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3 posts from February 3, 2013

February 03, 2013

Pulp fiction? Porn? True crime? Political dirty tricks? Menendez saga is FL whodunit

Peter Williams could remain silent no longer.

“My duty as a US citizen obligates me to report what I consider to be a grave violation of the most fundamental codes of conduct that a politician of my country must follow. I have first hand information regarding the reiterated participation of Senator Robert Menendez in inappropriate sexual activities with young prostitutes while on vacations in the Dominican Republic.”

That’s the opening line of his email, written 1:02 p.m. Monday April 09, 2012. A torrent followed with increasingly wild, tough-to-prove allegations.

They all started to come to light Tuesday and Wednesday when the FBI raided the South Florida offices of Menendez’s friend and donor, Dr. Salomon Melgen, accused in the emails of flying the New Jersey Democrat to the Dominican Republic for the trysts.

Menendez called the claims “fallacious allegations.”

The story has all the makings of a Florida political whodunit: shady donors and operatives and politicians ducking for cover.

It all reads like a mix of true crime, pulp fiction, pornography and a textbook political dirty trick.

Continue reading "Pulp fiction? Porn? True crime? Political dirty tricks? Menendez saga is FL whodunit" »

Slivers of truth and dead ends: DR trail of Sen. Robert Menendez scandal full unknowns

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- The shadowy tipster who made explosive allegations involving U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez and underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic named names. He gave descriptions of the women, and in some cases, phone numbers and addresses.

Despite those details, the women are nowhere to be found.

A week after the claims made headlines in the United States and on this Caribbean island, the alleged prostitutes have disappeared. An attorney who once represented two of the women said he hadn’t spoken to them in months, and then stopped returning phone calls himself. A two-bedroom apartment where some of the alleged liaisons took place is now vacant. Little remains here beyond hazy memories.

No concrete links have been made between Menendez and any prostitutes. Still, the allegations from the tipster, who identified himself as Peter Williams, were serious enough to launch an FBI probe. And shreds of evidence in Santo Domingo show that, at the very least, the women Williams described exist.

Take an apartment in Santo Domingo’s upscale Gazcue neighborhood that Williams said was used for sexual liaisons. In April emails to a watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Williams alleged that Dr. Salomon Melgen, a friend and major campaign donor to Menendez, rented a unit for a Brazilian prostitute named Maria and a Colombian prostitute named Geraldine.

The apartment exists. When reached by phone, the landlady said that two young women named Geraldine and Maria had indeed lived there last year, and said the nationalities matched.

However, the landlady, who declined to be named, did not believe the women to be prostitutes — she said she thought they were beautiful foreign exchange students — and had never heard of Menendez or Melgen visiting the apartment. But she complained that the women had nearly destroyed the unit, even leaving the wallpaper torn up when they abandoned the apartment last year.

“They behaved very badly,” she said.

More here

Bob Menendez imbroglio casts light on Dominican Republic sex industry

BOCA CHICA, Dominican Republic -- By day, Italian tourists pack the beach of this Caribbean seafront village. By night, prostitutes fill its streets.

“Prostitution is everywhere here; on the beach, in the bars, in the clubs,” said Antonio Guzman, 36, a hustler who has worked the beach for 15 years and regularly connects tourists with prostitutes. “This place runs on it.”

On a weekend at midday recently, a few blocks from a beach where hundreds of Europeans tanned, a few middle-age men entered a small club on a quiet street. Inside, they had their choice of pretty, young, mostly Dominican women: $50 bought them two hours in a private room with the girl of their choice, drinks and food, the men said.

Across this nation of 10 million, similar scenes play out — from small bars and hotels where tourists pay $40 for a half hour with a woman to packaged sex tourism vacations costing upward of $4,000 for a three-night, all-inclusive stay.

Long before explosive allegations emerged claiming Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and a political contributor flew to the country for wild parties with several prostitutes, the Dominican Republic had cemented its reputation as a hub for sex tourism. Menendez has denied the allegations, calling them a political smear campaign.

More here