Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) was indicted Monday on 20 counts, including mail fraud and perjury, relating to his former ownership of a Manhattan restaurant. [READ THE INDICTMENT.]
Grimm remained defiant after he was released on $400,000 bond, saying at an afternoon press conference that he wouldn’t “abandon” his post and added he has an election “to win” in November.
“I will not abandon my post,” said Grimm, adding, “I have a lot more service to provide to this country. That’s exactly what I intend to do.”
“And then, on top of all that, I have an election to win.”
Grimm asserted his innocence, and called himself “a moral man” and a “man of integrity.”
“As far as these allegations, we’re going to fight tooth and nail…until I am fully exonerated,” he said.
Grimm allegedly paid some employees of his fast-food restaurant Healthalicious in cash and, as outlined in the indictment, “concealed over $1,000,000 in Healthalicious gross receipts alone, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars of employees' wages, fraudulently depriving the federal and New York State governments of sales, income and payroll taxes.”
The indictment charges Grimm lied under oath in January 2013 when he denied paying his employees in cash.
Grimm, a supporter of immigration reform, also allegedly “intentionally” hired illegal immigrants and engaged “in a pattern and practice of such hiring and continued employment.”
According to The Washington Post, the restaurant has been fined $88,000 for failing to provide workers compensation. Some of the company’s employees have charged in a lawsuit that the business failed to provide adequate wages and sometimes paid workers in cash to avoid New York taxes and business laws.
The indictment also includes charges of falsifying tax returns, conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstructing tax laws, among others.
The charges do not pertain to his campaign finances, which are also under investigation. The restaurant, however, has ties to a Grimm fundraiser who helped him raise more than half a million dollars in donations, some of which were allegedly improper.
At a press conference Monday, FBI Assistant Director George Venizelos said Grimm "was anything but an upstanding citizen. He cheated, evaded and then lied."
Grimm’s attorney, William McGinley, on Friday asserted the congressman’s innocence and said in a statement that “we are disappointed by the government’s decision, but hardly surprised. He charged that the government had "pursued a politically driven vendetta against" Grimm "and not an independent search for the truth."
McGinley said Friday that Grimm has no plans to resign, but the charges further complicate GOP efforts to hold the swing-district seat, which is a top Democratic target. Democrats are running former New York City Councilman Domenic Recchia in the race.
Grimm has received negative press over the past year not only for the multiple investigations he’s faced, but also for an incident in January in which he was caught on tape threatening to throw a reporter off of a balcony at the Capitol Hill complex of office buildings after the reporter tried to question him about the investigations.
Updated at 1:21 p.m.
--Rebecca Shabad contributed to this report.