Michael Grimm aka The Grimminal
United States Congressman Michael Grimm (Republican, Staten Island) has entered a guilty plea to a single count of willfully filing a fraudulent tax claim in connection with the government’s 20-count indictment against him in Brooklyn federal court. Grimm was charged, in a 20-count federal indictment in April, with hiding more than $1 million in sales and wages at a Manhattan restaurant, and of hiring undocumented immigrants.
Grimm pled guilty to felony tax fraud after pleading not guilty to all 20 federal charges against him in April. The charges stem from the Manhattan health food restaurant, Healthalicious, he co-owned before being elected. The charges include withholding about $1 million in sales and wages, hiring undocumented immigrants and perjury.
In his guilty plea, Grimm signed a six-page statement, a “stipulation of facts” admitting to all the charges outlined in it, including that he concealed more than $900,000 in gross receipts, paid employees off the books and that by doing so, federal and state taxes and insurance premiums suffered a loss of between $80,000 and $200,000.
Grimm could face a maximum prison sentence of three years followed by a year of supervised release, but his status in Congress and whether or not he resigns was not part of the plea deal. While Grimm feels he can still serve constituents, he could face up to three years in prison, a year of supervised release and a maximum $100,000 fine. He could have to pay as much as $200,000 in restitution to the IRS, state tax department and state insurance fund. Additionally, one of the nineteen other felonies that Grimm admitted to was that he committed perjury while in office. This requires Congress to investigate him, and to levy applicable penalties.
The worst part about all of this is Grimm is a sitting U.S. congressman who has failed to fulfill the basic duties of a citizen. All citizens are expected to pay their taxes. All employers are expected to follow labor laws and provide legally mandated coverages for their employees. Citizens are expected go give truthful testimony in proceedings before courts. Citizens may maintain their silence in the face of investigations, but must not lie to agencies.
Resignation Preferable For All
Grimm is now the second consecutive Republican from Staten Island, joining Vito Fossella who resigned due to a DUI charge, to presumably end his political career in shame. Like Fossella, Grimm should resign. While ultimately, a federal judge and leadership in Congress will decide his appropriate punishment and ultimately determine whether he will be able to continue to serve, he is a member of Congress who is now an admitted felon. It’s not about Michael Grimm nor about what he’s done for Staten Island. Resignation would show people that there are consequences for ones actions no matter who you are. Much like a police officer, a congressman must be an example of honesty and integrity.
Special thanks to the Staten Island Advance.