Michael Grimm's Long and Rocky Road

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Staten Island congressman Michael Grimm is mobbed by reporters following his arraignment on federal fraud charges in Brooklyn. Grimm denies the allegations in the 20-count federal indictment. Staten Island congressman Michael Grimm is mobbed by reporters following his arraignment on federal fraud charges in Brooklyn. Grimm denies the allegations in the 20-count federal indictment. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

New York Congressman Michael Grimm has been indicted on 20 counts surrounding his time as a health-food restaurateur - from underreporting wages and revenue to hiring undocumented workers. NY1 reporter Courtney Gross discusses the latest round of indictments, and how they are related to the other investigations into Grimm's political and business practices. And Evan Ratliff, co-founder of The Atavist who has written extensively about Grimm for The New Yorker, discusses Grimm's long and sometimes rocky road to politics, from his time as an FBI agent through his election in 2011.

Grimm on His Restaurant from 2010 WNYC Interview

Read the Full Grimm Indictment


Courtney Gross and Evan Ratliff

Comments [29]

J C from NYC

Sounds a little politically motivated. There is a very well known eatery in this city that ONLY! takes cash. I always find it pretty sketchy when they don't take a CC even for a meal over $100.
And I don't think there is a restaurant in this city that does not employ undocumented workers.
If this station felt like pissing off business owners in this city then run a story on just those two things, have it crowd sourced just cover all your bases.

Apr. 29 2014 05:41 PM
Nick from UWS

This is a man who threatened to murder a NY1 reporter by throwing him over a balcony; and he did it on-camera. Why is he even vaguely being taken seriously as a public servant? What the hell kind of ethical standards exist in this country? None, apparently.

Apr. 29 2014 03:21 PM
Leo from New Dorp, S.I.

Couldn't happen to a nicer creep.

Apr. 29 2014 11:03 AM
dsimon from NYC

To answer the redistricting question: Congressional districts are subject to strict requirements on equal population. The Staten Island district includes part of Brooklyn because there aren't enough people in Staten Island to constitute its own district.

Also, the current congressional lines were drawn by a federal judge (because our wonderful state legislature never got around to doing it). One can argue whether this particular map should have been drawn differently--there are many ways to draw "fair" districts--but these districts were not gerrymandered for political purposes.

Apr. 29 2014 10:46 AM
Dan from Brooklyn

Dear Brian,

Independent of the story of this slippery Congressperson, can you do a segment on the question raised by this segment regarding the restaurant business in New York? Based on several commenters and callers on air it seems there is a belief that illegal or extralegal exploitation of low wage workers and general tax evasion are necessarily part of the business models of city restaurants. This would seem to me to be a HUGE issue in regards to the larger question of inequality in New York and beyond. Although people on this comment board say I shouldn't be, I was, in fact, taken aback that such extralegal exploitation of low wage workers is assumed to be baked into the cake of the restaurant business, and if so would seem to be a big problem to me.

Apr. 29 2014 10:40 AM

HAHAHA "well this guy sucks, but he's a Republican so I have to vote for him I guess..." Definitely not a lazy sentiment.

Apr. 29 2014 10:28 AM
Sue from Manhattan

Why on Earth would anyone not a m/billionaire vote Republican? People, please look at whose interests the GOP really represents. Don't be a chump. (Yes, the Dems are no saints, and are stuck in the same perverted electoral system, but at least they represent policies helpful to the non-m/billionaire class!)

Apr. 29 2014 10:28 AM

I am a constituent, though not voted for Grimm.
As such, i cannot name one thing he did for his constituents in the past 4 years, except to cut taxes for tanning salons. ( for promoting skin cancer....?)
Staten Islanders have a high tolerance for fraudsters (see (Fossella , Molinari, Molinaro, etc)

Apr. 29 2014 10:25 AM

No surprise Staten Island supports a thug like grimm.
More proof they should be part of New Jersey.

Apr. 29 2014 10:25 AM
Robert from NYC

I never disagreed with the wish of SI to secede from NYC. I wish it had seceded! There's something "dirty" about Staten Island.

Apr. 29 2014 10:24 AM
mike from Staten Island

please do not take comments on silive/advance as the opinion of staten island. Silive is a home to a few commentators mostly focused on rascist comments about the president. Grimm barely beat his opponent last election who was running a terrible campaign.

Apr. 29 2014 10:24 AM
Smokey from LES

Did anyone appreciate the irony of what Grimm said in the clip Brian played at the top of the story? How much respect Grimm has for people who run a small business and how unfriendly government regulations are for small business and how he wanted to change that?

Is this what Republicans mean when they complain about too many government regulations?

Apr. 29 2014 10:24 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

Grimm is a lowlife thug and the ironing is delicious given he was a fed thug and the feds are taking him down. That being said this is really a bullsh*t case. The truth is that if the FBI decides to review the business/tax filings of ANY business on ANY given day across the USA it is very easy to find some federal crime or other. The same is true of just about anybody's personal business. This should not be construed as a defense of Grimm, if anything it shows how stupid and arrogant he is given his LE background but it might not be Grimm next time. Judge Alex Kozinski and Misha Tseytlin wrote an essay "You're probably a Federal Criminal" on this very topic. There are some serious questions when the FBI "targets" certain people and takes them down which is clearly what happened here.

Apr. 29 2014 10:23 AM

"poor SOB" -- really? are you serious? This person of privilege? All evidence to the contrary.

Apr. 29 2014 10:20 AM
John from Bklyn

Selective prosecution anyone?

While the New York Times and Washington Post brag about employing illegal immigrants on their front pages, this poor SOB gets criminally prosecuted.

Apr. 29 2014 10:18 AM
joe from Staten Island

I did not vote for Grimm because his votes in Congress don't support my values. Not all of Staten Island is Conservative. Grimm's behavior for years has revolted me. The contention that all small businesses cheat on taxes via cash payments to employees is like my 10 year old saying that the other kids do "whatever" why can't I do it.

P.S. The north shore of SI doen't support Grimm.

Apr. 29 2014 10:18 AM
Robert from NYC

Things are looking grim for the congressman.

Mikey Suits? He is a thug, really, he's a thug. But again, this says a lot about the people who vote for him. Who are these constituents who voted for him?

Apr. 29 2014 10:17 AM

"There are probably hundreds of cash businesses in New York..." -- but those folks don't run for elected office!

Apr. 29 2014 10:16 AM
DC from Brooklyn, NY

Grimm's presence is barely felt in Brooklyn, I don't understand why district lines had to be redrawn to make this joker be in charge of two boroughs.

Apr. 29 2014 10:14 AM

There are probably hundreds of cash businesses in New York that are incorrectly reporting income and paying less in taxes than they should; that's often why a business is a cash business. I'm sure federal prosecutors don't go after all of those businesses. So this does seem to be "political" in that the prosecutors are no doubt going after Grimm only because he's a congressman.

Apr. 29 2014 10:13 AM
Edward from NJ

"Everyone does it" is not a defense. Perhaps "everyone" should stop doing it.

Apr. 29 2014 10:13 AM

If all Grimm did was pocket cash, pay employees in cash, and not pay his taxes, this would not be a story.

But, it's the fact that he used the money to illegally build a campaign coffer that makes it an arrestable offense.

Apr. 29 2014 10:13 AM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

What a revoltin' development!
I'm waiting to hear about the meth super-lab in the Healthalicious basement.

Apr. 29 2014 10:11 AM

The descriptions of this place are from the '70s or '80s...who even uses "health food restaurant" these days?!

Apr. 29 2014 10:07 AM

Yet another example of GOP lawlessness.

When did the "law and order" party turn to law not for me party or is this what modern libertarianism means

Apr. 29 2014 10:07 AM
Karen from NYC

My husband an I have worked at restaurants, and what Grimm allegedly did is standard practice in the industry. I'm a Democrat, but this is a political prosecution.

Apr. 29 2014 10:06 AM

I had no problem with Grimm until he went after Scotto on NY1. Grimm's reaction was soooo beyond the pail that it was clearly a sign of how he conducts himself in other matters. Lock him up.

Apr. 29 2014 10:05 AM
Sara from Bushwick

This made me laugh - ever see 'cash only' on the bottom of the menu? Every restaurant in NYC has most of the (underpaid immigrant) staff off the books, if they paid all of their taxes we wouldn't have any restaurants...or prices would easily double.

Apr. 29 2014 10:03 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Grimm's Fairy Tales.

Apr. 29 2014 09:44 AM

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