Bay Ridge GOP congressional hopeful Michael Grimm touts himself as a successful small businessman, but one of his bungled ventures mainly succeeded in racking up city health code violations.
City health inspectors found “mice and flying insects” as well as other sanitary violations inside Healthalicious, a health food restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper East that Grimm co-owned until he began pursuing a career in politics.
The infestation problems were among three “critical violations” found in the eatery, located between E. 82nd and 83rd streets, last October — around the time that Grimm sold his share in the business. Other inspections showed that the facility wasn’t “vermin proof” and that some foods were not kept properly refrigerated.
Grimm, who is looking to unseat freshman Rep. Mike McMahon (D-Bay Ridge), admits that he cut ties with Healthalicious, but the bugs didn’t force him out — the Second Avenue subway did.
“[Healthalicious] was in a pretty busy spot, but all of its business came from foot traffic,” Grimm said. “When they started building the Second Avenue subway, all of that foot traffic is going to come to a halt.”
Healthalicious was at least one of Grimm’s two businesses after stints as a Marine and FBI agent. He’s also the CEO of Austin Refuel, a Texas company that turns cooking grease into biodiesel — which Grimm claims began turning a profit two months ago.
The McMahon campaign has been eager to exploit Grimm’s apparent sloppiness.
“Michael Grimm could maybe call himself successful had his food been properly stored, his utensils properly sterilized and had rodents and insects not been present on the premises,” said McMahon campaign spokeswoman Lauren Amendolara. “Brooklynites do not need a careless businessman to help them restore fiscal security — because he can’t.”
Amdenolara was apparently referring to Grimm’s opposition to the federal stimulus package, which McMahon and the Democratic-led Congress pushed last year. Grimm has said that the cash infusion did not help small businesses.
Though he has campaigned as a champion of small business, he’s also pushed earlier this year for a two-year moratorium on the capital gains tax, which affects investors when they sell stock.
The McMahon campaign slammed the proposal, citing a Crain’s New York Business analysis that suggest that a zero percent capital gains tax would trigger a round of profit-taking that would send Wall Street into a tailspin.
The McMahon campaign called the plan “ignorant and amateurish.”
“In these tough economic times, Brooklynites cannot afford to have a representative who will blunder toward jeopardizing their financial security,” the campaign said in a statement.