Learning he would face federal charges recently after a grand jury indictment, Rep. Michael Grimm was expected to turn himself in. But Grimm, a Republican congressman who represents Staten and Brooklyn, was arrested Monday morning and taken to FBI headquarters in Manhattan.
The charges will be announced by U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch and are related to the Upper East Side restaurant, Healthalicious. However, it was not clear whether or not the charges are related to the alleged campaign finance violations during Grimm’s 2010 congressional campaign.
“We are disappointed by the government’s decision, but hardly surprised,” said the statement from Grimm’s attorney, William McGinley. “From the beginning, the government has pursued a politically driven vendetta against Congressman Grimm and not an independent search for the truth.”
The statement added that Grimm “asserts his innocence of any wrongdoing” and “will be vindicated.” He will not be stepping aside during the case, and filing deadlines are closed for another Republican to enter the race.
“Until then, he will continue to serve his constituents with the same dedication and tenacity that has characterized his lifetime of public service as a Member of Congress, Marine Corps combat veteran, and decorated FBI Special Agent,” the statement said.
Grimm has admitted to receiving $250,000 to $300,000 in contributions from members of a synagogue led by rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto. There were members that came forward alleging they made tens of thousands of dollars in illegal contributions, including gifts funneled through straw donors.
The Israeli businessman who had served as Grimm’s liaison to Pinto’s followers, Ofer Biton, pleaded guilty in August to an immigration fraud charge. But just three days after the guilty plea, the FBI filed a sealed criminal complaint accusing a Houston woman who was romantically involved with Rep. Grimm, accusing her of using straw donors to make illegal campaign contributions.
She was accused of funneling at least $10,000 to Grimm’s campaign by passing them through friends who agreed to have the donations listed under their names. But none of this reportedly has anything to do with the arrest.
The Washington Post reported that Healthalicious was recently fined $88,000 for not providing workers compensation to their employees, while workers also accused the company of not following state wage laws. The restaurant allegedly gave workers cash payments to skirt New York tax and business laws.
Grimm has denied knowledge of any improprieties.