MIAMI CONNECTION: Prominent Florida billionaire tied to George Santos’ Devolder Organization (UPDATED)
A billionaire Miami-Dade attorney whose family’s name appears on incorporation documents for companies doing business with the Devolder Company of Representative-Elect George Santos (R-NY) ducked questions about the allegations that Santos’ campaign was partially funded by Russians with Kremlin ties. (This story contains a correction.)
Occupy Democrats reached out to high-profile Florida attorney John H. Ruiz via Twitter on Thursday and asked:
“Would you care to comment on the allegations against George Santos, recent relations of his ties to Russia, and his campaign being partially funded by allies of the Kremlin?”
Instead of responding by Direct Message, Ruiz posted a quote tweet denying personal acquaintance with the New York Republican whose business counted his children’s companies as its clients.*
As expected, he didn’t comment on his children’s involvement with Santos.
As a result, I do not want to involve myself in politics or discuss politicians generally but especially on my Twitter account. My personal feeling is that politics have destroyed our country and around the world mostly in the last 50 years.
— John H. Ruiz, Attorney at Law (@JohnHRuiz) December 30, 2022
Earlier this week, The Daily Beast reported on the connections between the future congressman, the ambulance-chasing legal titan, and his prominent South Florida family.
Santos claims to have lent his campaign $700,000, yet no record of his personal contribution exists – only those from the company he reportedly helmed.
The government watchdog group, CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington), weighed in on the discrepancies in the Santos campaign’s financial disclosures – pointing out the potential illegality of the soon-to-be U.S. congressman’s campaign finance bait and switch.
“You can fund a campaign with your own money to whatever extent you’d like, but the deal is it has to be your money,” CREW communications director, Jordan Libowitz, told The Daily Beast.
“Two major problems here. One, if it’s the company’s money, it’s not his money. If it were Santos personally doing business as the company—that is, if it were his bank accounts—that’s okay. But this is an actual corporation, and you can’t make a corporation to run money through to your campaign.”
Santos had quite the reversal of fortune in the two years since his failed initial run for Congress.
In 2020 financial disclosures, the Manchurian Candidate listed no assets and claimed a salary of just $55,000 from the Ponzi scheme-adjacent financial services company, LinkBridge. By 2022, Devolder-Santos would disclose a $750,000 salary from the organization – and between $1-5 million in dividends.
There are only four known clients of the Devolder Organization – the owner of a NY-based chain of used car dealerships, a firm tied to a Long Island insurance conglomerate, and two groups linked to none other than the Ruiz family.
The Devolder Organization LLC was registered in Florida, far from the new New Yorker’s claimed place of residence.
Santos received tens of thousands in campaign contributions from the cousin of a sanctioned Russian oligarch, and recently a video surfaced of the freshman-elect bragging about traveling to Russia for “business.”
What business exactly, we’d really like to know.
According to CNN, Federal Election Commission records show at least 37 expenditures recorded just below the $200 threshold to keep receipts. Instead, the slippery grifter logged some of his questionable campaign spending at a cap of $199.99, raising concerns.
Lie after lie after lie after lie – Congressman-Elect George Santos has been less than transparent in his explanations for the blatant falsehoods used to propel him to the halls of democracy.
The knowledge that he had assistance from a Miami-based powerhouse to fuel his duplicity leaves more questions than answers.
What did billionaire South Florida legal vulture John Ruiz know – and when did he know it?
Original reporting by Roger Sollenberger and William Bredderman at The Daily Beast.
Correction: The Ruiz family members’ names appear on the corporate registration records of the companies doing business with the Devolder Company, not the Rep.-elect’s company, as previously stated.
* Author’s note on update: Because he did not respond by Direct Message, the author did not see Mr. Ruiz’s tweeted response until after publication, so we added it and updated the story immediately upon discovery by editors.
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