Long before his current legal troubles, U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm was barred from entering the FBI field offices where he previously worked as an agent, according to the website DNAinfo New York
Grimm resigned from the FBI in 2006 and shortly thereafter his photograph — along with about two dozen other former employees — was posted inside the agency’s two New York field offices with the directive that he not be allowed to enter the building.
"They are all employees who were fired, or they were under circumstances where they were forced out or felt they should leave, and all are no longer welcome back," a former FBI official told DNAinfo.
Last month, federal authorities indicted Grimm on 20 counts of fraud and tax charges in connection with the Manhattan restaurant Healthalicious that he owned and operated from 2007 to 2010. According to Fox News,
Grimm made "over $1 million in revenue disappear."
Grimm, who represents New York’s 11th District, has pleaded not guilty and is free on $400,000 bond.
The Washington Post
reported last month that the charges stem from Grimm’s restaurant’s "ties to an Israeli fundraiser who served as a liaison between Grimm and a mystic, celebrity rabbi whose followers donated more than $500,000 to Grimm’s campaign in 2010."
The Post reported that Healthalicious had connections to a company affiliated with Israeli fundraiser Ofer Biton, who pleaded guilty last year to filing false documents when applying for an investor visa. Grimm is also accused of hiring undocumented workers, according to Fox News.
Federal investigators allege that Grimm used cash from the restaurant to pay employees without reporting it to authorities, according to Fox. At a news conference, U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said Grimm had a "deliberate plan to systematically lie to every taxing authority to whom his business had an obligation to report."
"Michael Grimm made the choice to go from upholding the law to breaking it," Lynch said. "And in doing so, he turned his back on every oath he had ever taken."
After serving in the Marine Corps, Grimm joined the FBI in 1991 as a clerk and became an agent in 1995, DNAinfo reports. He "penetrated the Gambino crime family while with the FBI and unearthed evidence against John Gotti’s brother Peter."
But according to the website, Grimm had internal problems at the agency, including allegations that he violated FBI protocol by revealing to a woman that he worked undercover, as well as questionable expenses he submitted in connection with his undercover roles.
Sources told DNAinfo that the pressure of the internal inquiries may have influenced Grimm’s decision to leave the agency in 2006. He was elected to Congress five years later.
Grimm has characterized the charges against him as a "political witch hunt" and has vowed to continue his re-election campaign.
The criminal charges aren’t Grimm’s only problem.
In November, the House Ethics Committee announced that the congressman was being investigated for campaign finance violations, but deferred the inquiry due to the Justice Department investigation, according to Fox. Two months later, Grimm was recorded making a profane threat to throw a television reporter off a balcony after the journalist asked him a question about an FBI investigation into campaign finance improprieties.
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