Newly elected U.S. congressman and alleged fabulist George Santos (R-NY) may have fabricated much of his resume while running for office, but his former co-workers say the tall tales and rabid social climbing didn’t necessarily start there.
Santos described himself while campaigning as an experienced banker who worked his way up the ladder at a few major industry firms—including Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, which have both said they have no record of his employment. However, local New York publication Patch traced his employment history to at least one former job: customer service representative at Dish Network.
He held the job at a Queens call center for at least eight months, from 2011-2012, and served as a bilingual employee who spoke Portuguese, a company representative confirmed to the outlet.
A number of his former colleagues described to Patch several notable biographical stories—the fact that he was born in Brazil and traveled there often, that he “came from money,” and that he used several different names: Anthony Devolder, George Devolder, and George Anthony Devolder Santos. He also apparently founded and was constantly fundraising for an animal rescue charity that never “made sense” to at least one co-worker who remained Facebook friends with Santos for years after he left Dish, named Barbara Hurdas.
A Catholic priest from Queens also claimed that his family attended Mass sporadically at his church and that they were all Christian—blowing a hole through Santos’ repeated claims that he is Jewish.
In fact, the clergyman told CBS that Santos approached him following the death of his mother, Fatima Devolder, for fundraising help because the family could not afford a proper funeral for her. The congregation ultimately held a memorial service for her that included a collection.
The new details come just as New York Attorney General Letitia James announced it was “looking into a number of issues” concerning Santos—though it remains unclear what exactly those issues are. A lawyer for the congressman-elect told NBC that he has not been contacted by anyone from James’ office about any issues, but did not elaborate on any of the myriad questions surrounding Santos, his background, or his work history.
The swirling controversy began following a bombshell New York Times investigation into Santos’ background—raising questions about his public work history, religion, education level and place of residence, among other things.
According to the Times, he also has a history of petty theft in his native Brazil, where he was charged with stealing a checkbook and using it to buy shoes. Santos also had two eviction proceedings started against him in recent years, in 2015 and 2017.
The Daily Beast also reported Thursday that the Republican—who has claimed to be openly gay for a decade—divorced a woman in 2019, just 12 days before launching his campaign.
Santos, through a lawyer, initially called the report a “shotgun blast of attacks,” and added that it was “no surprise that Congressman-elect Santos has enemies at The New York Times who are attempting to smear his good name with these defamatory allegations.”
On Thursday, however, Santos apparently changed his tune—promising that he has a “story to tell” after the Christmas holiday.
“I want to assure everyone that I will address your questions and that I remain committed to deliver the results I campaigned on,” he wrote on Twitter.