The 13th Congressional Race Just Got A Bit More Interesting…
In case you missed Sunday’s Daily News, here is an article about the most recent developments in the race to replace Congressman McMahon in the 13th CD:
Ex-undercover Mafia buster, Michael ‘Mikey Suits’ Grimm, seeks Staten Island congressional seat
Meet Michael Grimm, 39, the Republicans’ newest hope for recapturing Staten Island‘s congressional seat, won last November by Mike McMahon, the district’s first Democrat in 30 years.
A decorated Marine whose FBI record often reads like a “Sopranos” script, Grimm is unquestionably the only congressional hopeful who’s ever had a fake wise-guy name – “Mikey Suits,” in honor of his always-dapper dress.
Ironically, he faces an opponent for the GOP nod whose father’s business was once accused of Gambino family ties – an old story that Grimm calls irrelevant.
A conservative Republican and lawyer who has lived on Staten Island for 15 years, Grimm says he has turned in his badge after nine years with the FBI because he fears for the nation.
“I really believe that the country is headed in the wrong direction,” said Grimm, who has the backing of former Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari. “And I’ve never been one to sit on the couch and complain.”
That’s for sure. Grimm joined the Marines when he was 19 and soon found himself on the front lines of the first Gulf War. He wrote goodbye letters to his parents the night U.S. tanks rolled against Iraq. He earned a battlefield commendation for leading prisoners through a minefield and left the service as a corporal.
Returning home, he worked as a clerk for the FBI, got an accounting degree, segued to a Wall Street job, then decided to head back to the FBI – this time as an agent.
Perhaps his biggest coup was “Operation Wooden Nickel,” during which Grimm spent two years posing as a dirty Wall Street currency trader. More than 50 white-collar crooks were nabbed in that operation when it ended in 2003.
Grimm’s supporting role in taking down DePalma came when he was enlisted by fabled undercover agent Joaquin (Jack) Garcia, who at the time was posing as mobbed-up strip club operator Jack Falcone in theBronx.
In a way that helped both investigations, Grimm was invited to bring his Wall Street marks – many of them wanna-be mobsters – to Garcia’s Gambino-run club for a day of debauchery. Little did the revelers know that everyone in the club was under surveillance.
“Mikey Suits, as we called him, looked good because it seemed to his Wall Street friends like he had mob connections,” Garcia told The News. “And I looked good because his Wall Street friends spent lots of money in my joint.”
Today, Grimm is more Marine than mobster. He still wears impeccable three-piece suits, but there’s a Marine pin on his lapel, not a wire on his chest. He spends most of his time chasing contributors, not Gambinos.
The other GOP candidate in the Staten Island race is Michael Allegretti, 31, whose late father, Alfred, spent the last years of his life denying suggestions that his company was linked to the Gambino clan.
Allegretti’s family owns Bayside Fuel Oil Corp., which in the mid-1990s lost millions of dollars in city contracts after a top Gotti capo, Joseph (Joe Butch) Corrao, was found to be on the company’s payroll.
The younger Allegretti was never linked to that chapter in his family’s history, which unfolded when he was a teenager. He’s a policy consultant for The Climate Group, an international nonprofit dedicated to combatting global warming, and regards talk of Corrao as irrelevant and unfair.
“The man worked there, he was convicted and he was fired,” Allegretti said of Corrao. “We were as shocked as anyone to learn about who he was.”
Grimm agrees that his opponent’s family history – which he talks about only when pressed – should have no bearing on their looming primary.
“It should not be held against him,” Grimm said. “I would urge people, honestly, to ignore it.”
Stay with Atlas for further commentary and developments in the coming days.