S.I. Constituents Have Mixed Feelings On Embattled Rep's Resignation


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — There was mixed reaction Tuesday from constituents on Staten Island after their congressman announced he’s stepping down.

U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm announced Monday he’ll resign from office Jan. 5 because he would not be able to give the job his full attention anymore.

The embattled politician, apparently caving to pressure from high ranking republicans, is walking away from a third term in Congress.

His announcement overnight was an about-face for the 44-year-old — coming less than a week after he pleaded guilty to felony tax evasion, vowing to continue in his post, CBS2’s Janelle Burrell reported.

“As long as I’m able to serve I will serve as of right now I can serve and that’s exactly what I plan on doing,” Grimm said on Dec. 23.

“The events which led to this day did not break my spirit, nor the will of the voters,” Grimm said in a statement Monday. “However, I do not believe that I can continue to be 100 percent 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.”

Grimm’s guilty plea last week to aiding in the filing of a false tax return came after he was re-elected to his Staten Island seat in November, even though he was under indictment.

House Speaker John Boehner called Grimm’s resignation “the honorable decision.”

In a statement Tuesday, Boehner said Grimm “made the honorable decision to step down from his seat in Congress. “I know it was made with the best interests of his constituents and the institution in mind, and I appreciate his years of service in the House,” he said.

As WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported, Staten Island DA Dan Donovan says he is seriously considering a run in replacing Grimm in an upcoming special election.

Other Republican contenders include Nicole Malliotakis and Sen. Andrew Lanza.

On the Democratic side, there is former congressman Mike McMahon and Assemblyman Michael Cusick.

Staten Island residents sounded off on the news.

“I think that was inevitable after what’s happened the whole last year with his reputation,” said Grimm constituent Angela Ferrara.

While some welcome his departure, other constituents still support him and say they’d elect him again, Burrell reported.

“I have a lot of respect for him, I do. I have issues with the tax department myself,” said New Dorp resident Tom Crenshaw.

According to an indictment, the tax fraud began in 2007 after Grimm retired from the FBI and began investing in a small Manhattan restaurant called Healthalicious.

The indictment accused him of underreporting more than $1 million in wages and receipts to evade payroll, income and sales taxes, partly by paying immigrant workers, some of them in the country illegally, in cash.

Sentencing was scheduled for June 8. Prosecutors said a range of 24 to 30 months in prison would be appropriate, while the defense estimated the appropriate sentence as between 12 and 18 months.

As for who will take over Grimm’s office once he leaves on Monday, it’s up to the governor to call for a special election to replace him.

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