(Bloomberg) U.S. Representative Michael Grimm of New York, who pleaded guilty to a federal tax charge, said he plans to resign from the House.
Grimm, 44, a Republican, made the announcement in a written statement issued late last night.
“The events which led to this day did not break my spirit, nor the will of the voters,” said Grimm of his decision to step down, effective Jan. 5.
“I do not believe that I can continue to be 100% effective in the next Congress, and therefore, out of respect for the office and the people I so proudly represent, it is time for me to start the next chapter of my life,” he said.
Grimm had been elected in November to a third term starting in January.
The decision came after talking with House Speaker John Boehner, according to a report in the New York Daily News that cited unidentified people.
Grimm, whose district includes Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, informed several political allies of his decision before making the public announcement. He had said last week he was not planning to resign.
“I’m not feeling very good right now,” said Richmond County, New York, Republican Party Chairman John Antoniello in an interview late yesterday. He said he had been contacted by the congressman about his decision.
Antoniello said the local county Republican committees had plans to move forward with a “contingency”—the idea that there will be a special election to fill Grimm’s seat.
The lawmaker’s continued presence in Washington would have been a major distraction for Republicans when Congress convenes Jan. 6. Grimm told reporters last week he had no intention of resigning.
Grimm, who had been accused of hiding as much as $1 million in revenue from a Manhattan health-food restaurant he co-owned, pleaded guilty last week in federal court in Brooklyn to aiding in the filing of a false tax return. Grimm faces a prison term of as long as 33 months, and sentencing is set for June.
Grimm is a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent. He won re-election even though he had been indicted in April on 20 counts of fraud, perjury, mail and wire fraud, and other charges tied to claims he hid revenue from the health-food restaurant named Healthalicious that he co-owned before his 2010 election to Congress.
Included in the indictment were accusations that Grimm hired undocumented immigrants and underreported amounts he was paying them in wages, which allowed him to avoid paying higher payroll taxes.
Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney for Brooklyn, New York, has said Grimm took steps to obstruct federal and state governments from collecting taxes he properly owed and lied under oath to conceal his actions.
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