Two New Jersey veterans say now-Congressman George Santos raised money for crucial surgery for one of their pets in 2016, then disappeared with the money.
Freshman Republican Santos is under pressure to resign after lying about his schooling, employment, and family. Santos “embellished” his resume but is “not a criminal.”
US Navy veteran Rich Osthoff told CNN his pit terrier Sapphire developed a tumor in 2015 and grew in 2016. Osthoff lived in a tent after losing his job and house.
New Jersey Veterans Network founder Michael Boll told CNN he mentored Osthoff and tried to rehabilitate his dog.
Boll alleged Santos told them he regularly rescued animals. Boll and Osthoff claimed Santos was Anthony Devolder.
Boll stated Santos began a Sapphire GoFundMe. George Devolder’s Facebook post references a GoFundMe dog operation.
“Sapphire is a 10-year-old red nose pit bull that has been keeping this man company,” the Facebook post reads. Will you help this baby and her papa stay together for years? Isn’t she his? “Let’s all help this family of two stay well!”
Boll raised $3,000.
Osthoff’s GoFundMe failed.
Osthoff and Boll said Santos became argumentative, first requesting Osthoff take his dog to a veterinarian facility of his choice, then saying another clinic wouldn’t accept his money.
“I had to jump through hoops and do things his way,” Osthoff told CNN. “He was troublesome. Another hurdle.”
Anthony. Expecting a response. “Just verifying whether you made contact with the vet,” Osthoff texts Santos, then known as Anthony Devolder. Santos “just contacted” Osthoff and is “jumping through hoops.” “The vet Osthoff suggested is not as flexible as you claimed,” he says.
Santos tells Osthoff that a vet “had previously ruled out the procedure without the ultrasound because based on his experience he feels it’s extremely invasive,” but he will take the dog for an ultrasound “to offer you peace of mind.”
Santos informs Osthoff, “I’m starting to feel like [SIC] I was mined for my family and friends’ donations,” that his dog is not a surgery candidate, so “the cash is moved to the next animal in need and we will make sure we use of [SIC] resources to keep her comfortable!”
“I’m sick of getting pulled around,” Osthoff adds in another text. Santos replies, “Remember it is our credibility that got Gofundme themselves [SIC] to contribute!” “We have impeccable integrity,” he remarked.
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Osthoff tells Santos, “I don’t know or trust you,” when he won’t let him take his dog to the clinic. Osthoff ignores Santos’ 2016 request.
Osthoff’s accusations made Santos hostile.
“He got so angry with me and blew up and refused to give me the money and then simply wouldn’t return the calls,” he claimed.
Santos told CNN Wednesday, “I have no clue what he’s talking about, and the weird part is that everyone who knows me, knows I’d go to hell and back for a dog and especially a veteran.” He called the Patch.com report “just part of the pile-on effect.”
“I have hundreds of people coming out in support sharing their anecdotes about their pets and kittens that I assist to save and rescue,” Santos added.
Demonstrate. “Show us,” Osthoff told Santos on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront” Wednesday. He should show off his supporters.
After a tip, GoFundMe withdrew the fundraiser, CNN reported.
Our trust and safety team requested organizer verification of fund delivery in late 2016. After they didn’t respond, we removed the fundraiser and blacklisted the organizer’s email. GoFundMe cooperates with law enforcement and has zero tolerance for platform misuse.
He said Boll did not mediate.
Boll said Anthony was dissatisfied with what he heard and didn’t want to talk to him.
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Osthoff claims the fundraiser never paid him after Santos stopped replying.
Six months after Santos left, Osthoff’s dog died.
“Sapphire was my little savior,” he told CNN. She saved me.
Osthoff begged for euthanasia funds.
Osthoff reported Santos to the police, but “it didn’t go anywhere.”
Osthoff recently realized Anthony Devolder and George Santos were the same.
“In December I started watching him on TV,” Osthoff told CNN. His face sickened me.
Boll was frustrated to be given a position that affects thousands.
Osthoff wrote, “Where’s my fundraiser proceeds, George?? Interest.” Unanswered texts.