Michael Gerard Grimm (born February 7, 1970) is the U.S. Representative for New York's 13th congressional district, which consists of Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn. He is a member of the Republican Party. He is a former FBI agent, businessman, and U.S. Marine, having served in the Gulf War.
Early life, education, and military service
Michael Grimm was born in Brooklyn and was raised in Queens. He graduated from Archbishop Molloy High School, a Briarwood, Queens-based co-ed Roman Catholic school, in 1988.
Grimm entered active duty in the US Marine Corps on in 1989.
A year later, he went to Iraq for the Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He received a Combat Promotion Meritoriously to Corporal (E-4), Combat Action Ribbon, US Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, the Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon, and other medals. Hewas discharged from the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1997.
Grimm received a BBA in accounting from M. Baruch College in 1994. He received a Juris Doctor (Magna Cum Laude) from New York Law School in 2002.
He became a member of the New York and Connecticut Bar.
Michael Grimm entered the FBI as a professional Support Employee 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 became a US Marshal and uniformed FBI Police Officer. He began as an FBI Clerk and 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.
Grimm worked for the FBI as an agent for 9 years.
In 2011, The New Yorker magazine reported that Grimm was the subject of an internal investigation into allegations he abused his authority as a FBI agent in a nightclub in 1999. According to the article, written by Evan Ratliff, the incident resulted from a dispute between Grimm and his date's husband. A former NYPD officer working as a bouncer at the time said that Grimm remarked about the husband, "I’ll f—ing make him disappear where nobody will find him." Grimm reportedly then returned to the nightclub twice, pulled out his gun once, and brought FBI and NYPD officers the second time.
Grimm said the article was written by a reporter "on a witch hunt" and that "this incident was fully investigated and I was cleared of all of the ridiculous and absurd allegations. To further entertain this partisan attack on my exemplary career and service to this great nation would be to give [the allegation] credence, of which it deserves none." The New York police department and U.S. Justice Department have refused to release documents regarding the incident.
Ratliff subsequently released additional material corroborating his article.
He also spent two years as a small cap stocks broker, uncovering white-collar criminals on Wall Street. According to Grimm, the firm was involved in money laundering, making false trades, and manipulating stocks. 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. Grimm stated in 2011 that he has long been aware of the possibility that people may try to take revenge on him. He left the FBI in 2006, citing his exhaustion from working long hours.
After doing undercover work on Wall Street, he became an entrepreneur and in 2006 founded a small health food restaurant called Healthalicious in Manhattan.
Since 2008, he has co-owned and served as principal and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Austin Refuel Transport, an Austin, Texas-based bio-fuel company. Grimm still owns 28% of the company. Since 2011, the company had 11 safety violations in its first two U.S. Department of Transportation checkups.
U.S. House of Representatives
Grimm launched his campaign for the 13th NY Congressional District seat on January 23, 2010. Grimm faced Michael Allegretti for the Republican nomination, gaining support from former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani, a longtime friend and ally of Grimm's campaign manager, former Representative and former Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari. He won the Republican nomination in an upset victory over Allegretti, who was endorsed by the Republican Party and key political leaders, including former six term Republican Representative Vito Fossella. 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. (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 an Army Presidential Unit Citation, Army Meritorious Unit Commendation, and a Joint Meritorious Unit Award).
Grimm's win was divisive for the Republican Party leadership, which was more in favor of Allegretti, as Grimm won in large part due to the effect of the Political endorsement of the New York State Conservative party and Tea Party voters.
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. He received endorsements from high-profile Republicans, including former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Sarah Palin. and former President George H.W. Bush, who applauded his service in the Gulf War and as part of the intelligence community.
The race between incumbent McMahon 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. The emails claimed that Grimm's real estate and restaurant investments were failures despite Grimm's repeated insistences that they were successful. 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. It was later revealed that his restaurant had earned 30 healthcode violation points during a NYC DOH visit in late October 2008.
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 St. George Ferry Terminal as direct successes of the stimulus.
On November 2, 2010, Grimm defeated McMahon in the race for New York's 13th Congressional district by 51% to 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%".
During an interview of all freshmen Republican members with Sean Hannity, Rep.-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. Grimm did not join the Tea Party Caucus within the House, and instead joined the more moderate Republican Main Street Partnership. He is also a member of the conservative Republican Study Committee. 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.
Following the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Michael 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. Grimm was appointed to the House Republican Israel Caucus in January 2011, serving as co-chair. Grimm voted to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the House, as he had promised during his campaign, but was challenged as being "hypocritical" by several Democrats for accepting the Congressional health-care plan.
Grimm has made Israel a strong priority during his term. 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. Grimm was also named Chair of the House Republican Policy Committee's Task Force on Foreign Policy.
As a member of the House Financial Services Committee, 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 FEC.
December 30th, 2011