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Navy vet accuses George Santos of pocketing his dying dog’s GoFundMe money

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A Navy veteran has accused Rep. George Santos, RN.Y., of refusing to hand over thousands of dollars raised during a 2016 online campaign to fund life-saving surgery for his dog.

Richard Osthoff said in an interview on Wednesday that a charity group linked to Santos set up a GoFundMe page for his dog but never provided him with the money. Osthoff said he believes access to the $3,000 donation jar, which he says he was denied by Santos, would have saved his dog’s life.

“I was so livid that I realized this guy was now a sitting congressman. He doesn’t deserve this job. It’s horrible that he can lie and steal and cheat throughout his life,” Osthoff said.

Richard Osthoff.BNC News

“And now he’s someone we’re supposed to trust. It’s disgusting. It’s horrible. [He] should be ashamed of himself, but he doesn’t. …He’s a psychopath.

NBC News asked Santos for comment. He denied the allegations to Semafor.

“False,” Santos told the outlet. “No idea who it is.”

Patch.com first reported Osthoff’s allegations.

Santos admitted to embellishing and lying about key aspects of his biography when he ran for Congress last year. The New York Times published an article after the election that questioned Santos’ real estate portfolio and claimed that he founded an animal rescue charity that rescued more than 2,500 cats and dogs.

Osthoff, who was stationed in Louisiana and Washington from 1998, said less than a year after leaving the Navy in 2005, he got his dog, Sapphire, from a rescue organization for the help cope with bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress. disorder.

“I was going through very bad times when I left the service. My dad even told me at one point that he thought I had a death wish,” he said in the interview.

Osthoff said that in 2016, Sapphire suffered from health issues in her old age and developed a fatty cyst on her rib cage which, within a few months, “grew to the size of maybe two grapefruits”.

A vet estimated his surgery would cost $3,000, money that Osthoff said he didn’t have at the time.

“I was homeless and living in a tent,” he said. “I didn’t have that kind of money.”

It was then, Osthoff said, that he first heard of Santos and a charity he touted during the campaign trail known as Friends of Pets United, which, according to a veterinary technician, “raises a lot of money for animals in need”.

Osthoff said Santos’ group created a GoFundMe page for Sapphire, and friends, family and people he didn’t know made contributions, helping him reach the $3,000 goal.

When the vet treating Sapphire said she would need another surgeon, Santos suggested calling her vet instead, Osthoff said.

“Everything had to be done by his vets and his techs and all that at that time,” Osthoff said, adding that when he suggested going a different route, Santos started “making up all these excuses” to About money.

“I knew there was something. I knew it was fishy. And he started telling me that if the dog couldn’t be worked on, the funds weren’t going to come back to me anyway. They were going to go to another animal that needed it,” Osthoff said.

“I told him, I was like, ‘Look, I know what’s going on here. You’re exploiting my dog, my friends and my family for funds, and you’re putting it in your own pocket.

Osthoff said he never received the money raised from Sapphire’s campaign and ended up having to “beg” to pay for his euthanasia and cremation.

When asked if he wanted the money, Osthoff replied, “Money means nothing.”

“That dog is what kept me alive,” he said.

Twice, Osthoff said, he probably would have killed himself “if she wasn’t here with me and I didn’t have her to think about.”

“His [Santos’] fault that she passed as soon as she did. I think she could have been taken care of. There could have been more veterinary care, something to prolong his life, even if they couldn’t remove that thing. She could have been more comfortable,” he said.

Santos has lied about much of his background and resume and is under investigation at the state, local and federal levels. In an interview last month with the New York Post, he apologized for certain aspects of his biography.

“I’m embarrassed and sorry for embellishing my resume,” he said, according to the newspaper. “I recognize that. … We do stupid things in life.

The Hill reported last week that Santos told reporters, “I haven’t done anything unethical.”

Santos has resisted calls from fellow congressmen to step down. He won seats on two House committees this week.

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