A U.S. Navy veteran has accused Republican Congressman George Santos of refusing to hand over $3,000 raised at an online event to fund life-saving surgery on his therapy dog.
Richard Osthoff, who served in the Navy for six years, said a charity linked to Mr. Santos created a GoFundMe page for his dog, Sapphire, but never gave him money.
The news comes weeks after the New York congressman lied about several aspects of his life during his campaign for a U.S. House seat last year.
Mr Osthoff said he believed his dog’s life would have been saved if he had been able to use the $3,000 (£2,431) donation jar.
“I was so angry that I realized this person is now a sitting MP,” Mr Osterhoff said.
“He doesn’t deserve that job. It’s horrible that he can lie, steal and cheat with his life.
“Now he’s someone we should trust. It’s disgusting. It’s horrible. [He] Should be ashamed of himself, but he doesn’t…he’s a psychopath. “
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Mr Santos, 34, told US news outlet Semafor that the allegations were “false” and that he “didn’t know who it was”.
In 2005, Mr. Osthoff received Sapphire, a pit bull, from a rescue organization to help him cope with bipolar disorder and PTSD.
“When I retired, I went through some really bad times,” he said.
“My dad even told me once that he thought I wanted to die.”
By 2016, Sapphire developed a cyst on her rib that was “probably the size of two grapefruits” a few months later.
Mr. Osthoff, who was homeless at the time, could not afford the estimated $3,000 cost of Sapphire’s surgery.
A veterinary technician then introduced him to Mr Santos’ charity, Friends of Pets United, which created a GoFundMe page for Sapphire.
“Everything has to be done through him [Mr Santos’s] At the time, the vet and his technicians and all these people,” Mr Osthoff said, adding that when he suggested going the other way, Mr Santos started “coming up with all these excuses” for the money.
“I knew there was a problem. I knew it was fishy. He started telling me that if the dog couldn’t be treated, the money wasn’t going to me anyway. They were going to another animal that needed it,” Mr. Osthoff said.
“I told him I was like: ‘Look, I know what’s going on here. You’re mining money for my dog, my friends and family, and you pocket it yourself’.”
Mr Osthoff never received the money and said he was forced to “beg” to pay for her euthanasia and cremation.
“its [Santos’s] It was her fault for her untimely death,” he added.
In recent weeks, Mr Santos has been accused of lying about his education and work history.
Contrary to his public resume, The New York Times reported that Citigroup and Goldman Sachs had no record of Mr. Santos having worked there, and Baruch could find no record of Mr. Santos graduating from the university.
Friends of Pets United, the animal rescue group that Mr. Santos claims to have started, is not a charity registered with the IRS.
Several of his fellow Republican politicians have called on Mr. Santos to resign from the New York seat he won in November’s midterm elections.