A source familiar with the situation confirmed to Business Insider on Monday that staff members who work for Rep. Michael Grimm (R-New York) have been informed he plans to resign from Congress after he pleaded guilty to a tax fraud charge last Tuesday.
The news was first reported by the Daily News, which said Grimm made the decision after speaking with House Speaker John Boehner.
After he pleaded guilty Grimm, who represents Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, spoke to reporters outside the courthouse and vowed he would not resign.
“As long as I am able to serve, I will serve,” he said.
Though Grimm insisted he would “get back to work” there was speculation Boehner might pressure him to leave his seat.
The charges against Grimm all related to Healthalicious, a Manhattan restaurant he was a part owner of from 2007 until 2010. An indictment filed against him in April detailed 20 different charges including allegations he hid over $US1 million in earnings to pay lower taxes and knowingly hired undocumented immigrants. Grimm, initially denied any wrongdoing, plead guilty to one felony count of filing false tax returns.
Grimm’s departure from Congress means that there will be a hotly-contested special election to pick his replacement. He is the only Republican representing New York City in Congress and Democrats have made taking his seat a top priority.
In addition to the tax fraud case, Grimm is facing a federal investigation into his campaign fundraising. Despite his legal woes, Grimm easily won re-election last month. He maintains many supporters in his district, including the source who spoke to Business Insider.
“It’s a loss for Staten Island and Brooklyn,” they said of his departure.
UPDATE (11:59 p.m.): Grimm released a statement confirming his intent to resign late Monday evening.
“After much thought and prayer, I have made the very difficult decision to step down from Congress effective January 5th, 2015,” said Grimm. “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.”
Grimm claimed he made the choice to step down because he does not believe he can be “100% effective” going forward.
“The events which led to this day did not break my spirit, nor the will of the voters. However, 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,” said Grimm.
Grimm concluded by thanking his supporters.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to serve the hardworking families on both sides of the Verrazano, and I am sincerely grateful for the love and support that I have received from so many over the past few difficult months. I have seen first-hand how extraordinary the people of this district are–their values, their love of community, and their care for each other in the best and worst of times–it is humbling. I am grateful, and I will always keep them in my prayers,” Grimm said.
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