The ex-campaign treasurer for U.S. Rep. George Santos is scheduled to enter a guilty plea to an unspecified felony in connection with the sprawling federal investigation of financial irregularities surrounding the indicted New York Republican, prosecutors say.
Nancy Marks is a veteran Long Island political operative. Marks served as the campaign treasurer and close aide to Santos during his two congressional bids. Marks resigned amid growing questions about Santos’ campaign finances and revelations Santos had fabricated much of his life story.
Marks’ plea is scheduled to take place in a Central Islip courtroom on Thursday afternoon. It comes as Santos faces a 13-count federal indictment centered on charges of money laundering and lying to Congress in an earlier financial disclosure.
The investigation of the first-term congressman has also engulfed Marks, a key behind-the-scenes figure in Long Island Republican politics who built a business as a treasurer and consultant to dozens of local, state and federal candidates.
Marks has faced questions about the congressman’s unusual campaign filings, including a series of $199.99 expenses, just below the legal limit for disclosure. Santos, in turn, has sought to pin the blame for his unexplained finances on Marks, who he claims “went rogue” without his knowledge.
Any deal with prosecutors that requires Marks to testify in the case against Santos could be a severe blow to the Republican, who faces charges that he embezzled money from his campaign, lied in financial disclosures submitted to Congress and received unemployment funds when he wasn’t eligible.
While Santos has admitted fabricating key parts about his purported background as a wealthy, well-educated businessman, questions remain about what he did for work, as well as the true source of more than $700,000 he initially claimed to have loaned his campaign from his own personal fortune.
Santos has pleaded not guilty to charges he duped donors, stole from his campaign and lied to Congress about being a millionaire, all while cheating to collect unemployment benefits he didn’t deserve. He has defied calls to resign.
A formal complaint filed by the Campaign Legal Center with the Federal Election Committee alleges that unknown groups may have illegally funneled money into the Santos campaign. The complaint, filed last January, named Marks along with Santos.
Hawaii’s electric utility acknowledged its power lines started a wildfire on Maui but faulted county firefighters for declaring the blaze contained and leaving the scene, only to have a second wildfire break out nearby and become the deadliest in the U.S. in more than a century.
Hawaiian Electric Company released a statement Sunday night in response to Maui County’s lawsuit blaming the utility for failing to shut off power despite exceptionally high winds and dry conditions. Hawaiian Electric called that complaint “factually and legally irresponsible,” and said its power lines in West Maui had been de-energized for more than six hours before the second blaze started.
In its statement, the utility addressed the cause for the first time. It said the fire on the morning of Aug. 8 “appears to have been caused by power lines that fell in high winds.” The Associated Press reported Saturday that bare electrical wire that could spark on contact and leaning poles on Maui were the possible cause.
But Hawaiian Electric appeared to blame Maui County for most of the devastation — the fact that the fire appeared to reignite that afternoon and tore through downtown Lahaina, killing at least 115 people and destroying 2,000 structures.
Neither a county spokesperson and nor its lawyers immediately responded to a request for comment early Monday about Hawaiian Electric’s statement.
The Maui County Fire Department responded to the morning fire, reported it was “100% contained,” left the scene and later declared it had been “extinguished,” Hawaiian Electric said.
Hawaiian Electric said its crews then went to the scene to make repairs and did not see fire, smoke or embers. The power to the area was off. Around 3 p.m., those crews saw a small fire in a nearby field and called 911.
Hawaiian Electric rejected the basis of the Maui County lawsuit, saying its power lines had been de-energized for more than six hours by that time, and the cause of the afternoon fire has not been determined.
According to court documents, Jerry Lee Redman of Severn, Maryland, owned Redman Services Inc. (RSI), a paving and construction company.
For at least 2015 through 2018, Redman filed corporate income tax returns for RSI that underreported the business’s gross receipts. Redman caused customers to write checks to him personally, instead of to RSI, and then deposited those checks into his personal bank account.
Those payments were not reported as gross receipts on RSI’s corporate returns. During the same years, Redman also did not report other income that he received from RSI. Redman withdrew and caused others to withdraw funds from RSI’s business bank account to pay for his personal expenses, but Redman did not report those funds as income on his own tax returns. Some of the withdrawals for personal expenses were also falsely deducted as business expenses on RSI’s corporate returns. Redman’s conduct caused a loss to the IRS of approximately $666,113.
If convicted, Redman faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division made the announcement. IRS-Criminal Investigation is investigating the case.
Jack Mogannam, manager of Sam’s Cable Car Lounge in downtown San Francisco, relishes the days when his bar stayed open past midnight every night, welcoming crowds that jostled on the streets, bar hopped, window browsed or just took in the night air.
He’s had to drastically curtail those hours because of diminished foot traffic, and business is down 30%. A sign outside the lounge pleads: “We need your support!”
“I’d stand outside my bar at 10 p.m. and look, it would be like a party on the street,” Mogannam said. “Now you see, like, six people on the street up and down the block. It’s a ghost town.”
After a three-year exile, the pandemic now fading from view, the expected crowds and electric ambience of downtown have not returned.
Empty storefronts dot the streets. Large “going out of business” signs hang in windows. Uniqlo, Nordstrom Rack and Anthropologie are gone. Last month, the owner of Westfield San Francisco Centre, a fixture for more than 20 years, said it was handing the mall back to its lender, citing declining sales and foot traffic. The owner of two towering hotels, including a Hilton, did the same.
Shampoo, toothpaste and other toiletries are locked up at downtown pharmacies. And armed robbers recently hit a Gucci store in broad daylight.
San Francisco has become the prime example of what downtowns shouldn’t look like: vacant, crime-ridden and in various stages of decay. But in truth, it’s just one of many cities across the U.S. whose downtowns are reckoning with a post-pandemic wake-up call: diversify or die.
As the pandemic bore down in early 2020, it drove people out of city centers and boosted shopping and dining in residential neighborhoods and nearby suburbs as workers stayed closer to home. Those habits seem poised to stay.
No longer the purview of office workers, downtowns must become around-the-clock destinations for people to congregate, said Richard Florida, a specialist in city planning at the University of Toronto.