The names of the two people who guaranteed Representative George Santos’ $500,000 bail bond have finally been released by order of Judge Anne Y. Shields of New York’s Eastern District Court. According to the court, his father, Gercina Antonio dos Santos Jr., and aunt, Elma Santos Praven, acted as suretors for the embattled congressman.
“The latest news in George Santos’ legal case is yet another reminder that he is an embarrassment to Long Island and Queens residents,” Zak Malamed, one of several Democrat candidates for Santos’ seat, wrote in a statement. “There are still many unanswered questions about his ethical, moral and legal decisions and he remains a dishonest and disgraceful con artist who should have no place representing NY-03 in Washington."
Very little is known about Santos’ father, as most of Santos’ claims about his family have focused on his mother, Fatima Devolder, who the congressman falsely claimed died as a result of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The only previous information Santos had revealed about his father was the claim that dos Santos Jr. was black, and that the congressman had grown up in a “very bi-racial family,” which he made on Twitter to defend a post he made of Barack and Michelle Obama depicted as monkeys.
It is unclear exactly what dos Santos and Praven do for a living, and their addresses were redacted from the court filing. The New York Times reported that Santos’ father lives in Queens and works as either a painter or in construction, based on campaign finance records submitted while making donations to his son’s 2022 campaign.
It was also revealed on Friday, the day after the suretors’ names were released, that in discussions with Shields regarding the bond dos Santos and Praven admitted they do not own any property. According to a transcript released by the court, the siblings were under no obligation to post collateral in order to secure the pretrial release of their congressional relative.
“The entire setup leaves me with more questions than answers,” Josh Lafazan, a Nassau County legislator and another Democrat candidate for Santos’ seat, said. “These are two individuals who do not have a history of holding assets where they’d be able to make a half a million dollar payment.”
ABC News reported Thursday that Santos had revealed the names of his suretors to them minutes before the documents were released. It is unclear why he chose to divulge their names in advance.
The release followed a petition by numerous media outlets asking for the names of Santos’ suretors. Santos, the Republican representative of the 3rd Congressional District, submitted an eight page appeal on June 9 to have the names redacted by the court, asserting that releasing the names would put his suretors at risk of harassment by members of the media.
“I was pleased that the court required them to go ahead and release this information,” Anna Kaplan, another Democrat candidate, said. “It really does highlight that we have an indicted member of Congress representing this district, and someone who’s not able to represent this district.”
Santos has expressed anger in the past regarding the release of the names. At his arraignment on May 10, Santos was infuriated when a member of the media asked him about the suretors.
“That is information you’ll never get,” Santos angrily retorted. “Your intention is to go harass them and make their lives miserable; you’re not getting that.”
Santos’ lawyer Joseph Murray had previously stated that the fabulist Republican would rather go to jail than have the names revealed, according to the Associated Press. Yet it looks like that was just another lie by Santos, as he remains out of prison despite the release of his suretors’ names.
“It’s more of the same,” Kellen Curry, a Republican challenger to Santos, said. “It’s been a trip of headlines that are distracting for the district, for our interests, for families and communities on Long Island and certainly for the country.”
The New York Times had previously reported that the House Ethics Committee has also expressed interest in the names of the Santos’ suretors, in order to gauge whether the $500,000 bail bond is in violation of House Ethics rules regarding gifts. As the bond was made by family members, it remains to be seen what the response from the Ethics Committee will be.
Despite all of this, Kevin McCarthy, Republican Speaker of the House, has continued to ignore calls to hold a vote on Santos’ expulsion, although in a FOX News interview he said that the disgraced congressman did not have his support for his reelection campaign.
“Every time someone asks me about Kevin McCarthy I call him a coward, and he proves me right with every move he makes,” Democrat candidate Will Murphy said. “This is his delay tactic to try to push this to a Republican primary next year.”
Santos is currently facing 13 felony counts, which cover everything from fraud to money laundering, making false statements and theft of public funds, related to his acquisition of Covid-19 federal unemployment funds at a time when he was employed. If convicted of the top counts, Santos could face up to 20 years in prison.
The Congressman’s next court date is Friday, June 30.