The Other McCain

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HookerGate: Miami Herald Confirms Elements of Menendez Prostitute Story

Posted on | February 4, 2013 | 26 Comments

The shadowy (and probably pseudonymous) tipster “Peter Williams” gave specific details about the prostitutes who were allegedly provided to New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez in the Dominican Republic. Two Miami Herald reporters, Kathleen McGrory and Melissa Sanchez, traveled to Santo Domingo to check out the story and, while they were unable to locate the prostitutes, they were able to confirm certain details:

[S]hreds 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. The apartment has since been rented to others and is now back on the market for $1,000 a month.

You can read the whole thing. The details confirmed by the two Miami Herald reporters are important because — as anyone with experience chasing this kind of story would tell you — if the story were totally bogus, basic facts like names and addresses wouldn’t check out.

A bogus story would have make-believe girls at non-existent addresses, but instead this story has the little details right. The fact that the women have now “disappeared,” as McGrory and Sanchez report, isn’t particularly surprising, nor is it surprising that the landlady (a) thought the hookers were “foreign exchange students” and (b) didn’t know the names of their alleged clients.

Locating the two hookers in the Dominican Republic may prove difficult for the simple reason that the country is crawling with hookers:

“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.” . . .
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. . . .
Studies suggest between 60,000 and 100,000 women work in the sex trade in the country, according to the Center for Integral Orientation and Investigation, a health and outreach organization based in the capital, Santo Domingo.

So this Caribbean island nation where Senator Menendez paid frequent visits is a sort of regional hooker-magnet. And exactly how many trips to the Dominican Republic did Senator Menendez make on the private plane of his Palm Beach campaign contributor? There seems to be some dispute about this, Matthew Boyle reports:

Flight records obtained by Breitbart News show Democratic Party donor Dr. Salomon Melgen’s private jet was in New Jersey near Sen. Bob Menendez’s home on April 8, 2012 — Easter Sunday last year. From there, it flew straight to the Dominican Republic.
Menendez and his staff have not answered when asked repeatedly whether the Senator was on that flight. They also have not provided any accounting as to where Menendez was on Easter Sunday, either.

Read the whole thing. This is highly interesting, because on Jan. 4, Menendez paid back Dr. Melgen $58,500 for three flights, but this (alleged) Easter weekend trip wasn’t one of those, and it was during the Easter weekend trip that one of the sex parties (allegedly) took place.