- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Rep. Michael G. Grimm, New York Republican, said Tuesday he does not plan to resign his seat after pleading guilty to one felony tax charge tied to activities involving a restaurant he co-owned prior to winning election to Congress in 2010.

Grimm pleaded guilty to helping prepare a false tax return, a charge stemming from a 20-count indictment against the congressman handed up in April. The former FBI agent faces up to three years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced June 8.

The indictment accused Grimm of understating gross receipts and employee wages at a health restaurant he had co-owned by more than $1 million.

After his court appearance, Grimm apologized for his actions and said what he did was wrong but said he does not plan to step down.

“I’m going to get back to work and work as hard as I can,” he said.

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta E. Lynch, who is also President Obama’s nominee to be the next attorney general, said that with the guilty plea, Grimm admitted that while running his business “he chose lies and deception over honest dealings with federal and state authorities as well as his own employees.”

In connection with the plea deal, Grimm entered a “statement of facts” admitting that the restaurant, Healthalicious, employed people who weren’t authorized to work in the U.S. and concealed more than $900,000 in gross receipts from the accountant that prepared the business’s tax returns.

He also failed to report “off-the-books” cash wages he was paying to workers and underreported the business’s payroll to the New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF).

Also in connection with the plea, Grimm has agreed to pay restitution to the IRS, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance and the NYSIF.

As part of the stipulation of facts, Grimm also admitted to lying under oath in January 2013 in a deposition regarding a civil lawsuit over labor practices at the restaurant.

The plea caps a tumultuous year for the Republican that saw him threaten to throw a reporter off a balcony after President Obama’s State of the Union address and easily win re-election to a third term last month despite the looming charges.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, must “insist” that Grimm resign “immediately,” but a spokesman for Mr. Boehner said the speaker was going to discuss the matter with Grimm before any announcements.

Grimm had pledged in April to fight the charges “tooth and nail,” but also asked to be removed from his post on the House Committee on Financial Services while he dealt with his legal matters.

With the cloud of the indictment hanging over him, Grimm won re-election in November, but he had hinted during the campaign that he would step aside if he wasn’t able to serve.

⦁ This article was based in part on wire service reports.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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