NEW: Taveras’ Donor Tied to National Prostitution Scandal
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Dr. Salomon Melgen, an ophthalmologist from West Palm Beach, was accused this week with providing prostitutes and free trips to the Dominican Republic for New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez.
In an explosive ethics scandal that has led some to wonder whether or not Menendez will step down, Melgen’s office was reportedly raided last week by FBI agents and representatives from the Health and Human Services Department.
The controversy led to numerous media outlets digging into Melgen, a well-known political contributor who has reportedly given more than $426,000 in campaign contributions to various candidates over the past two decades.
One of those candidates is Providence Mayor Angel Taveras.
In a campaign finance report from the Rhode Island Board of Elections, a donor by the name of Salomon E. Melgen donated the $1,000 maximum to Angel Taveras’ organization on June 29, 2010.
In the report, Melgen’s address is listed as 12096 Captains Landing, North Palm Beach, Florida and his employer is listed as Melgen Vitreo Retinal Eye Center, with an address of 2521 Metrocentre Blvd, West Palm Beach, Florida.
That address is still registered as belonging to the Melgen Vitreo Retinal Eye Center, whose website described Melgen as being in the practice for over 20 years and having treated “many well-respected individuals including Presidents, Governors, politicians, celebrities, and actors.”
“Many of Dr. Melgen’s patients travel far distances to see him because of his reputation and skill,” the site says. “He has developed a widely respected international reputation … Dr. Melgen has consistently contributed to charitable organizations and causes throughout his career. Dr. Melgen also advises domestic and foreign politicians on health issues, in attempt to improve community health care.”
The timing of Melgen’s 2010 donation to Taveras comes right in the middle of the alleged free trips offered to Menendez, who earlier this week referred to the doctor as a “friend and political supporter.”
According to reports, Menendez took three flights on Melgen’s jets in 2010, one in May of that year to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic for political fundraisers that was paid for by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
It was the two flights during August and September of that year that led to an inquiry by the Senate Ethics Commission last year, however.
The first, a flight from south Florida to the Dominican Republic and back, reportedly occurred from Aug. 6 to Aug. 9, 2010. The second, from New Jersey to the Dominican Republic and back, occurred from Sept. 3 to Sept. 6, roughly three months after the donation to the Taveras camp.
Melgen’s 2010 donation to Taveras was not the only time he contributed to the then mayoral candidate.
On September 9, 2000, a donor listed as Dr. Salomon Melgen, of the same address listed in 2010, reportedly gave the max $1,000 donation to the Angel Taveras’ for Congress Committee. Melgen also gave $1,000 donations that year to The Bill Nelson for U.S. Senate campaign and for Gore 2000 Inc.