We read the Michael Grimm indictment so you don’t have to

New York Republican Rep. Michael Grimm turned himself in Monday morning as prosecutors released a 20-count indictment that alleges he broke all kinds of rules while running a Manhattan restaurant prior to his election to Congress.

Thanks to the 30-page indictment, "Healthalicious" has become one of the day's political buzzwords. Haven't had time to give the indictment a read? No worries, here's what you need to know (and some of the buzziest bits) from it.


First, the basics.

Grimm, 44, is a Republican congressman from New York who was elected in 2010 to represent Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn. He is a former FBI agent and businessman who founded a health food restaurant. He also once threatened a reporter by declaring he would "break you in half like a boy."

So what did he do?

He started and ran a health fast food restaurant in Manhattan from 2006 until 2010. The restaurant is named "Healthalicious ," which, frankly, is egregious enough.

According to prosecutors, Grimm....

* Hired a staff of illegal immigrants. As Healthalicious' business manager, Grimm was in charge of hiring and firing, as well as of the payroll (more on that later). According to the indictment, Grimm routinely hired workers who did not have legal papers to work in the United States. The fact that Grimm is accused of hiring illegal immigrants is significant in part because the congressman is one of a handful of House Republicans who has publicly supported passing comprehensive immigration reform this year.

* Paid his staff in cash, under the table. According to the indictment, Grimm kept two separate payroll documents; he would pay half of an employee's due on the books and dole out cash for the rest. This setup, prosecutors say, allowed Grimm to under-report the amount he was spending in wages and therefore dodge hefty payroll taxes due to the state and federal government.

* Used an AOL email account to run the restaurant while he was campaigningAccording to the indictment, Grimm hired two new employees -- a business manager and an accountant -- to help carry out the scheme once he had entered the 2010 Congressional race. Officials say Grimm corresponded  with the business manager via email (an AOL email account!), telling him how much cash to pay employees during any given pay period. Grimm allegedly kept information about his cash payments from the accountant, which ultimately led to errors when tax returns were filed for the company.

* Lied about it all, under oathIn January 2013, Grimm was deposed in a federal lawsuit filed by two former 'Healthalicious' employees who accused him of paying them less than minimum wage. According to the indictment, Grimm attempted to hide his cash-payment scheme by lying under oath about whether he paid employees in cash, what his interactions were with the payroll management company, whether he corresponded via email about Healthalicious' business, and whether he still had access to the email address.

Wesley Lowery covers Capitol Hill for The Fix and Post Politics.
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