Metro Weekly

Gay Republican George Santos Accused by New York Times of Fabricating Biography

A New York Times report claims that Congressman-elect George Santos may have embellished or falsified parts of his resume.

George Devolder-Santos – Photo: Facebook

George Devolder-Santos, who in November became the first gay Republican elected to Congress as a non-incumbent, allegedly fabricated parts of his résumé and biography, withholding details about his personal history, according to an exposé by The New York Times. 

The Times alleges that Santos, a 34-year-old who previously lost a 2020 bid for the seat, which covers parts of Queens and Long Island, embellished some of the details of his work history.

For example, according to a biography included on an archived version of Santos’s campaign website under the “About Me” section, he worked for Citigroup as an “associate asset manager” after graduating from Baruch College, a public college in New York City. But a spokeswoman for Citigroup, Danielle Romero-Apsilos, told the Times that the company could not confirm Santos’s employment. She also said she was unfamiliar with Santos’s self-described job title, noting that Citi had sold off its asset management operations in 2005 — when Santos would have been a teenager.

According to that archived website, Santos’s biography states that he left Citigroup to work for a “growing Turkish-based tech hospitality firm Metglobal where he led business development efforts growing the US presence of the firm,” before being offered “an exciting opportunity with Goldman Sachs.”

The biography claims that Santos did not find his stint at the firm “as fulfilling as he had anticipated” and left to work at a firm called LinkBridge Investors.

However, a spokeswoman at Goldman Sachs told the Times that she could not locate any record of Santos having worked for the company.

Additionally, officials at Baruch College, which Santos said he graduated from with a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance in 2010, said they couldn’t find his record of anyone matching his name — or linguistic variations of his first, middle and last names — and date of birth who graduated that year.

Santos claimed to have attended the college after obtaining a high school equivalency diploma, with an earlier version of his biography claiming he received a GED after being unable to graduate from preparatory school “due to financial difficulties for his family.”

Santos most recently worked at Devolder Organizations, which he describes as a family-owned firm that managed $80 million in assets. On his congressional financial disclosure forms, he described the company as a capital introduction consultant company, which typically serves as a liaison between investors and investment funds. But his disclosure did not reveal any clients of the firm.

Santos reported a $750,000 annual salary and over $1 million in dividends from Devolder Organizations, and lent his campaign more than $700,000 this cycle. He ultimately won the seat, defeating Democrat Robert Zimmerman, 54%-46%, in a district that President Biden won by 8 percentage points but which has been trending Republican.

Santos was also bolstered by strong performances by local and statewide Republican candidates for office, with GOP gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin outperforming incumbent Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul in the district.

The Times also claims to have found records in Brazil that claim Santos was charged with — though never convicted of — a crime.

According to those records, in 2008, the then-19-year-old Santos — whose mother, Fatima Devolder, was working as a nurse in the Brazilian city of NiterĂłi — allegedly stole the checkbook of a man for whom his mother was working and used it to make fraudulent purchases, including a pair of shoes.

Two years later, Santos allegedly confessed to the crime and was charged. But the court and local prosecutor told the Times that the case remains unresolved. Santos allegedly did not respond to an official summons, and a court representative could not find him at his given address. That time overlaps with the period when Santos claims to have been attending Baruch College.

A biography of Santos on an archived version of the National Republican Congressional Committee website claimed that Santos attended New York University — a claim that was not repeated anywhere else and has since been removed from the NRCC’s page about Santos. But a spokesman for NYU found no attendance records matching Santos’s name or birth date. 

Santos also claimed to have founded Friends of Pets United, a nonprofit animal rescue operation that he ran from 2013 to 2018. But the Times claims that the Internal Revenue Service did not find records showing the group held tax-exempt status, and neither the New York nor New Jersey attorney general’s offices could find records the group was registered as a charity.

Friends of Pets United reportedly held at least one fundraiser with a New Jersey animal rescue group in 2017, charging $50 a head for entry. But the event’s beneficiary, who asked for anonymity for fear of retribution, said she never received the funds from that event, and that Santos offered repeated excuses for not forwarding the money to her.

In 2015, a landlord in the Whitestone neighborhood of Queens filed an eviction lawsuit in housing court, claiming Santos owed her $2,250 in unpaid rent. The landlord, Maria Tulumba, said that Santos had been a “nice guy,” but had fallen onto financial hardship, leading to the unpaid rent. The judge ruled in favor of Tulumba in the case.

In May 2017, Santos faced another eviction case, from a rent-stabilized apartment in the Sunnyside neighborhood of Queens. The landlord in that case accused Santos of owing more than $10,000 in rent over a five-month period and claimed that one of the checks for rent had bounced. A warrant of eviction was issued, and Santos was fined $12,208 in a civil judgment, according to the Times.

Santos also claimed in an interview with New York Public Radio station WNYC that four people who had worked for one of his employers, which he did not identify, died in the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando in June 2016. But the Times claims that news reports and obituaries of the deceased do not show any of the 49 victims working for the firms named in Santos’s biography.

In 2021, Santos claimed to have been a landlord negatively impacted by New York’s pandemic-era eviction moratorium, tweeting, “Will we landlords ever be able to take back possession of our property? My family and I nearing a 1 year anniversary of not receiving rent on 13 properties!!! The state is collecting their tax, yet we get [zero] help from the government. We worked hard to acquire these assets…”

But Santos did not list any properties in New York on financial disclosure forms for either his 2020 or 2022 campaigns, although he did list an apartment in Rio de Janeiro. Property records databases in New York City and Nassau County did not show documents or deeds associated with him, immediate family members, or Devolder Organizations, according to the Times. 

The Times even claims to have tried to interview Santos at the address where he is registered to vote and that was associated with a campaign donation he made in October, but a person at that address said she was not familiar with him.

Santos made headlines earlier this year after he alleged that his fiancĂ©, a pharmacist, was fired after The New York Times wrote a story about former President Donald Trump’s decision to hold a New Year’s Eve Party at his Mar-a-Lago estate, and linked to an Instagram photo showing Santos and his fiancĂ© in attendance and not wearing masks. The paper did not mention or refer to either man by name. 

Santos also claimed that he and his fiancĂ© were forced to leave their home with their four dogs after the Times linked to the Instagram photo, tweeting, “The violence against us is real.” It is still unclear how the photo led to his fiancĂ© being fired — given that Florida had no statewide mask mandate at the time — or what type of threats had been received that required the couple to flee their home.

Santos was one of those who traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend former President Donald Trump’s rally on January 6, 2021, telling Lara Trump during an appearance on The Right View that he was at the Ellipse at the time of the rally, during which Trump contested the results of the presidential election and called on members of Congress not to certify the results due to speculations about voter fraud in states won by President Joe Biden. But he has said that he never entered the U.S. Capitol building following the rally.

When asked by the Times to comment on the allegations against Santos, his lawyer, Joe Murray, said in a short statement that it was “no surprise that Congressman-elect Santos has enemies at The New York Times who are attempting to smear his good name with these defamatory allegations.”

The Santos campaign did not respond to a request from Metro Weekly for comment on the allegations — including an offer to correct any inaccuracies or disputed statements of fact — contained in the Times report.

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