Odd Jobs, Bad Debts and Lawsuits

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NEW YORK — A polite young customer service agent at the Dish Network call center in Queens spoke English and Portuguese, so when immigrants from Brazil had problems with their bills or satellite dishes, their calls Routed his way.

It was around 2012, and the man was George Santos, the son of Brazilian immigrants, who won a crucial election to Congress more than a decade later.

But Santos, 34, told a different story about his life during the course of his campaign. At about the same time that Dish’s network records show he worked there, he was pushing Citigroup’s status as the first step in his lucrative career on Wall Street. . It included a stint at Goldman Sachs.

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Neither company could find records of Santos’ employment, The New York Times reported Monday.

Santos declined to directly address a Times report that revealed criminal charges in Brazil and found possible leaks in his financial disclosures. “I’m trying to do that,” and didn’t provide a resume to help prove his past work.

On Thursday, with many wanting answers, Santos told his story and promised to answer his voter questions next week. refused.

However, interviews with former friends and colleagues, as well as additional records reviewed by The Times, provide a complete picture of Santos’ life.

Former friends remembered an ambitious young man with good taste. He lavishly described the properties he owned in Brazil, New York and Nantucket, Massachusetts, and seemed disconnected from the rented apartment in Queens where he lived. He was a domestic worker.

John Rijo, who said he worked at the Dish Network Center in College Point for about 10 years, said Santos received calls in English and Portuguese. According to the company, Santos performed “customer care” there from October 2011 to July 2012.

According to Rijo, an agent’s hourly wage was no more than $15 an hour, and he thought foreign language expertise cost an extra dollar or two. Santos’ employment at Dish was also reported by local news site Patch.

At the same time, friends recall Santos lived frugally in Queens, sometimes hiring extra roommates to help pay the rent.

Gregory Molly Parker was, simply, one of those roommates. From early on, he said, there was a mismatch between the way Santos talked about himself and the life he led. Even that seemed incompatible with the normal life the family led, Molly Parker said.

“You’re sitting here bragging about all the money you make,” said Molly Parker. “So why is your mom a housekeeper?”

Peter Hamilton met Santos in early 2014, he said. He recalled that Santos, who claims to be an NYU graduate, did not recognize the name of the business school he said he attended. I found it. “He seems to know what and how to say to people,” Hamilton said in an interview.

When Santos lent him the money in September 2014, saying he needed to borrow thousands of dollars to move in with his boyfriend, he didn’t hesitate, court documents show. Hamilton said Santos stopped responding to emails and phone calls not long afterward.

Hamilton filed a lawsuit in small claims court in Queens in 2015 seeking repayment. In October of that year, Santos replied that the money had been paid back and was a favor, not a loan. The judge, however, agreed with Hamilton and sentenced him to $5,000 plus interest.

In an interview, Hamilton hoped to be repaid but was concerned about past debts. It seems to be deceiving the public,” he added.

Court records show Santos’ financial woes didn’t end with his debts to friends. A few months after he befriended Hamilton, Santos and his family were embroiled in an eviction controversy in Jackson Heights, Queens.

In June 2014, their landlord accused Santos, his mother and sister of paying three months of unpaid rent. The parties reached an agreement, but the family was evicted in August after the landlord said he didn’t pay on time, according to court records.

The next year, another Queens landlord filed an eviction lawsuit, saying Santos owed her $2,250 in rent. In 2017, he faced another eviction lawsuit. This time, it was from a landlord in the Sunnyside area who said Santos owed him several months’ rent and bounce check fees, he was ultimately ordered to pay more than his $12,000. rice field.

The following year, in December 2018, Discover Bank won a default judgment against Santos for $1,927.45 in credit card debt, court records show. His last payment for that year he made in February for just $34.

In 2019, as Santos was preparing to launch his first campaign for Congress, court records show that Santos was back in a Queens court for a divorce case, another matter.

Santos was married in Manhattan in 2012, according to city employee records obtained by the nonprofit Reclaim the Records. His ex-wife filed for divorce in June 2019, which Santos did not contest.

The status of their marriage is unknown.The divorce case was sealed, and attempts to contact Santos’ ex-wife in New Jersey were unsuccessful.But the divorce was concluded that fall, court records say. In November, Santos announced his candidacy for New York’s 3rd congressional district in northeast Queens and northern Long Island.

Early in that first campaign, Santos listed his address as an apartment in the Elmhurst section of Queens. That his residence, which was outside the district in which he was running as a delegate, was placed on the official candidate list and federal campaign finance documents compiled by the New York City Board of Elections in 2020. .

Santos later moved into a tenement house in the Whitestone area and is currently registered to vote but does not currently live there.

Home owner Nancy Potos said Santos and his now-husband moved there in July 2020. The couple rented a two-bedroom, two-story apartment for $2,600 a month, with Pothos living downstairs.

Santos refers to her husband by only his first name, Matt, and it is unknown when they got married. Brazilian magazine Piauí interviewed his Santos in November 2020 and named him Matheus Gerard.

Both Matt and the apartment made headlines after Santos claimed the couple’s home was vandalized in January 2021. An Instagram photo Santos posted of himself at the event followed coronavirus-related restrictions. Nonetheless, it was linked to a Times article about guests forgetting their masks.

On Twitter, Santos claimed that stones and eggs were thrown at his house and that he spent four and a half hours filing a report with the police and insurance company. The Times was unable to confirm that claim, and Santos’ attorneys did not provide additional information.

Pothos, 72, said he does not remember such an event. New York Police said that when he was asked if there had been reports of violence, vandalism, or disputes at his Whitestone address in early January, there had been reports of an incident there in October 2021. It was the only incident reported at the address that year.

Santos told Newsday in March 2022 that he left his Whitestone home, allegedly due to vandalism, although he refused to share his new address. But Pothos said Santos hadn’t moved out until August, and claimed he would have to spend $17,000 to repair the serious damage left behind.

It remains unclear where Santos currently lives. In October, he took to Twitter to suggest that he was still living in an apartment in Pothos, citing a burglary “two blocks from my house in Whitestone.”

Santos also told Newsday that he plans to eventually move to Oyster Bay, New York. Instead, he seems to have settled in a house in Huntington, a town just outside the boundaries of his district.

On Wednesday, three neighbors said they saw Santos or his husband at the Huntington home. A man who lived across the street said Santos moved out in August.

Neither Santos nor his husband were listed on the property records of the home, and the home owner did not respond to phone calls or social media messages seeking more information.

© 2022 New York Times Company

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