Six years ago, Rep.-elect George Santos claimed to have been mugged on his way to pay $2,250 in back rent on his Queens apartment, according to court eviction records, but the NYPD has no record of the attack.
Santos’ claim came in a sworn statement filed in connection with his threatened eviction from a Queens apartment. He said he’d been jumped while on the way to deliver a rent check to resolve the case. He wrote in the court filing that police had told him to return four days later for a report on the supposed incident.
“I have been mugged at approx 1:15 p.m. on 01/15/16 on Queens Boro Plaza, as I was on my way to pay the lawyer,” he wrote in the affidavit filed in Queens Housing Court. “I have gone to the checks cash location located on 31st and 23rd Ave in Astoria to request a stop payment.
“I am unable to provide a police report today as I was requested to go back Tuesday to pick it up,” Santos added in the document filled out under oath.
A check cashing business exists at the location Santos noted. However, the NYPD told Gothamist that they could not find any indication that Santos ever reported being mugged.
“Based on the information you provided. There is nothing on file,” a police spokesperson wrote in an email.
As part of a deal resolving the eviction case, Santos agreed to leave his Whitestone apartment on Christmas Eve of 2015 and pay the rent he owed. Court filings did not indicate when, or if, Santos eventually paid the debt.
Santos had signed a one-year lease ending in September 2015 for the apartment in a two-story, two-family brick home. By November of that year he was still there and behind on a month and a half of rent. He owed landlord Maria Tulumba $2,250, court filings show.
Tulumba initiated eviction proceedings against him that month.
Reached on the phone Friday morning, Tulumba declined to go into detail about the ordeal. The case was resolved in her favor and Santos moved out.
Santos, who represented himself in the eviction case, could not be reached for comment. His current attorney, Joseph Murray, referred a reporter to Santos’ campaign, which did not respond to an inquiry.
The New York Times reported Santos faced at least two other eviction proceedings in 2014 and 2017.
Despite his own housing woes, Santos has lamented the challenges facing property owners with tenants who fail to pay rent. In February of last year he tweeted that he and his family owned 13 properties.
Santos admitted to the New York Post earlier this week he does not own any properties and said he currently lives with his sister.
Since The Times’ first raised questions about Santos’ biography on Dec. 19, he has been caught in several lies. Those include lies about which schools he attended, where he has worked, his claims of Jewish faith (he is Catholic), his claim to have descended from Holocaust survivors, that he employed multiple victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting, and that he ran an animal rescue nonprofit, among others.
Santos now faces state and federal investigations. The office of Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said it was reviewing whether it had jurisdiction over “any potential criminal offenses” connected to the Santos scandal. A spokesperson for Republican Nassau County D.A. Anne Donnelly called Santos’ lies “nothing short of stunning.”
“No one is above the law and if a crime was committed in this county, we will prosecute it,” the spokesperson said.
Federal prosecutors from the Eastern District of New York are reportedly probing Santos’ campaign finances, which include a $700,000 loan the candidate gave to his campaign this year.
Late on Thursday, more questions arose about the incoming congress member’s campaign spending. The Times examined $11,000 in campaign payments to a home cleaning company. Santos reportedly claimed the money was used to clean a residence used by campaign staff, but a neighbor said the candidate actually lived there. Santos’ campaign also spent $40,000 on flights – an unusual amount of money for a first-time candidate.
Santos has vowed to take office on Jan. 3. Republicans in Washington, facing a razor-thin majority in the House of Representatives, have stopped short of calling for his resignation.
“I'm not a fraud, I'm not a fake, I didn't materialize from thin air,” Santos said in a recent interview.
“I've always joked with friends in circles, even in the campaign, I'd say, ‘guys, I'm Jew-ish.' Remember I was raised Catholic,” he said. “So look, I understand everybody wants to nitpick at me.”
Clayton Guse contributed reporting