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Fri Feb 8, 2013, 01:34 PM

Novelist Junot Diaz’s take on Casa de Campo, where Sen. Menendez vacationed

The passages are excerpted from the collection’s opening story, “The Sun, the Moon, the Stars.”

I don’t even want to tell you where we’re at. We’re in Casa de Campo. The Resort That Shame Forgot. . . . It’s the largest, wealthiest resort on the Island, which means it’s a g------ fortress, walled away from everybody else. Guachimanes and peacocks and ambitious topiaries everywhere. Advertises itself in the States as its own country, and it might as well be. Has its own airport, thirty-six holes of golf, beaches so white they ache to be trampled, and the only Island Dominicans you’re guaranteed to see are either caked up or changing your sheets. Let’s just say my abuelo has never been here, and neither has yours. This is where the Garcías and the Colóns come to relax after a long month of oppressing the masses, where the tutumpotes can trade tips with their colleagues from abroad. Chill here too long and you’ll be sure to have your ghetto pass revoked, no questions asked. . . .

Casa de Campo has got beaches the way the rest of the island has got problems. These, though, have no merengue, no little kids, nobody trying to sell you chicharrones, and there’s a massive melanin deficit in evidence. Every fifty feet there’s at least one Eurof--- beached out on a towel like some scary pale monster that the sea’s vomited up. They look like philosophy professors, like budget Foucaults, and too many of them are in the company of a . . . Dominican girl. I mean it, these girls can’t be no more than sixteen, look puro ingenio to me. You can tell by their inability to communicate that these two didn’t meet back in their Left Bank days.


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Reply Novelist Junot Diaz’s take on Casa de Campo, where Sen. Menendez vacationed (Original post)
flamingdem Feb 2013 OP
MADem Feb 2013 #1
flamingdem Feb 2013 #2
MADem Feb 2013 #3

Response to flamingdem (Original post)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 01:56 PM

1. I sometimes wonder if Chris Christie doesn't have his eye on Menendez's seat, and not the Presidency

--this thing keeps simmering like a pot on the back of the stove.

This could be a problem for him: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/casa-de-campo-exclusive-dominican-resort-is-at-the-center-of-menendez-allegations/2013/02/06/7165ecac-7077-11e2-a050-b83a7b35c4b5_story.html

Casa de Campo’s cloistered mystique adds a measure of intrigue to the scandal that’s complicating life for Sen. Robert Menendez, the New Jersey Democrat and newly minted chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Menendez got the VIP treatment, winging down to Casa de Campo a couple of times in 2010 on the private jet of a buddy and campaign contributor, Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen, who owns a villa here.

Then — whoops — early last month, Menendez forked over $58,500 to cover those flights, because lawmakers aren’t supposed to accept those sorts of freebies. Then — even less conveniently — later in January the FBI raided Melgen’s West Palm Beach office, although it’s not clear what triggered the investigation; a lawyer for Melgen has said law enforcement officials have not clued in his client, either.

Now Menendez is getting questions about his role in pushing for the Dominican Republic to honor a lucrative port security contract awarded to a company with ties to Melgen. Rivals were pretty cranky about the deal since, after all, Melgen is known more as a rich doctor than a security expert.

On top of all that, Menendez has denied allegations that he cavorted with prostitutes, including an underage hooker, during his Casa de Campo jaunts, suggestions that the senator has vigorously denounced as “smears.” (The allegations — made by an anonymous whistleblower and first publicized on a conservative Web site — have not been verified independently.)

And his dentist/travel buddy/benefactor has been raided by the FBI--the hook is suspected medicare fraud:


Agents hauled away boxes and bags of evidence from the medical-office complex of Dr. Salomon Melgen, a contributor to Menendez and other prominent politicians, to start hauling away potential evidence in several vans.

On Wednesday, the FBI agents were joined by an inspector from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, indicating the search-and-seizure raid has ties to a possible Medicare fraud inquiry. Melgen has also been the subject of a parallel federal investigation into his relationship with Menendez, D-N.J., who was first accused of improprieties in the conservative Daily Caller website.

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Response to MADem (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 02:31 PM

2. Well the GOP is after him but it doesn't seem like they have a smoking gun

However Menendez may lose the gavel in his committee if questions continue.

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Response to flamingdem (Reply #2)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 02:33 PM

3. He could be primaried down the line, and if not, challenged by a "moderate" Republican or an (cough)

Independent with wingnuttish backing...

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