DOUGLASTON, Queens — The whereabouts of Congressman-elect George Santos remain unknown, and calls for him to step aside have grown following an investigation that showed that he may have fabricated most of his resumé and that his personal history is filled with inconsistencies.
Still, there’s no indication that he won’t assume the seat in Congress to which he was elected in a race that flipped a district that had voted blue in 2020 to red in 2022.
Some constituents in the Third Congressional District, which he was elected to represent in Queens and Nassau County, are regretting their vote for Santos. Joe Davila said that he’s an independent who liked the candidate. Now, however, Davila’s opinion has changed.
“They ought to get him out of there,” Davila said on his way to lunch in Little Neck, Queens. “He lied before.”
Another constituent, Hildy Herzfeld, said she didn’t vote for Santos and was disappointed that opposition research didn’t yield the newly learned information before the election.
“Maybe we’ll be smarter next time,” she said. “I’m sort of disappointed in the Democrats that they didn’t do a better vetting of him.”
The list of possible distortions that Santos has made to his back story is long. It includes attending Baruch College and NYU; employment in investment positions at Citigroup and Goldman Sachs; running an animal rescue charity; and managing his family’s investment firm, four employees of which were killed in the Pulse Nightclub shooting.
All of those claims made by Santos have proven to be untrue, according to the New York Times investigation.
It’s why a group of constituents and activists, led by Nassau County Legislature member Joshua Lathazan, a Democrat, held a news conference outside of Santos’s last known address in Whitestone, Queens.
“Who knows where George Santos is?” Lathazan asked at the event.
The homeowner, Nancy Pothos, did not attend the protest but was at home. Santos had rented her basement apartment, and, she said, his mail still arrives there. Still, she said, Santos has not lived there for four months.
When he moved out, Pothos said, he did so while threatening her.
“He said, ‘You don’t give me [the] security [deposit], you see what’s gonna happen,'” she said, adding that Santos and the man that she’d been told was his husband had left the apartment damaged so badly that it had cost her $17,000 to repair it.
“I said, ‘Take the security, and don’t bother me anymore.'” she told PIX11 News.
At the protest in front of her home, Lathazan, the Nassau County legislator, said that he and the handful of protesters with him had a straightforward reason to be there.
“Calling on Santos to resign his position in the United States Congress,” Lathazan declared.
That’s not likely to happen, according to a variety of political analysts, including Larry Levy, the executive dean of Hofstra University’s National Center for Suburban Studies.
Levy said that the House Ethics Committee, which will be controlled by Santos’s party in the new Congress, could take action against him, including forcing him to step aside. That’s not likely, however, said Levy. So instead, the most the committee is likely to do is censure the incoming member of Congress.
As for Santos not assuming his elected position, Levy said, “The only way he loses his seat is if a law enforcement agency convicts him of a felony, or the voters kick him out in two years.”
Santos has made no comment since the New York Times investigation was published on Monday morning.
Instead, Santos has only posted a statement from his attorney, Joseph Murray, which reads, part:
It is 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.
On Tuesday, the chair of the Republican Party of Nassau County, in which Santos’s district sits, also released a statement.
The statement, from GOP Chairman Joseph Cairo, read, in part, “Every person deserves an opportunity to ‘clear’ his/her name in the face of accusations. I am committed to this principle, and I look forward to the Congressman-Elect’s responses to the news reports.”