New York Rep.-elect fabricated real estate portfolio claim

George Santos claimed 13-property spread with no records, faced eviction suits: NYT

A photo illustration of Congressperson-elect George Santos (Getty)
A photo illustration of Congressperson-elect George Santos (Getty)

George Santos made headlines when he flipped New York’s third district in his midterm election to the House of Representatives and secured a key win for Republicans.

However, his winning campaign was built on a number of misrepresentations, according to a New York Times investigation. Santos, the son of Brazilian immigrants and the first openly gay non-incumbent Republican elected to Congress, claimed he was an investor who had worked on Wall Street and counted 13 rental properties in his portfolio.

The Times, however, could not find any such record of real estate holdings.

His alleged New York properties aren’t listed on required campaign financial disclosure forms. No documents or deeds appear to be associated with him or his companies in New York City or Nassau County.

The only property location that has been disclosed is an apartment slightly outside of his district: Rio de Janeiro.

Santos said his family had not collected rent from their 13 properties in the wake of the pandemic, but claimed on Twitter that despite offering rental assistance to some tenants, others were taking advantage of him.

Santos was not a landlord, but a deadbeat tenant, according to records reported by the Times. In November 2015, a landlord in Queens’ Whitestone neighborhood filed an eviction suit over $2,250 in unpaid rent. The landlord won the case and hinted about financial difficulties leading to the suit.

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Two years later, a landlord filed an eviction suit in Queen’s Sunnyside neighborhood, alleging more than $10,000 in unpaid rent at a rent-stabilized apartment. Court records claimed Santos even had a check that bounced. An eviction warrant was issued and Santos was fined $12,000 in a civil judgment.

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Omissions or misrepresentations on personal financial disclosure forms carry a $250,000 maximum penalty and up to five years in prison.

A biography on his website said Santos was an associate asset manager in Citigroup’s real estate division. A spokesperson for the firm, however, said the company was unable to confirm Santos’ employment and it sold its asset management operations years before his supposed employment.

Santos did not publicly comment on the claims after the investigation was published, except for a tweet including a statement released days earlier by his lawyer dismissing the report as a “shotgun blast of attacks.”

Top Democrats slammed Santos in public comments Monday, and Nassau County Republican chairman Joseph G. Cairo Jr. told the Times he is looking “forward to the congressman-elect’s responses to the news reports.”

— Holden Walter-Warner