New York Congressman George Santos spent lots of time in Florida in 2021 and 2022, including multiple trips to South Florida, according to his campaign finance reports.
There were hotel stays in West Palm Beach, some aligning with events Santos attended at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. There were meals at fancy restaurants like Miami’s Nusr-Et Steakhouse and stays at the high-end W South Beach around the time Santos held a fundraiser in Fort Lauderdale.
All told, Santos reported more than $17,000 in campaign spending in the Sunshine State.
It’s not clear if the reports are all accurate. Santos’ campaign reported purchasing a room at the W Hotel for $199.99, way below its typical rates. The managing partner at a Miami Beach diner told the Miami Herald there were no receipts matching listed expenses at the eatery in Santos’ campaign filings. And the Miami Beach Parking Department said the amounts Santos claims his campaign paid to park in a public lot seemed “impossible.”
Several other restaurants and hotels Santos reportedly visited didn’t respond to the Herald’s inquiries.
The Republican, who lied about numerous parts of his life story en route to victory in November, has various ties to the Sunshine State. He was briefly registered to vote in Orlando in 2016. He worked for a small investment firm in New York, Harbor City Capital, that was based in Florida. And he has said the money for a $700,000 campaign loan came from a company he formed in the state.
Here’s a look at some of the South Florida spending his campaign reported.
▪ March 2021: Santos reports stays at the Hyatt Place hotel in West Palm Beach on March 3, 6 and 8.
▪ October 2021: The campaign reports a slew of expenses in the region, including three stays at the W South Beach, a meal at Nusr-Et Steakhouse and parking in Miami Beach. Santos held a fundraiser on a boat in Fort Lauderdale during this trip.
▪ November 2021: Santos reports staying again at the Hyatt Place in West Palm Beach and reports several large restaurant bills in Palm Beach, listing them as expenses related to campaign events. Santos posted photos on social media around this time showing him attending an event at Mar-a-Lago.
▪ December 2021: Filings indicate a $229.55 tab on New Year’s Eve at Sweet Liberty, a popular bar in South Beach.
▪ January 2022: Santos reports staying at a Hyatt Place near Miami International Airport on Jan. 2 for over $900. The next day, he reports a meal at Bice Ristorante in Palm Beach. Filings also point to another one-night stay at Hyatt Place in West Palm Beach 10 days later.
▪ April 2022: Santos reports a $356.29 “dinner meeting with donors” at Edge Steak & Bar inside a Four Seasons hotel in Brickell on April 29.
▪ October 2022: There’s a reported $206.32 disbursement for a hotel stay at a Hilton near the Miami airport on Oct. 9.
▪ November 2022: Twelve days after Santos is elected, he reports a $1,290 hotel stay at The Breakers in Palm Beach.