 54% of Staten Island voters have the decency to reject him, even though it was clear in November that Mr. Grimm would at least be convicted of the tax evasion charge. The IRS rarely loses. Now, not only was he guilty of tax evasion but admitted that he lied and that the other charges were fact. How fitting that the red district of NYC should be represented by a Crook and a liar.

It took MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow two segments to highlight just how embarrassing this will be for the GOP to have a felon serving in congress and Sadly, the few options to pressure Mr. Grimm to resign.

Tuesday’s Rachel Maddow Show started off with a brief review of crimers in Congress. It’s not as long a list as you might think! She focuses on California Republican Jay Kim, who was convicted of campaign fraud in 1998 and became the first – and so far, only – member of Congress who walked its hallowed halls wearing a monitoring bracelet attached to his ankle. Kim’s estranged wife said he was “the most crime-committing person I know.” He lost his primary that year and soon became the footnote he was destined to be.

Actual felons in Congress are something of a rarity, Maddow notes, because of a reassuring human tendency to eventually do the right thing – either the convicted Congressturds resign or the voters pick someone else.

In a laughable editorial, the conservative Staten Island Advance Editorial Board, with its usual right wing slant that this was a political witch hunt, has suggested that Mr. Grimm to step down:

Just two months ago, the Staten Island Advance urged voters to elect Michael Grimm to a third term in the Congress.

That while he faced a 20-count federal indictment in connection with a health food restaurant he owned prior to entering political life.

Voters overwhelmingly agreed.

Today, we think Mr. Grimm would be right to step down from his position in the United States Congress. [..]

We have little doubt that legions of Mr. Grimm’s supporters will stand by him, and defend him.

But we also have little doubt that many on Staten Island are feeling their trust was misplaced and they were betrayed.

Over almost half a century, three different Staten Island representatives to the United States Congress have surrendered their better judgment, squandering their own significant talents that, in each instance, could have brought pride to our borough.

Instead, they brought embarrassment.

There are certain people who must be held to high standards in America. In recent months, we have seen so many examples of that. Police immediately come to mind. So does the mayor of New York.

People with whom we place our trust.

A United States congressman must be at, or certainly near, the top of that list.

Mr. Grimm the restaurateur didn’t let us down when he played fast and loose with the books. Mr. Grimm the Staten Island congressman did, when he played fast and loose with the truth.

This isn’t going away until Mr. Grimm goes away, hopefully, to prison where perhaps he’ll learn a little humility.

Dec 22 2014

Rep. Michael Grimm Will Plead Guilty to Tax Invasion: Up Date

Up Date 6:00 PM ET: Rep/ Grimm announced that he will not resign his House seat despite now being a convicted felon and possibly facing up to 3 years in prison.

Up Date 3:00 PM ET 12/23/14: Rep. Micheal Grimm Brooklyn Federal Court to a count of felony tax fraud. He issued the plea before Judge Pamela K. Chen shortly after 1:30 PM ET.

His status in Congress and whether or not he resigns was not part of the plea deal.

He could face a worst-case scenario of 24 to 30 months in prison.

Sentencing was scheduled for June 8 at 10:30 a.m.

Sources told the press this afternoon that Staten Island’s Repubkican Representative Michael Grimm (NY-11) will plead guilty to a single felony count of tax evasion.

Mr. Grimm, a former Marine and agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation who first ran for office as a law-and-order corruption fighter, is scheduled to appear in federal court in Brooklyn at 1 p.m. on Tuesday for a plea hearing, according to the docket sheet in his case, which provides no further detail.

He has said he would immediately resign if he were convicted. “If things don’t go my way, right? And I had to step down in January, then there will be a special election, and at least the people of Staten Island and Brooklyn can then have qualified candidates to choose from,” he told the radio talk-show host Geraldo Rivera in October.

After a lengthy investigation into allegations of campaign finance improprieties, federal prosecutors obtained a 20-count indictment in April charging Mr. Grimm with underreporting wages and revenue while he was running a restaurant on the Upper East Side of Manhattan called Healthalicious.

The charge carries a a penalty of up to three years in prison. However, as a first offender the judge may wave prison. Mr. Grimm has been very careful to couch his statements about stepping down if he was convicted. At his debate with Democratic Challenger Dominic Recchia, he was asked if he would resign if found guilty. He cautiously responded, “”Certainly, if I was not able to serve then of course I would step aside and there would be a special election.” If the judge is lenient, as many expect is likely, it would be up to the Republican led House to expel him.

Just prior to his latest legal predicament, Mr. Grimm displayed his bad temper when he threatened to throw NY-1 reporter, Michael Scotto, off the balcony of the Capitol Rotunda after President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. After a lot of negative press he apologized to Mr. Scotto, who said he would not press charges.

From the New York Times article, Mr. Grimm’s troubles are not over. He is still under federal investigation for his campaign finances, the potential mob ties of one of his business associates and the illegal activities of another.

Mr. Grimm continues to be an embarrassment to the Republican Party and people he represents, even though many of them still support him. He should just resign and slink away.