Timing Of Michael Grimm’s Report On Cyprus Visit Questioned After Trip’s Backer Arrested For Bribery
Congressman Michael Grimm accounted for a trip to Israel on his Congressional financial disclosure filing in May, but did not file a required report about a subsequent visit to Cyprus, according to the New York Times.
But in June, Grimm updated the paperwork to reflect the Cyprus trip – just a day after the lobbyist who paid for Grimm’s visit was arrested on federal corruption charges.
Records show that in June, Grimm modified his financial disclosure to include his trip to Cyprus (pdf). Whether it was intentional or a mere coincidence, Grimm made this change one day after Peter Papanicolaou, the president of the Cyprus Federation of America and the individual who funded Grimm’s trip, was arrested on federal corruption charges, said the Times.
Papanicolaou was charged with providing an official of the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development with a free trip to Greece in order to obtain city contracts for his construction company in Brooklyn.
William McGinley, Grimm’s attorney, said that the filing had nothing to do with Papanicolaou’s arrest. He said Grimm filed the report when he did because the House Ethics Committee informed him that the Cyprus trip was not reported in his files just five days earlier.
Grimm’s trip was not a complete secret. Grimm submitted information about it to the Ethics Committee before booking it, and the committee approved it.
The Times also notes that, about a month before the Cyprus trip, a news release from Grimm’s office stated that he would co-sponsor a bill to assist American owners of property in “Turkish-Occupied Cyprus” seek restitution for the “illegal use and occupation of their property.” The news release said Grimm would travel to Cyprus in August 2011.
It remains unclear whether the timing of the release his report is connected to Papanicolaou’s arrest, though Grimm’s camp insists it’s just coincidence.
Grimm remains under intense scrutiny, as authorities investigate allegations of fundraising improprieties during his 2010 campaign.