Rep. Michael Grimm (R- S.I.) announced yesterday that he is resigning from Congress, a decision made in the aftermath of Grimm’s guilty plea last week on a felony charge of tax evasion.
“After much thought and prayer, I have made the very difficult decision to step down from Congress effective January 5th, 2015. This decision is made with a heavy heart, as I have enjoyed a very special relationship and closeness with my constituents, whom I care about deeply,” said Grimm in a statement released late Monday night.
After entering his guilty plea, Grimm had said last week that he would continue to serve if able and did not mention plans to resign. However, Grimm’s statement has acknowledged that “I do not believe that I can continue to be 100% effective in the next Congress, and therefore, out of respect for the office and the people I so proudly represent, it is time for me to start the next chapter of my life.”
CBS New York reports that Grimm, a former FBI agent, pleaded guilty to one count of aiding in the filing of a false tax return, a charge that could result in a prison sentence of up to 30 months.
The New York Daily News reports that Grimm acknowledged he was guilty of the illegal activities detailed in his 20-count indictment, including hiring undocumented workers and lying under oath.
Despite the indictment, Grimm won his reelection in November against his opponent Domenic Recchia 55% to 42%.
Grimm’s fraudulent activities reportedly began in 2007 when he invested in a Manhattan restaurant called Healthalicious. He was accused of “underreporting more than $1 million in wages and receipts to evade payroll, income and sales taxes, partly by paying immigrant workers, some of them in the country illegally, in cash.”
Grimm had maintained his innocence while campaigning, vowing to fight “tooth and nail” against the charges until he was “fully exonerated.”
After his guilty plea, Grimm said that “Although it was a little restaurant, I made some very big mistakes; mistakes that I immensely, immensely regret.”
Grimm’s resignation will result in New York Governor Andrew Cuomo calling a special election for his seat. Grimm’s sentencing is scheduled for June 8th, 2015.