Staten Island Democrats have nominated a daring, smart attorney and former reality TV star to serve as commissioner for the city’s Electoral Board.
Michele Sileo – who played the main role “Staten Island Act” which aired briefly on the Oprah Winfrey Network in 2013 – also made headlines in 2016 when her husband James Grant, an NYPD officer, was embroiled in a corruption scandal.
Staten Island’s Democratic Party leadership and North Shore City Councilwoman Kamillah Hanks approved Sileo’s nomination, ending an internal feud.
Party leaders had previously recommended former councilwoman Debi Rose, Hanks’ predecessor, for the post of Democratic election commissioner.
However, Hanks, who had fallen out with Rose, blocked her nomination with the council’s blessing.
“I chose Michele Sileo because she is a smart and accomplished attorney herself,” Hanks told The Post, adding that she was “pleased” that the Staten Island Democratic Party accepted Sileo’s nomination.
“She has the right temperament and skills for the job and will make an excellent commissioner for the Elections Committee. I look forward to guiding her application through the city council process,” Hanks said.
Sileo — whose husband, now-retired NYPD Deputy Inspector James Grant, was charged but later acquitted of bribery — once made jokes on a legal tutoring website that made her seem half gangster, half dominatrix.
“Michele is a fat, hairy, bald man with a dirty mouth and bad attitude,” reads her profile on Lawyer Up’s website.
“In 2002, Michele gave up the lipstick ghetto … to bring her unique blend of whipping and therapy to law students across the country,” it continues.
Sileo, who now teaches online at Empire State University, defended her racist remarks during her reality TV stint as being made in the name of entertainment and stressed her legal credentials to serve on the Election Committee.
“Working with Oprah Winfrey in 2012 was a huge once in a lifetime opportunity! And yes, that was my personality back then; We wanted to make law fun and accessible. No regrets,” said Sileo on Sunday.
“Being a lawyer is my passion and my background speaks volumes. I have been practicing law for twenty years. I’m a public defender, part-time professor at SUNY, and co-author of two study guides for freshman law students,” she added.
“This appointment gives me the opportunity to contribute to the political process in this extremely important role that enables free and fair elections,” said Sileo. “I am honored that the Executive Committee of the Staten Island Democratic Party voted unanimously to support the councilman’s recommendation.”
Sileo’s husband Grant was accused of taking bribes in the form of a Las Vegas hotel room and a prostitute from two businessmen who were friends of then-Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Sileo was to receive ill-gotten diamonds as part of the alleged bribery scheme.
Grant was acquitted in a 2019 trial and left the department, but has resurfaced as a private investigator and real estate agent.
The jury found Grant’s co-defendant Jeremy Reichberg, a fundraiser for De Blasio, guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud and bribery in the course of honest services.