Michael Grimm (politician)

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Michael Grimm
Mike Grimm.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 11th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Yvette Clarke
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 13th district
In office
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2013
Preceded by redistricted
Personal details
Born Michael Gerard Grimm
(1970-02-07) February 7, 1970 (age 44)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political party Republican
Residence Staten Island, New York, U.S.
Alma mater Baruch College (B.B.A.)
New York Law School (J.D.)
Occupation U.S. Marine (1989–1990; 1990–1991)
U.S. Marine reservist (1990; 1991–1997)[1]
FBI special agent
Profession FBI special agent, entrepreneur
Website Campaign website
Rep. Grimm
Military service
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch  United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1989–1990; 1990–1991 (active)
1990; 1991–1997 (reserve)
Rank USMC-E4.svg Corporal
Unit Marine Forces Reserve insignia (transparent background).png U.S. Marine Corps Reserve
Battles/wars Persian Gulf War
Awards Combat Action Ribbon.svg Combat Action Ribbon
Navy Unit Commendation ribbon.svg Navy Unit Commendation
Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation ribbon.svg Meritorious Unit Commendation

Michael Gerard Grimm (born February 7, 1970) is the United States Representative for New York's 11th congressional district, serving since 2011. Numbered as the 13th District during his first term, the district consists of Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn. Grimm is a member of the Republican Party and is the only Republican representing a significant portion of New York City. He is a former FBI agent, businessman, attorney, and U.S. Marine, having served in the Persian Gulf War.

On April 28, 2014, Grimm was charged with a 20-count indictment by federal authorities.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Grimm grew up in Queens, the son of Petrina (Castronova) and Gerard Grimm. He has German, Irish, and Italian ancestry.[3] He graduated from Archbishop Molloy High School in 1988.[4]

Grimm entered active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps in 1989. In 1990, he was deployed overseas as part of the 6th Communication Battalion. He received a combat promotion to corporal,[5] and was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Unit Commendation, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, among other awards.

Grimm received a BBA in accounting from Baruch College in 1994. He transferred to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and was discharged from service in 1997.[1] He received a Juris Doctor (magna cum laude) from New York Law School in 2002.[6]


Federal Bureau of Investigation (1991–2006)[edit]

Grimm entered the FBI as a clerk in 1991. In 1995, he entered the FBI Academy in Quantico Station, Virginia. He graduated as a special agent and was certified to become an undercover agent. He transitioned into undercover agent work, eventually working in the FBI Gambino Squad and was responsible for learning about the inside activities of Peter Gotti, John Gotti's brother.[7] Grimm worked for the FBI as an agent for 9 years.

In 2011, The New Yorker magazine reported that Grimm had been the subject of an internal investigation into allegations he abused his authority as a FBI agent in a nightclub in 1999.[8] The New York Police Department and U.S. Justice Department have not released documents regarding the incident.[9][10][11] Reporter Evan Ratliff subsequently released additional material corroborating his article.[12]

He also spent two years posing as a small cap stocks broker, uncovering white-collar criminals on Wall Street.[7] According to Grimm, the firm was involved in money laundering, making false trades, and manipulating stocks.[13] After building a strong case for two years, he and the firm's partners were arrested together, at which point, the police informed the group that they had been infiltrated by an undercover agent.[13] Grimm stated in 2011 that he has long been aware of the possibility that people may try to take revenge on him.[14] He left the FBI in 2006, citing his exhaustion from working long hours.[15]

Business and finance (2006–2010)[edit]

Before joining the FBI, Grimm worked for a year for Whale Securities,[16] an investment banking firm.[17] After doing undercover work on Wall Street, but while still a federal agent, Grimm invested in Texas luxury real estate with former agent Carlos Luquis.[16] In 2006, Grimm founded a small health food restaurant called Healthalicious in Manhattan.[18] He has co-owned and served as principal and chief executive officer of Austin Refuel Transport, an Austin, Texas-based bio-fuel company.[19] Grimm still owns 28% of the company, though is no longer involved in daily operations nor is he CEO.[20] Since 2011, the company had eleven safety violations in its first two U.S. Department of Transportation checkups.[21] Grimm’s spokesman said that he now "has no authority or managerial role in the daily activities of the company. He is simply a silent investor."[22]

U.S. House of Representatives (2011–present)[edit]



Grimm launched his campaign for the 13th New York Congressional District seat on January 23, 2010.[23] Grimm was endorsed by former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani as well as Guy Molinari, a former U.S. Representative and Staten Island Borough President.[24] He was also endorsed by the Conservative Party of New York State. He was challenged by Michael Allegretti who was endorsed by former six term U.S. Representative Vito Fossella, the Staten Island Republican Party,[25] State Senator Andrew Lanza, and State Assemblyman Lou Tobacco.[26] Allegretti worked for the nonprofit Climate Group and cited his relationships with NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.[27] Grimm chose not to even contest the Staten Island's party endorsement because of their “corrupt political culture” and “sham convention."[28] Their primary was marked by bitter negative attacks against each other, including one assertion by Allegretti that Grimm was "living a lie" for using a photo where he was wearing military badges he was not entitled to.[29] Grimm said he received military ribbons by means of an administrative error, which he only learned of in 2000 but despite knowing this he used a photo dating back to 1993 where he was wearing the U.S. Army variants of the Presidential Unit Citation and Meritorious Unit Commendation, as well as a Joint Meritorious Unit Award.[30] On September 14, Grimm defeated Allegretti 69%–31%.[31]

Grimm's win was divisive for the Republican Party leadership,[32] which was more in favor of Allegretti, as Grimm won in large part due to the effect of the endorsement of the New York State Conservative Party and Tea Party voters.[33] Michael Grimm's campaign gained national attention from Tea Party Republicans and the National Republican Congressional Committee, which contributed $90,000 to Grimm's campaign.[34] He received endorsements from high-profile Republicans, including Giuliani,[35] John McCain,[36] Sarah Palin.[37] and former President George H.W. Bush, who applauded his service in the Gulf War.[38]

The race between incumbent Michael McMahon (D-Staten Island) and Grimm was quite negative. For instance, on October 12, the Staten Island Advance reported that it had been receiving emails from the McMahon campaign attacking Grimm's business credentials.[39] The emails claimed that Grimm's real estate and restaurant investments were failures despite Grimm's repeated insistences that they were successful.[40] Grimm reportedly admitted in an interview with the Staten Island Advance newspaper that his former restaurant in Manhattan, Healthalicious, had been on the verge of bankruptcy, forcing him to sell his stake in it.[15] A major difference between the two candidates was the issue of the U.S. economic stimulus package, which the Staten Island Advance said was the "starkest contrast" among the two candidates. Grimm stated that the stimulus was a "huge waste" of taxpayer money and was ineffective in generating job creation and economic recovery, whereas McMahon cited improvements in the state budget and renovations on the Staten Island Expressway and the Saint George Ferry Terminal as direct successes of the stimulus.[41]

On November 2, 2010, Grimm defeated McMahon in the race by 51%–48%. The Staten Island Advance reported that Grimm won in large part due to his political signs, which became popular among his supporters. They stated, "McMahon raised my property taxes 18.5%".[42]


After redistricting, Grimm's district was renumbered as the 11th District.[43] He was challenged by Democrat Mark Murphy, a former aide to New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. Grimm won re-election to a second term 53%–46%.[44]


Grimm is running for re-election to a third term.[45]


During an interview of all freshmen Republican members with Sean Hannity, Congressman-elect Grimm took exception to being asked if he was a conservative. He replied that he was "American first" and that "we have become way too polarized," indicating a desire for compromise with Democrats.[46] Grimm did not join the Tea Party Caucus within the House, and instead joined the more moderate Republican Main Street Partnership.[47] He is also a member of the conservative Republican Study Committee.

Financial issues[edit]

Grimm was appointed to the House Financial Services Committee, which the Staten Island Advance observed as a major opportunity for Grimm to impact the debate on financial reform. Roughly 70,000 of his constituents were involved in financial services, making this a vital issue for his political profile.[48]

Grimm introduced legislation that would require potential whistleblowers to report wrongdoing to their employers before reporting it to the Securities and Exchange Commission if they want to receive a cash reward from the SEC.[49]

Gun control[edit]

Following the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords in 2011, Grimm voiced support for "security-based situational awareness training", including how to spot suspicious people, when to run for an exit, and how to keep guards at close range. Grimm also said congressmen should consider carrying firearms. House Leader John Boehner called his suggestions an "excellent idea" and indicated that security would be a major focus for Congress in 2011.[50]


Grimm voted to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the House, as he had promised during his campaign,[51] but was challenged as being "hypocritical" by several Democrats for accepting the Congressional health-care plan.[52][53]


Grimm made Israel a strong priority during his term. Grimm was appointed to the House Republican Israel Caucus in January 2011, serving as co-chair.[54] In February 2011, as House Republicans were pushing for deep cuts in discretionary spending, Grimm wrote a letter to Eric Cantor saying he would vote no to any budget that would reduce foreign aid to Israel.[55] Grimm was also named chair of the House Republican Policy Committee's Task Force on Foreign Policy.[56] He won re-election in 2012 with about 53% of the vote.[57]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

  • Friends of Switzerland Caucus (Co-Chair)
  • House Republican Israel Caucus (Co-Chair)
  • House Oceans Caucus (Co-Chair)
  • International Conservation Caucus
  • Sportsmen's Caucus


On January 28, 2014, NY1-TV political reporter Michael Scotto was interviewing Grimm in a balcony-hallway of the U.S. Capitol building, asking him about his thoughts on the just-ended 2014 State of the Union Address. He then tried to question Grimm about his campaign finance controversies. Grimm stated that he would only discuss the State of the Union speech, and not the investigation; as Scotto started to mention the investigation again, Grimm walked off. Scotto then turned to the camera and implied that Grimm didn't want to face the issue on-camera. Grimm then appeared to intimidate Scotto, saying that he would "break (Scotto) in half", as well as threatening to throw Scotto over the balcony.[58]

Grimm issued a statement defending his behavior, saying that he was annoyed by what he called a "disrespectful cheap shot" from Scotto.[59][60] The next day, Grimm contacted Scotto to offer an apology for his behavior, which Scotto deemed to be sincere.[61] He also issued a written statement apologizing for his behavior, saying, "I shouldn’t have allowed my emotions to get the better of me and lose my cool."[62]

Fundraising controversy[edit]

Followers of Orthodox Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto said Grimm accepted questionable donations according to a January 27, 2012 article in the New York Times. Grimm stated, "Any suggestion that I was involved in any activities that may run afoul of the campaign finance laws is categorically false and belied by my life of public service protecting and enforcing the laws of this country." Several people said that either Mr. Grimm or Ofer Biton, an assistant to the rabbi, told them that illegal contributions would be accepted.[63]

Federal criminal investigation[edit]

In August 2012, the office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York said it was investigating Grimm's 2010 campaign.[64] In November 2012, the House Ethics Committee decided to inquire into the campaign but agreed to "defer consideration" of it at the Department of Justice's request.[65]

In January 2014, the FBI arrested Diana Durand[66] on charges that she had illegally donated more than $10,000 to Grimm's 2010 campaign. Durand allegedly gave the campaign $4,800, the legal limit, but then used straw donors to donate more than $10,000 illegally. The FBI also charged Durand with lying to Federal agents about the matter. Grimm denied any wrongdoing.[67]

The investigation, which originally focused on Grimm's 2010 fundraising, branched out to include Grimm's prior business dealings. On April 25, 2014, Grimm's attorney was advised by the U.S. Attorney's office that his client would be indicted on criminal charges related to Healthalicious.[68][69] On April 28, prosecutors unsealed a 20-count indictment charging that Grimm and others concealed over a million dollars of Healthalicious' sales and wages from both the U.S. federal government and the State of New York.[2] Grimm surrendered to the FBI that morning.[70] He pleaded not guilty to all charges and was released on $400,000 bond. He told reporters that he not only had every intention of fighting the charges, but also of staying in office and running for a third term.[71]


  1. ^ a b "Congressman Michael Grimm". Combat Veterans for Congress. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Clifford, Stephanie (2014-04-29). "Grimm, Staten Island Congressman, Is Indicted on Fraud Charges". New York Times. 
  3. ^ http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2010/11/grimm_living_his_fairy_tale.html
  4. ^ Barnard, Anne (3/8/12). "Rising G.O.P. Star From Staten Island Draws on Political Gifts to Fend Off Critics". New York Times. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  5. ^ http://www.combatveteransforcongress.org/cand/60
  6. ^ Colon, Alicia (2010-06-06). "Inexplicable behavior by the Island GOP chairman". SILive.com. Retrieved 2014-01-29. 
  7. ^ a b Saltonstall, David (November 14, 2009). "Ex-undercover Mafia buster, Michael 'Mikey Suits' Grimm, seeks Staten Island congressional seat". New York Daily News. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  8. ^ Ratliff, Evan (May 2, 2011). "The Mark: The F.B.I. Needs Informants, but What Happens When They Go Too Far?". New Yorker. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  9. ^ Tracy, Thomas (April 28, 2011). "DeBlasio to Grimm: Come clean about 1999 bar fight". The Brooklyn Paper. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  10. ^ Smith, Ben (April 25, 2011). "The FBI agent and the night club". Politico. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  11. ^ Paybarah, Azi (April 25, 2011). "‘Guy With a Gun…Doesn’t Need to Say Anything’". The New York Observer. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  12. ^ Ratliff, Evan (April 29, 2011). "Congressman Grimm and the Night Club". The New Yorker. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  13. ^ a b "Meet the Undercover FBI Agent-Turned-Freshman Congressman – Rep. Michael Grimm – Fox Nation". Fox News. January 19, 2011. 
  14. ^ Heil, Emily (January 12, 2011). "Threats Not New for Former Lawmen". Roll Call. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  15. ^ a b Randall, Judy L. (July 11, 2010). "Gulf War vet, former FBI agent has 'a burning desire to serve'". Staten Island Advance. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  16. ^ a b Cowan, Alison Leigh; Barnard, Anne; Rashbaum, William K. (Feb 15, 2012). "Congressman's Business Ties Are at Odds with Upright Image". N.Y. Times. Retrieved Sep 18, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Company Overview of Whale Securities Co., L.P.". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved Sep 18, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) – The Washington Post". Whorunsgov.com. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  19. ^ "About Me: Full Biography". Grimm.house.gov. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  20. ^ Lesser, Benjamin (August 14, 2011). "Business associate of Staten Island Rep. Michael Grimm is convicted felon Carlos Luquis". Daily News. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  21. ^ Lesser, Benjamin (July 17, 2011). "Holiday shopping: Tips to find the best deals on Cyber Monday 2010". Daily News (New York). 
  22. ^ Lesser, Benjamin (7/17/11). "Rep. Michael Grimm's trucking business racks up toxic safety violations, raises interest questions". NY Daily News. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  23. ^ Wrobleski, Tom (January 23, 2010). "Republican Michael Grimm launches campaign against McMahon on Staten Island". Staten Island Advance. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani to endorse GOP congressional candidate Michael Grimm". Staten Island Advance. February 18, 2010. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  25. ^ Saltonstall, David (May 28, 2010). "Staten Island GOP Committee Endorses Michael Allegretti for Vito Fossella's Old Congressional Seat". N.Y. Daily News. 
  26. ^ Wroblewski, Tom (June 4, 2010). "Allegretti Collects Endorsements from Lanza and Tobacco". Staten Island Advance. 
  27. ^ Hernandez, Raymond (Oct 23, 2009). "The City: Fight for Staten Island". N.Y. Times. 
  28. ^ Slajda, Rachel (May 28, 2010). "Staten Island GOP, Deprived of Fossella, Chooses Allegretti". TPM. 
  29. ^ Katz, Celeste (September 2, 2010). "Michaels Allegretti and Grimm Clash Again Over Military History In NY-13". New York Daily News. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  30. ^ Freedlander, David (August 31, 2010). "Allegretti Asks Grimm To Reveal Himself". Observer.com. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  31. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=620111
  32. ^ Wrobleski, Tom (October 6, 2010). "Staten Island GOP's endorsement of Grimm is less than resounding". Staten Island Advance. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  33. ^ "Grimm routs Allegretti for GOP congressional nod". Staten Island Advance. September 15, 2010. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  34. ^ "TheDC Interview: Republican New York congressional candidate Michael Grimm". Daily Caller. October 21, 2010. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  35. ^ Spencer, Peter N. (October 29, 2010). "Giuliani buoys Grimm at Whitehall Ferry Terminal". Staten Island Advance. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  36. ^ [1][dead link]
  37. ^ Chen, David W. (Sep 15, 2010). "Results Are Mixed for Tea Party in New York". New York Times. (coverage of the Grimm vs. McMahon race)
  38. ^ Wrobleski, Tom (October 9, 2010). "Former President George Bush endorses Michael Grimm". Staten Island Advance. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  39. ^ Randall, Judy L. (October 12, 2010). "Staten Island Rep. McMahon peppers Advance with e-mails that rip Grimm". Staten Island Advance. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  40. ^ Patten, David A. (Oct 24, 2010). "2010: Democrats Set Records for Dirtiest Election Ever". Newsmax. 
  41. ^ Wrobleski, Tom (October 11, 2010). "Stimulus dollars become political football in Staten Island congressional race". Staten Island Advance. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  42. ^ Wrobleski, Tom (November 8, 2010). "'Tax signs' may have helped propel Michael Grimm to victory in Staten Island congressional race". Staten Island Advance. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  43. ^ Randall, Judy L. (February 28, 2011). "Staten Island Rep. Michael Grimm: This is your life". Staten Island Advance. Retrieved April 21, 2011. 
  44. ^ http://www.politico.com/2012-election/map/#/House/2012/NY
  45. ^ Wrobleski, Tom (February 1, 2014). "Timeline: Staten Island's Rep. Michael Grimm elected and re-elected, but dogged by allegations (w/photos)". Staten Island Advance. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  46. ^ FoxNews.com, Hannity's Freshman Focus Group, Jan 4, 2011, at 5:30 mark
  47. ^ Freedlander, David (January 28, 2011). "NY Tea Partiers Join 'Moderate' G.O.P. Caucus". The New York Observer. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  48. ^ "Staten Island's Grimm lands spot on House Financial Services Committee". Staten Island Advance. December 10, 2010. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  49. ^ Kate Shepherd (May 11, 2011). "Republicans take aim at whistleblower rule". MarketWatch. Medill News Service. Retrieved May 13, 2011. 
  50. ^ O'Neill, Natalie (January 14, 2011). "Grimm: House members should pack heat if they want". The Brooklyn Paper. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  51. ^ Brooklyn Eagle, Bay Ridge Eagle Brooklyn, NY :: daily paper in Brooklyn[dead link]
  52. ^ Tracy, Thomas (January 20, 2011). "Dems take on Grimm’s ‘job-killing canard’ in health care debate". The Brooklyn Paper. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  53. ^ Sisk, Richard (January 19, 2011). "Rep. Michael Grimm takes beating from fellow congressmen for his health care comments". Daily News (New York). 
  54. ^ Randall, Judy L. (January 31, 2011). "Rep. Michael Grimm named co-chair of House Republican Israel Caucus". Staten Island Advance. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  55. ^ Danko, Carol. "Grimm Stands Up for Israel; Opposes Cuts to Aid" (Press release). Washington: U.S. Congressman Michael Grimm. 
  56. ^ "Staten Island's Rep. Grimm named chair of GOP Policy Committee's Task Force on Foreign Policy". Staten Island Advance. February 16, 2011. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  57. ^ New York Times Election Results 2012
  58. ^ Thomas Ferraro (29 January 2014). "U.S. congressman apologizes for threatening to throw reporter over balcony". Reuters. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  59. ^ "Rep. Grimm Threatens NY1 Reporter Following State of the Union". NY1. January 28, 2014. 
  60. ^ Campbell, Colin (Jan 28, 2014). "Michael Grimm Threatens". Politicker. 
  61. ^ Larson, Leslie (January 29, 2014). "Rep. Grimm apologizes to NY1 reporter Michael Scotto". nydailynews.com. New York Daily News. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  62. ^ "Rep. Grimm Apologizes to NY1 Reporter For On-Camera Threat". NY1. January 29, 2014. 
  63. ^ Cowan, Alison Leigh; Rashbaum, William K. (Jan 27, 2012). "Rabbi's Followers Cast Doubt on Congressman's Fundraising". N.Y. Times. Retrieved Sep 18, 2013. 
  64. ^ Cowan, Alison Leigh; Rashbaum, William K. (Aug 8, 2012). "Congressman's Report of Trip Is at Issue". N.Y. Times. Retrieved Sep 18, 2013. 
  65. ^ Cowan, Alison Leigh (Nov 26, 2012). "Ethics Panel to Scrutinize Congressman from S.I.". N.Y. Times. Retrieved Sep 18, 2013. 
  66. ^ "New York Rep. Michael Grimm threatens reporter after being asked about fundraising allegations". New York Daily News. Jan 29, 2014. Retrieved Jan 30, 2014. 
  67. ^ Rashbaum, William K. (Jan 2014). "F.B.I. Arrests Fund-Raiser for Congressman". The New York Times. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  68. ^ Rashbaum, William (2014-04-26). "Indictment Expected for Grimm, Staten Island Congressman". New York Times. 
  69. ^ Evan Perez; Shimon Prokupecz (2014-04-25). "Feds close to filing charges against Rep. Michael Grimm, officials say". CNN. 
  70. ^ "Rep. Michael Grimm, facing federal charges, surrenders to FBI". The Washington Post. April 28, 2014. 
  71. ^ "Staten Island Rep. Michael Grimm Pleads Not Guilty To 20-Count Indictment". WCBS (AM)/WINS. 2014-04-28. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Yvette Clarke
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 11th congressional district

January 3, 2011 – present (district was formerly numbered 13th)
Succeeded by
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Morgan Griffith
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Colleen Hanabusa