Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio is demanding Rep. Michael Grimm come clean about a 1999 nightclub brawl in which the gun-slinging G-man-turned-Congressman apparently abused his authority, waved a gun around like a madman and spouted racist comments at Caribbean club-goers.
DeBlasio, a Democrat, is challenging Grimm (R–Bay Ridge) to address allegations outlined in a scathing New Yorker article this week included a scene of the undercover FBI agent Grimm exploding and pulling his pistol during a night out on the town with the estranged wife of another man.
“If [the New Yorker’s] charges are true, it’s clear that Congressman Grimm abused his power as a law enforcement official and violated the civil rights of several New Yorkers,” said DeBlasio, who called on the NYPD and the Justice Department to release all documents pertaining to the decade-old incident.
“A matter this serious cannot be brushed under the rug. He owes it to his constituents to push for a full release of all records related to this incident so the truth can come out.”
According to the New Yorker, Grimm was working undercover for the FBI as a stock and currency trader in 1999 when, during his night out at the Caribbean Tropics nightclub in Queens, his date’s husband confronted him.
Gordon Williams, an NYPD officer who was moonlighting as a club bouncer at the time, told the magazine that he broke up the argument and separated Grimm and his companion from the angered spouse.
Grimm was seething as he was led away, telling Williams, “I’ll f—ing make him disappear where nobody will find him,” the magazine quotes Grimm as saying.
Grimm and his date left the nightspot, but returned at 2:30 am, only to be confronted by his date’s husband again, as well as three others, the article states.
This time, the men fought. When the fisticuffs were over, Grimm was flashing his gun, Williams told the New Yorker.
“[Grimm] was carrying on like a madman,” Williams explained. “He’s screaming ‘I’m gonna f—in’ kill him.’ So I said to him “Who are you?’ He put the gun back in his waist and said ‘I’m a f—ing FBI agent. … Nobody’s gonna threaten me.’ ”
Grimm left the club, returning at 4:30 am with another FBI agent and a handful of police officers, Williams told the magazine.
“Everybody get up against the f—ing wall,” Williams remembered Grimm shouting. “The FBI is in control.”
Then, just as the mostly black crowd were lining up, Grimm barked , “All the white people get out of here,” an off-color — and possibly racist — comment Williams told the New Yorker he “would never forget.”
Democrats hoping to unseat the freshman legislator next year have been having a field day with the article as political pundits and bloggers spent the last two days gossiping about it. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee even helped spread the word by emailing the article to media outlets throughout the city.
Yet Grimm says the article is full of lies.
Repeated requests by this paper for an interview with the freshman congressman weren’t answered, but Grimm told the Staten Island Advance that the article was a baseless fiction written by a magazine “on a witch hunt.”
“[The magazine] was working on [the story] for over a year,” Grimm said. “[It] was trying to dig up something that wasn’t there.”
The Desert Storm veteran told the Advance that he did take out his gun that night, but didn’t wave it around like Williams and the New Yorker allege.
“Once the fight was over, the bouncers were coming over but they didn’t look too friendly,” Grimm recalled. “I took the gun out of my ankle holster and put it in my waistband at the same time I took out my badge. All I said to them was, ‘Officer needs assistance, call 911.’ I wasn’t brandishing my weapon [like Williams said].”
Grimm said Williams wouldn’t call 911 after the nightclub fight. He complained about Williams’s behavior to the cop’s NYPD supervisors, shedding some light on Williams’s moonlighting.
Williams was suspended as a result, the New Yorker noted, although it isn’t clear for how long.
Grimm told the Advance that Williams, who retired from the NYPD in 2003, has had a grudge against him since that night.
According to the New Yorker, Williams filed a $1-million slander suit against Grimm following his suspension, but didn’t pursue it once the US Attorney petitioned to have the case moved to federal court, claiming that the congressman was undercover for the FBI at the time of the fight and “acting within the scope of his employment.”
The case was ultimately dismissed.
Grimm also told the Advance that the racist comment Williams claimed to have heard was never uttered.
“It’s absurd,” Grimm explained. “At the point when he claimed I said [those words], I was the only white person there. It doesn’t make sense. I didn’t say anything once the police got there.”
But according to Grimm’s account, he didn’t need to call police at all. Despite being outnumbered four to one, he successfully fought off the nightclub attackers, Grimm told the Advance, adding that when the dust settled, three of his opponents “were on the floor.” The fourth fled, he said.
Grimm responded to DeBlasio by saying that he isn’t going to make the reports about the 1999 club incident public, claiming that the Public Advocate’s request for them was “nothing more than political grandstanding.”
“DeBlasio’s cry for the truth is as disengenuous and as baseless as the disgraced police officer who originally made the false allegations and who was formally reprimanded,” Grimm charged. “This incident was fully investigated and I was cleared of all of the ridiculous and absurd allegations. To further entertain this partisan attack on my exemplary career and service to this great nation would be to give [the allegations] credence, of which it deserves none.”