Major portions of an incoming member of Congress’ résumé do not stand up to scrutiny—including his career and educational credentials, a New York Times investigation has found. George Santos, a Republican who once bragged about paying legal bills for Jan. 6 rioters, won election in a once-blue district in the New York suburbs.
The Daily Beast reported during the campaign that Santos’ most recent employer was accused by federal regulators of being a Ponzi scheme. Now the Times’ probe has found even more questionable episodes in his history:
In a November interview, Santos claimed his company had four employees who were killed in the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre, but the Times cross-checked all the victims’ names against the firms that Santos mentions in his biography and found no overlap.
Santos claims to be a 2010 graduate of Baruch College, but the school could not find any record of him. The National Republican Congressional Committee’s bio of him includes enrollment at New York University, which could also not find any indication he took classes there.
Wall Street whodunit
The campaign biography says Santos’ work history includes stints at Citigroup and Goldman Sachs but those firms told the Times “they had no record of his ever working there,” the newspaper reported.
Phantom pet project
Santos says he founded a charity called Friends of Pets United in 2013, but the IRS and the attorney generals of New York and New Jersey could find no record of it being registered as a tax-exempt organization. Furthermore, a New Jersey animal group that co-hosted a $50-a-ticket fundraiser with Santos in 2017 said it never received any of the proceeds.
The congressman-elect has said that his family has a real-estate portfolio, claiming in February that they own 13 properties. But the Times says the only real estate he listed on financial disclosure forms was an apartment in Rio de Janeiro—and no records of other property could be found.
Santos claimed on financial disclosures that he earned a $750,000 salary and millions in dividends as an owner of the Devolder Organization, but the newspaper said it could not locate any assets for the Florida-registered company.
The Times was able to find records of a 2010 charge in Santos’ native Brazil for stealing a checkbook and using the checks to buy shoes, and two New York City eviction proceedings against him in 2015 and 2017.
The Times said Santos did not provide any documentation to refute its reporting. His lawyer said only that 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.”
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