The Five Oddest Things About the Michael Grimm Case

The congressman apparently used an AOL email account, among other things.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 02: U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) speaks to the media prior to a meeting regarding the Sandy aid bill with Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) January 2, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The House Republican leadership was criticized for not acting on the Senate passed legislation for Hurricane Sandy disaster aid. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
National Journal
Elahe Izadi
April 28, 2014, 9:03 a.m.

The un­sealed in­dict­ment of Rep. Mi­chael Grimm drops 20 crim­in­al counts on the New York Re­pub­lic­an, in­clud­ing health care fraud, wire fraud, and mail fraud, as well as ob­struc­tion of justice and per­jury.

Pro­sec­utors al­lege he hid more than $1 mil­lion of in­come from a health-food res­taur­ant, which he in­ves­ted in be­fore get­ting elec­ted to Con­gress in 2010. 

Grimm’s at­tor­ney denies that the rep­res­ent­at­ive broke the law. “From the be­gin­ning, the gov­ern­ment has pur­sued a polit­ic­ally driv­en ven­detta against Con­gress­man Grimm and not an in­de­pend­ent search for the truth,” Wil­li­am Mc­Gin­ley, Grimm’s at­tor­ney said last week. “Con­gress­man Grimm as­serts his in­no­cence of any wrong­do­ing.” Grimm pleaded not guilty on Monday, and will be re­leased on a $400,000 bond.

It’s been known for a while that Grimm has been un­der in­vest­ig­a­tion. Here are five tid­bits from the in­dict­ment and case.

“Granny Sayz” and “Health­i­cious” are real busi­ness names.

Grimm ap­par­ently thought it a good idea to name his health-food res­taur­ant Health­i­cious and name the LLC that did its busi­ness Granny Sayz.

In ad­di­tion to not re­port­ing  more than $1 mil­lion of in­come from the busi­ness, pro­sec­utors al­lege, Grimm in­struc­ted that em­ploy­ees be paid un­der the table, and that the res­taur­ant em­ployed un­doc­u­mented im­mig­rants.

Health­i­cious has av­er­aged a three-out-of-five star rat­ing on Yelp. The gen­er­al con­sensus ap­pears to be that the wraps are pretty de­cent but over­priced. But it’s New York, and Man­hat­tan’s not cheap, so what are you gonna do!

That con­nec­tion to the “Rabbi to the Rich and Fam­ous.”

So, there’s this, via The Wash­ing­ton Post:

The charges stem from his own­er­ship of a Man­hat­tan health-food res­taur­ant that has 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.

That Is­raeli fun­draiser is Ofer Biton, who in Au­gust 2013 pleaded guilty to im­mig­ra­tion fraud. He is a former aide to Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, who is thought of as a rabbi to the rich and fam­ous. As in, LeBron James has sought out his coun­sel type rich-and-fam­ous.

Dur­ing his first con­gres­sion­al race, Grimm ac­know­ledged he re­ceived cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions from Pinto’s fol­low­ers. Later, some of Pinto’s fol­low­ers said they made il­leg­al con­tri­bu­tions through straw donors, but Grimm denied know­ledge of il­leg­al dona­tions.

Grimm uses an AOL email ac­count?

Maybe not as damning as all the oth­er al­leg­a­tions, but Grimm sup­posedly used an AOL email ac­count to con­duct busi­ness — start­ing in 2007. He al­legedly emailed a man­ager on how to fake payroll to em­ploy­ees.

And lied about it?

Pro­sec­utors also al­lege that Grimm per­jured him­self un­der oath. In Janu­ary 2013, Grimm test­i­fied un­der oath that he con­duc­ted most emails con­cern­ing his res­taur­ant busi­ness through a Ya­hoo busi­ness email ac­count, not his per­son­al ac­count. He also said, “Al­most everything was done on the phone or in per­son. I wasn’t big on email then.”

Grimm used to be an FBI agent, and the FBI is not happy about it.

The FBI ar­res­ted Grimm — who ac­tu­ally used to be an agent. He worked for the agency from 1991 to 2006, mostly in­vest­ig­at­ing se­cur­it­ies fraud. He also served as an un­der­cov­er agent, known as Mikey Suits, and in­filt­rated the Gambino crime fam­ily.

Con­sid­er­ing Grimm’s past em­ploy­ment, FBI As­sist­ant Dir­ect­or George Ven­izelos had this to say Monday: “As a former FBI agent, Rep­res­ent­at­ive Grimm should un­der­stand the motto: fi­del­ity, bravery, and in­teg­rity. Yet he broke our credo at nearly every turn,” Ven­izelos said. “In this 20-count in­dict­ment, Rep­res­ent­at­ive Grimm lived by a new motto: fraud, per­jury, and ob­struc­tion.”

"Granny Sayz" and "Healthicious" are real business names.

Grimm ap­par­ently thought it a good idea to name his health-food res­taur­ant Health­i­cious and name the LLC that did its busi­ness Granny Sayz.

In ad­di­tion to not re­port­ing  more than $1 mil­lion of in­come from the busi­ness, pro­sec­utors al­lege, Grimm in­struc­ted that em­ploy­ees be paid un­der the table, and that the res­taur­ant em­ployed un­doc­u­mented im­mig­rants.

Health­i­cious has av­er­aged a three-out-of-five star rat­ing on Yelp. The gen­er­al con­sensus ap­pears to be that the wraps are pretty de­cent but over­priced. But it’s New York, and Man­hat­tan’s not cheap, so what are you gonna do!

That connection to the "Rabbi to the Rich and Famous."

So, there’s this, via The Wash­ing­ton Post:

The charges stem from his own­er­ship of a Man­hat­tan health-food res­taur­ant that has 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.

That Is­raeli fun­draiser is Ofer Biton, who in Au­gust 2013 pleaded guilty to im­mig­ra­tion fraud. He is a former aide to Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, who is thought of as a rabbi to the rich and fam­ous. As in, LeBron James has sought out his coun­sel type rich-and-fam­ous.

Dur­ing his first con­gres­sion­al race, Grimm ac­know­ledged he re­ceived cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions from Pinto’s fol­low­ers. Later, some of Pinto’s fol­low­ers said they made il­leg­al con­tri­bu­tions through straw donors, but Grimm denied know­ledge of il­leg­al dona­tions.

Grimm uses an AOL email account?

Maybe not as damning as all the oth­er al­leg­a­tions, but Grimm sup­posedly used an AOL email ac­count to con­duct busi­ness — start­ing in 2007. He al­legedly emailed a man­ager on how to fake payroll to em­ploy­ees.

And lied about it?

Pro­sec­utors also al­lege that Grimm per­jured him­self un­der oath. In Janu­ary 2013, Grimm test­i­fied un­der oath that he con­duc­ted most emails con­cern­ing his res­taur­ant busi­ness through a Ya­hoo busi­ness email ac­count, not his per­son­al ac­count. He also said, “Al­most everything was done on the phone or in per­son. I wasn’t big on email then.”

Grimm used to be an FBI agent, and the FBI is not happy about it.

The FBI ar­res­ted Grimm — who ac­tu­ally used to be an agent. He worked for the agency from 1991 to 2006, mostly in­vest­ig­at­ing se­cur­it­ies fraud. He also served as an un­der­cov­er agent, known as Mikey Suits, and in­filt­rated the Gambino crime fam­ily.

Con­sid­er­ing Grimm’s past em­ploy­ment, FBI As­sist­ant Dir­ect­or George Ven­izelos had this to say Monday: “As a former FBI agent, Rep­res­ent­at­ive Grimm should un­der­stand the motto: fi­del­ity, bravery, and in­teg­rity. Yet he broke our credo at nearly every turn,” Ven­izelos said. “In this 20-count in­dict­ment, Rep­res­ent­at­ive Grimm lived by a new motto: fraud, per­jury, and ob­struc­tion.”

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