scorecard2 former George Santos campaign workers describe a 'sloppy' workplace and a boss with a short fuse
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2 former George Santos campaign workers describe a 'sloppy' workplace and a boss with a short fuse

Joshua Zitser   

2 former George Santos campaign workers describe a 'sloppy' workplace and a boss with a short fuse
PoliticsPolitics3 min read
  • People who worked on Rep. George Santos' 2022 campaign described it as a poor workplace.
  • One said Santos was demanding and would explode when mistakes were made.

Rep. George Santos' campaign for Congress in 2022 was ultimately successful, but two people who worked on it told Insider that behind the scenes it was sloppy and rife with paranoia.

One former staffer, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of damaging his career, worked as a senior field operative for Santos for a little over three months in 2022.

He left his role in June last year because of what he described as a "toxic working relationship" with Santos and disagreements over the direction of the campaign. Insider verified that he worked there with FEC records.

During a call with Insider, he said he had known Santos for around two years before joining the 2022 campaign. He said Santos was "very high maintenance" and incredibly demanding of his team.

"If there was a small mistake, not even of your own making, it was as if the ceiling was collapsing on top of you," the former staffer said. "It was a huge commotion."

Santos preferred employing young, inexperienced people who would do as he said without pushing back or asking questions, the former staffer claimed.

Toby Gotesman Schneier, a Florida-based artist who was brought onto the campaign as a fundraising consultant in late 2021, also expressed frustration that people with political experience were apparently disregarded.

Insider verified her work against FEC records as well.

"It felt like nobody was listening," she said during an interview with Insider, adding that her emails and calls regularly went ignored for several days at a time. "If I was going to use a word for, it would be sloppy."

Gotesman Schneier ultimately left the campaign after a little under three months, and her time did not overlap with the other person interviewed by Insider. Even so, she said that most of his statements ring true.

"Looking back, of course it was toxic," she said.

Santos did not respond to a request for comment from Insider.

The unnamed former staffer alleged that there was an atmosphere of paranoia during the campaign, adding that he believes Santos was worried he would be caught out on his lies.

"He was very, very paranoid," he said. "When everything unraveled, it kind of all made sense why he'd be so paranoid."

Santos won his New York election in the November 2022 midterms, but a little more than a month later The New York Times revealed that he had fabricated key elements of his background and resume.

He has since been accused of lying about his being Jewish, dressing up in drag, and his mother having survived 9/11, among other fabrications.

The former staffer said he was suspicious of how guarded Santos was of people who were working so closely with him. "He kept everything close to his chest," he said. "Nobody knew anything really about his home life."

One thing the former staffer said was "a red flag" was that Santos allegedly claimed to own several properties, including one in Nantucket.

"I've worked for a lot of campaigns and some people don't necessarily want tons of staff over to their homes and everything," he said. "But people who are supposed to be close, that are friends, usually there was at least one point where you'd go to their home or something. It was just very, very strange."

He said he was confused by the allegedly grandiose claims of having a property empire given that he was picking Santos up every day from this "small apartment place in Queens."

Former friends also told The New York Times in their bombshell investigation that Santos' descriptions of owning real estate, specifically a house in Nantucket, were hard to believe given that he took on roommates to make rent on his modest Queens apartment.

The New York Times and Gothamist also reported that Santos faced eviction cases in 2014, 2015, and in 2017.

The unnamed former staffer ultimately decided to leave the campaign because something felt "very off," he said. Asked where he now stands on his former boss, he said simply: "He is no longer my friend."

As for Gotesman Schneier, she thinks Santos should resign: "How on earth is he still in Congress? How is that possible, and not criminal, or something? It's shocking to me."