TOM LEONARD: The full devastating dossier of George Santos’ deceits

TOM LEONARD: The full devastating dossier of George Santos’ deceits

The walls may finally be closing in on America’s favorite, newly elected fabulist – George Santos.

Just last week, Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy pledged to remove the freshman representative from Congressional committees if an ethics investigation finds he broke the law. But on Tuesday, the disgraced Long Island delegate saved McCarthy the trouble.

He voluntarily resigned his committee posts, after reportedly telling GOP members behind closed doors that he felt that he’d become a ‘distraction.’

He’s now the focus of New York State and federal prosecutors and complaints to the Federal Election Commission and the House Ethics committee, to name a few. Then last week, Santos made a series of bizarre amendments to his own sworn campaign finance records.

So, could this truly be the beginning of the end?

He is a man who campaigned for Congress as the ‘full embodiment of the American Dream,’ and the few who glanced through official biography could fault that description. There was something for everyone in his endlessly fascinating and impressive life story.

He was blisteringly high-achieving: the son of Brazilian immigrants who went to a public college in New York via one of the city’s brainiest private schools, earned an MBA and then had a lucrative Wall Street career working for two of the financial industry’s most illustrious names.

There was the stuff that tugged at the heartstrings – his equally impressive mother had been killed in the 9/11 terror attacks while working in her office in the south tower of the World Trade Center. His grandparents had survived the Holocaust and fled persecution during WWII.

And, in case anyone was thinking he was playing down his homosexuality, he pointed out that he’d lost four employees in the 2016 mass shooting at Orlando’s gay Pulse nightclub.

TOM LEONARD: The full devastating dossier of George Santos’ deceits

TOM LEONARD: The full devastating dossier of George Santos’ deceits

The walls may finally be closing in on America’s favorite, newly elected fabulist – George Santos.

The list went on and on. Was there anything missing in this litany of likeability? Truly, he was one of the world’s most interesting men.

Except, there was one title that he would not claim – being a Brazilian cross dresser.

‘I was not a drag queen in Brazil, guys,’ he told reporters on Saturday, after pictures emerged showing a glamorous young man in a sparkling red dress bearing a remarkable resemblance to him. ‘I was young and I had fun at a festival,’ he continued, sounding far less categorical. ‘Sue me for having a life’

Well, someone may sue or worse.

DailyMail.com can now reveal the full devastating dossier of George Santos’ deceits from his early life in the Niteroi, Brazil drag scene to his curious campaign financing…

EARLY, GENDER-FLUID LIFE

George Santos is probably 34 years old and was probably born and brought up in New York – that much at least appears to be true.

His name is more of a mystery.

Many of those familiar with Santos know him as Anthony Devolder (a combination of his middle name and his mother’s maiden name) or any combination of George, Anthony, Santos and Devolder. A veteran of the Brazilian drag scene says she knew him as ‘Kitara Ravache.’

Santos has dismissed claims that from his late teens he was a drag queen in Niteroi, a city near Rio de Janeiro, but this jaw-dropping allegation has legs. Politico discovered a Wikipedia page accessed by a user named Anthony Devolder, in which someone wrote that Devolder ‘started his ‘stage’ life at age 17 as a gay night club DRAG QUEEN and with that won several GAY ‘BEAUTY PAGENTS.’

It could just be someone else other than Santos who created the biography but it’s unlikely. They would had to have used the same alias and same biographical details as him a dozen years ago, all for a page nobody was likely to see anyway.

In fact, it tallies with the testimony of another drag queen, named Eula Rochard, who appeared in a photo next to ‘Kitara’ and has said that Santos never really had what it took to be a professional performer.

Santos’ sudden international notoriety has also attracted the attention of Brazilian police, who say they want to resurrect fraud charges against him dating back to 2008. 

Another drag queen, named Eula Rochard, appeared in a photo next to 'Kitara' and has said that Santos never really had what it took to be a professional performer.

Another drag queen, named Eula Rochard, appeared in a photo next to 'Kitara' and has said that Santos never really had what it took to be a professional performer.

Another drag queen, named Eula Rochard, appeared in a photo next to ‘Kitara’ and has said that Santos never really had what it took to be a professional performer.

He would have been around 19 years old at time. According to police, Santos confessed to forging signatures in a stolen check book that was in his mother’s possession but had belonged to a dead man.

Then Santos reportedly disappeared forcing authorities to suspend the investigation.

SCHOOL DAZE

He didn’t go to the smart, $59,800-a-year, Horace Mann School in the Bronx, Baruch College in New York City or New York University’s Stern School of Business, as he claimed. He later admitted to these lies, explaining them as ‘a little bit of fluff’ on his resume.

Like many of his responses to revelations about his mendacity, his initial flat denials gradually morph into admissions.

This invented educational background may help explain why he was able to boast a couple of years ago that he has no student debt, while decrying the state of today’s young people.

‘I hate looking at youth today and seeing them sitting on their behinds and acting like, ‘Ugh, this is so hard,’ he said on a 2020 podcast. ‘I put myself through college and got an MBA from NYU and I have zero debt,’ claiming that his parents helped him when they could, but they were struggling with bankruptcy.

He didn't go to the smart, $59,800-a-year, Horace Mann School in the Bronx (above), Baruch College in New York City or New York University's Stern School of Business, as he claimed.

He didn't go to the smart, $59,800-a-year, Horace Mann School in the Bronx (above), Baruch College in New York City or New York University's Stern School of Business, as he claimed.

He didn’t go to the smart, $59,800-a-year, Horace Mann School in the Bronx (above), Baruch College in New York City or New York University’s Stern School of Business, as he claimed.

Reporters have not been able to locate any such bankruptcy records.

Santos said he actually got into Baruch on a volleyball scholarship and embellished this impressive story by relating how his team – on which he was a star player – went on to ‘slay’ Harvard and Yale, and how he ‘sacrificed’ his knees for the sport and needed to get them replaced.

Whether his knees are man-made or not remains to be proven, but certainly his academic pedigree is artificial.

FAMILY LIES

Santos said his mother, Fatima Devolder, was in the South Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 – a claim he didn’t take back even as he amended his biography following other revelations of lying. She didn’t die there (that, after all, would have been easy to check) but was killed by cancer ‘a few years later’, he says.

In fact, she wasn’t even in New York on 9/11 as she’d lost her green card and was stuck in Brazil. Records show she died in 2016.

And neither was his mother the ‘the first female executive at a major financial institution’ that he claimed. According to the New York Times, she described herself on immigration papers as ‘a housekeeper and home aide’.

Santos said his mother, Fatima Devolder (right), was in the South Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 - a claim he didn't take back even as he amended his biography following other revelations of lying.

Santos said his mother, Fatima Devolder (right), was in the South Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 - a claim he didn't take back even as he amended his biography following other revelations of lying.

Santos said his mother, Fatima Devolder (right), was in the South Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 – a claim he didn’t take back even as he amended his biography following other revelations of lying.

Nor were his grandparents Hungarian Jews who came as refugees to the US after surviving the Holocaust. This is likely to be remembered as one of his most shameless lies as his grandparents were born in Brazil which, noted sceptics, made it very unlikely they fell foul of the Nazis.

Santos also publicly described himself in campaign literature as a ‘proud America Jew’ and, on his election last November, proclaimed that his election meant that ‘now there will be three’ Jewish Republican members of Congress’.

He subsequently insisted he’d actually never claimed to be Jewish and was Catholic, adding: ‘Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background, I said I was ‘Jew-ish’.’ Everybody, he complained, ‘wants to nitpick me’.

Finally, Santos claimed that his family held an impressive-sounding real estate portfolio of 13 properties.

But his grand boasts of a property empire contrast sharply with his far less glamorous residential reality: he’s twice – in 2015 and 2017 – been evicted from homes in Queens for not paying rent.

He has not provided any evidence of the 13 properties and even his claim that he was mugged on his way to pay back rent to a landlord during one of the eviction cases was fictitious.

TANGLED LOVELIFE

Was his homosexuality – which no secret to those who knew him – another facet of Santos he wanted to hide?

Friends in New York were shocked in 2012 when he said he was returning to Brazil to marry a woman. Her name was Uadla and Santos would introduce her as a friend although court records show they divorced in 2019.

He might well have passed her off as just a friend because in 2014 he invited friends to celebrate his engagement to a man.

‘Good evening everyone! As you all may already know Pedro and I have decided to join our toothbrushes! ‘ he wrote in a 2014 Facebook ‘engagement dinner’ invitation. ‘Lol and a very few friends have been selected to share this special moment with us!’

WORKING HARD OR HARDLY WORKING

His work experience as laid out on his resume, sadly, was also not nearly so star-studded. He said he worked for both Goldman Sachs and Citigroup – but he didn’t.

In 2011, he was working not on Wall Street but in a call center in a remote corner of Queens, New York. A colleague, Barbara Hurdas, remembers him boasting about coming from a rich family in Nantucket but wondered, why then, he was working with her for $12 an hour. In one of his many hilariously phrased clarifications, he admitted saying he worked for the two financial giants had been a ‘poor choice of words’.

His work experience as laid out on his resume, sadly, was also not nearly so star-studded. He said he worked for both Goldman Sachs and Citigroup - but he didn't.

His work experience as laid out on his resume, sadly, was also not nearly so star-studded. He said he worked for both Goldman Sachs and Citigroup - but he didn't.

His work experience as laid out on his resume, sadly, was also not nearly so star-studded. He said he worked for both Goldman Sachs and Citigroup – but he didn’t.

A veteran of the Brazilian drag scene says she knew Santos as 'Kitara Ravache.'

A veteran of the Brazilian drag scene says she knew Santos as 'Kitara Ravache.'

A veteran of the Brazilian drag scene says she knew Santos as ‘Kitara Ravache.’

But he did have ties to Harbor City Capital, a Florida-based investment firm where he went to work in 2020. Unfortunately for his resume, that business now stands accused by the SEC of running a Ponzi scheme. Santos insists he wasn’t involved in it and he isn’t mentioned in the SEC case.

Former friends say Santos didn’t limit his career ambitions – and fantasies – to finance, telling them he was a model and was going to be in Vogue, or that he was a reporter for a Brazilian TV station.

THE BIG LIE CAMPAIGNS

Santos turned his attentions to politics in 2018, offering to volunteer for a far-right activist in Queens who was running for state office.

Aides told New York magazine he was ineffectual, doing little to help other than be affable and enthusiastic. Others were unimpressed with him but not Santos – the following year he started telling Republican officials in Queens that he wanted to challenge Democrat Congressman Tom Suozzi, despite his having won by a convincing margin of 18 points in 2018.

He lost in 2020 by nearly 50,000 votes, which – of course – he then decried as the result of electoral fraud at – where else – President Donald Trump’s Stop the Steal rally that immediately preceded the January 6th storming of the Capitol. Santos later insisted that while Trump was at ‘full awesomeness’ at the rally, he didn’t follow the mob into the Capitol.

As if Santos’ exaggerated past wasn’t enough, he padded his resume with phony and possibility fraudulent philanthropy.

He lost in 2020 by nearly 50,000 votes, which - of course - he then decried as the result of electoral fraud at – where else - President Donald Trump's Stop the Steal rally.

He lost in 2020 by nearly 50,000 votes, which - of course - he then decried as the result of electoral fraud at – where else - President Donald Trump's Stop the Steal rally.

He lost in 2020 by nearly 50,000 votes, which – of course – he then decried as the result of electoral fraud at – where else – President Donald Trump’s Stop the Steal rally.

New York is a city of pet owners and Santos had something for them too. His family-owned businesses apparently included an animal rescue charity that had saved more than 2,500 dogs and cats. Santos has claimed that Friends of Pets United is a tax-exempt organization, but the IRS has found no record of this.

However, two New Jersey veterans say Santos promised in 2016 to raise money for life-serving surgery for a service dog, only to run off with the cash. Richard Osthoff and Michael Boll, a retired police sergeant, say Santos – using the name Anthony Devolder – closed the GoFundMe fund for ailing pit mix Sapphire when it reached $3,000.

Mr Osthoff, a disabled vet who relied on Sapphire for support while living in a tent inside an abandoned chicken coop, said that when they caught up with Santos, he claimed the dog, who had a stomach tumor, hadn’t been suitable for surgery so he was going to use the money to help other animals. Sapphire had to be put down.

SECOND CHANCE AT STARDOM

His 2022 Democrat opponent Robert Zimmerman has claimed his campaign unearthed various ‘red flags’ about Santos soon after he announced his second bid for Congress in June 2022, but it didn’t have the time or resources to investigate properly. Regardless, and not surprisingly, the Santos campaign did a good job of raising new questions on its own.

Last September, as a congressional candidate, he filed his personal financial disclosure report, claiming his assets were worth as much as $11 million – a huge increase on his 2020 campaign, as was his stated earnings, up from $60,000 to $1 million. He claimed it all came from the ‘Devolder Organization’, a company he owned and which worked as a middle man between ‘high-net-worth individuals’ he knew who wanted to sell valuable possessions (he mentioned a $20 million super yacht as an example). He hasn’t identified any of its clients.

A watchdog group, the Campaign Legal Center, has complained to the Federal Election Commission, saying the Devolder Organization had lent Santos’s campaign $700,000. It suggested that ‘unknown persons provided money to Santos disguised as income’ from his company.

Documents that Santos filed to Federal Election Commission on Tuesday show that he is now amending his sworn declaration – and is longer claiming that two loans of $500,000 and $125,000 to his campaign came from his personal funds.

Richard Osthoff (above) and Michael Boll, a retired police sergeant, say Santos - using the name Anthony Devolder - closed the GoFundMe fund for ailing pit mix Sapphire when it reached $3,000.

Richard Osthoff (above) and Michael Boll, a retired police sergeant, say Santos - using the name Anthony Devolder - closed the GoFundMe fund for ailing pit mix Sapphire when it reached $3,000.

Richard Osthoff (above) and Michael Boll, a retired police sergeant, say Santos – using the name Anthony Devolder – closed the GoFundMe fund for ailing pit mix Sapphire when it reached $3,000.

The source of the half-a-million dollar has not yet been disclosed.

A top elections lawyer told the New York Times, ‘If the candidate’s personal wealth wasn’t the source of the loan, then what was?… If a bank wasn’t the source of the funds, then the only alternatives are illegal sources.’

In 2022, the Santos campaign spent more than $40,000 on air travel – way more than the usual – as well as $30,000 on hotels across the US and $14,000 on car services.

The campaign also forked out $11,000 to rent a house in suburban Huntington, Long Island, on the grounds it was to accommodate staff. But neighbors claim they saw the great man himself living there. And that is illegal under rules banning candidates spending campaign money on personal expenses.

It’s also emerged that scores of campaign expenditures were listed in disclosure forms at $199.99, just below the $200 threshold where receipts are required. This is now the focus of a complaint filed to the FEC.

Santos has also landed in trouble for some of his recent fund-raising ideas.

For donors willing to pay $100 to $500, he offered a bus trip to Washington, followed by lunch, his ‘swearing-in ceremony’ and a tour of the ‘Capitol grounds’. The latter appears not to be the actual Capitol building itself but the public – and freely accessible – space surrounding it.

Experts say the invitation, while unusual, didn’t necessarily constitute a violation as it didn’t specify the money was for a paid ‘tour’ and not, additionally, of the Capitol itself, which would potentially breach ethics rules.

It’s now emerged that he told a Brazilian podcast last month that he survived an assassination attempt, something he’s oddly never mentioned until now. Ditto his accompanying claim that he was once mugged on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue and had the shoes stolen off his feet, while bystanders watched.

HOUSE OF CARDS CRUMBLE

As it was, Santos’ epic house of cards didn’t start to tumble until the New York Times claimed in mid-December that he’d lied about his resume. His lawyer dismissed the story as ‘defamatory’ and a smear campaign by the left-wing paper. A week after the Times story came out, Santos conceded that he may have embellished his resume and that he was sorry although he insisted, he hadn’t committed any crimes.

Of course, many politicians are caught out for being a little creative in their resumes – an over-burnished record of academic or business excellence here, a strangely omitted career faux-pas there – but Santos’ reinvention of himself is utterly wholesale and almost comically shameless.

Santos' epic house of cards didn't start to tumble until the New York Times claimed in mid-December that he'd lied about his resume.

Santos' epic house of cards didn't start to tumble until the New York Times claimed in mid-December that he'd lied about his resume.

Santos’ epic house of cards didn’t start to tumble until the New York Times claimed in mid-December that he’d lied about his resume.

He has even managed the seemingly impossible by distracting attention from the far more significant scandal over President Biden’s growing collection of home-stored top-secret documents.

Aware of how much damage he’s doing to their party, six Republican congressmen in New York have called for him to resign as did a majority of New York voters in a new Siena poll. Even party leaders, desperate to hold on to a narrow majority in the House, now appear to be coming around to the reality of the question: how long can the charade continue?

After winning his New York seat in November, Santos was asked why he thought he’d won and he pointed to Jewish voters. ‘We’re fed up with being lied to.’

Priceless.

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk