When Congressman Michael Grimm went to prison most of his political allies abandoned him, but not one of Staten Island's most famous Republicans, Guy Molinari. The feeling is mutual. As Molinari's health has declined Grimm has taken care of him. And now that Grimm is running for his old seat, Molinari is firmly in his corner. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
In a business of shifting alliances, former Congressman Michael Grimm has one relationship that endures.
Grimm has long considered former congressman and borough president Guy Molinari his mentor. But their bond now goes far beyond student and teacher.
At 88 years old, suffering severe arthritis and other ailments, Molinari is a political lion in winter, relying on Grimm as a kind of health aide, caretaker and more.
Their relationship began eight years ago. Grimm says he wanted to run for office, Googled Staten Island politics, and Molinari's name popped up.
Molinari only took a meeting because Grimm was a Marine and then agreed to help him.
"The basic tennents of what he taught me, the very first thing - put your faith in the people. If you want to represent them, you have to have some trust in them," Grimm said.
Molinari helped Grimm pull off an upset for Congress, then watched as Grimm lost it all to a tax fraud conviction.
Over time, they became close with Grimm shuttling Molinari to doctors appointments and regularly visiting him as his health began to wane.
"He's like a son to me. He says older brother, but whatever. I love him. He's so good to me and has been very good to me," Molinari said.
Before Grimm went away to prison he helped to arrange care for Molinari in his absence.
But the help isn't one way.
When Grimm was released after seven months, Molinari lent him $20,000 to help pay more than $138,000 in court-ordered restitution.
"He'll pay me back. I don't care whether I get paid back, frankly," Molinari said.
Now Grimm is trying to unseat the man who succeeded him in Congress, fellow Republican Dan Donovan.
Every other establishment Republican opposes Grimm's comeback bid, but not Molinari.
"He will win, he will win because he's working hard. And because I'm on his side. I'll take a bow on that one," Molinari said.
Molinari says his health will prevent him from campaigning with Grimm but will help in other ways.
"I still know a lot of people," he said. "And I can still use the phone."