Santos accused of taking $3K from GoFundMe for veteran’s dying dog
Two military veterans say that Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) stole thousands of dollars from a fundraiser for a dying dog in 2016, adding to the heap of bizarre falsehoods and tales about the embattled lawmaker’s past.
U.S. Navy veteran Richard Osthoff and retired police Sgt. Michael Boll told Patch.com Tuesday that Osthoff reached out to “Friends of Pets United,” an animal rescue organization that Santos claims to have founded, to get help for his service dog who was diagnosed with cancer.
The men claim that a GoFundMe established through Friends of Pets United raised $3,000 to fund the dog’s lifesaving surgery. Then, according to the men, Santos closed the fundraiser and disappeared.
The dog, Sapphire, ultimately died in 2017. Osthoff said he had to panhandle to be able to afford the dog’s euthanasia and cremation.
“It was one of the most degrading things I ever had to do,” he told Patch.
The Patch story includes alleged texts between Osthoff and Santos, who was operating under the name “Anthony Devolder,” an alias Santos frequently used.
Santos denied the allegations to Semafor, saying he has “no clue who this is.”
A New York Times review in December called into question Santos’s biography and résumé, with the first-term Republican later admitting that he fabricated pieces of his work and education history.
Among his claims, Santos said that he founded and ran Friends of Pets United as a 501(c)(3) registered charity. The IRS couldn’t locate a charity by that name, the Times reported.
The news of the veterans’ allegations against Santos surfaced not long after Santos was named to two House committees. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called for him to resign, but he has so far refused. He has also garnered the tepid support of some in Republican leadership, with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) saying he would not ask Santos to step down.
“I try to stick by the Constitution. The voters elected him to serve. If there is a concern, and he has to go through the Ethics [Committee], let him move through that,” McCarthy said to The Hill, adding, “He will continue to serve.”
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