HACKENSACK, N.J, — A local citizen who lives near Teterboro airport in northern New Jersey said he saw Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez and his friend Democratic Party mega-donor Dr. Salomon Melgen brunching together on Easter Sunday in 2012.
The citizen, who is active in local politics and a regular patron of the restaurant, told Breitbart News he saw Menendez and Melgen dining together at Arena Diner between shortly before noon and 12:15 p.m. on Easter Sunday last year, April 8, 2012. That is the timeframe in which Melgen’s plane refueled at Teterboro before flying directly to the Dominican Republic.
Menendez and his staff have denied he was on any flights on Melgen’s plane outside of three flights in 2010. If he was on this flight, as it appears he was, it means he will have misled the American people. This new eyewitness evidence solidifies previous reports that Menendez was likely on that flight.
The source had previously recognized Menendez, and shown a photograph of Melgen at a meeting inside the diner with this reporter, he said: “Yes, that’s him. Undeniably.”
Menendez and Melgen allegedly sat in a booth in the corner of one section of the Arena Diner restaurant right near the front. The source said Menendez faced toward the door, and Melgen faced inward toward the rest of the restaurant. Menendez had no security detail or staff with him at the diner.
The restaurant is split into three sections. The first section patrons see walking through the front door is three rows of booths. An aisle splits the first two rows, one of which is up against a wall of windows.
The second restaurant section is a typical classic diner bar, with stools on which patrons can eat, and drink coffee. An aisle slightly wider than the one splitting the first two rows of booths splits this bar from the third booth row of the first section.
The third section of the diner is much more like a modern bar and grill restaurant, adorned with paintings, decorative photos and knick-knacks along with fancier tables than the booths on the other side.
Menendez’s and Melgen’s booth that Sunday was the front-most one closest to a cash register and counter that the diner leaves up near the front door solely for display purposes. It was in that third row of booths.
That display counter sports a silvery mirror-like background and personal photographs of the owner and his family line shelves, along with other antiquated trinkets. Chalky mints sit in a bowl on the countertop for patrons to freshen their breath on the way out.
The slightly more than one-mile ride over to the Arena Diner from Teterboro airport could not be more than 15 minutes. The diner’s owner, Gus Vetsas, is a donor to Menendez’s political campaigns. Federal Election Commission records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics show Vetsas has given $1,500 to Menendez’s Senate campaigns over the years.
The menu is one of a typical diner, with lots to choose from and many breakfast items. Coffee and tea are staples for most guests.
The local citizen requested anonymity from Breitbart News because he and his family worry that powerful political figures connected to Menendez, and potentially Menendez himself, may retaliate against him or his family.
The man has good reason to be afraid of the powerful, and massively corrupt, New Jersey Democrats. If his account is accurate, Menendez will likely not be able to defend himself anymore.
That is because this eyewitness’s account would prove Menendez was with Melgen a little more than a mile from Teterboro airport and would strongly suggest Menendez was on Melgen’s plane at least one more time than he’s previously admitted.
Menendez and his staff have admitted to three flights aboard Melgen’s plane, all to the Dominican Republic. Menendez and his staff have stated unequivocally that the senator was only on that plane three times, and all were in 2010. “Senator Menendez has traveled on Dr. Melgen’s plane on three occasions, all of which have been paid for and reported appropriately,” his staff said in a statement when he admitted the original wrongdoing.
One such flight was paid for by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which Menendez chaired in 2010. The other two went unaccounted for until this reporter broke the scandal while writing for The Daily Caller before the election.
Two Dominican Republic prostitutes claim they were underpaid to have sex with Menendez around Easter-time last year. After this reporter broke those allegations, local New Jersey Republicans filed an official complain with the Senate Ethics Committee. The Ethics Committee’s investigation is currently ongoing.
In that ethics complaint were allegations that Menendez illicitly accepted private jet travel from Melgen on four occasions. In early 2013 almost three months after the story first broke and the ethics committee complaint was filed, Menendez admitted to the first two flights from 2010. In doing so, he and his staff claimed the failure to report the flights as gifts to the Senate Ethics Committee or reimburse Melgen for them for three years was an oversight. He cut Melgen a check from his personal bank account for $58,500–as much as 87 percent of his entire personal wealth–in January. It is unclear whether Menendez has enough money to pay for any more flights or expenses related to these Dominican trips.
In addition, Menendez’s and Melgen’s friend–powerful Dominican politician Vinicio Castillo Seman–recently slipped up and admitted the senator was in the Dominican Republic on Easter Sunday in 2012, at the scene of where the original alleged wrongdoing took place. “I’ve known Menendez as a friend and of my cousin Salomon Melgen,” Castillo said while attempting to defend Menendez amid the scandalous allegations that currently plague him. “No one has come forward on the allegations and evil accusations, we spend every Easter together in Casa de Campo.”
Though it is now known Menendez spent Easter in Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic with Melgen and Castillo, it is unclear how he got there. He and his staff have continually refused to answer that question.
But it has appeared for a long time that Menendez got there via Melgen’s plane. Flight path data obtained by Breitbart News and published in early February shows Melgen’s plane flew from Melgen’s home city West Palm Beach, Florida, to Teterboro, New Jersey, on Easter Sunday morning. It stayed there at Teterboro from its landing at 11:30 a.m. until taking off to head straight to the Dominican Republic at 12:50 p.m.
It is during this timeframe Melgen’s plane was on the ground in New Jersey, refueling and preparing for the flight to the Dominican Republic, that Breitbart News’ eyewitness in the area said he saw Menendez and Melgen brunching together at Arena Diner a mile or so away from the airport.
According to the eyewitness, the two Democratic politicos were still at the diner when he left around 12:15 p.m. on Easter Sunday, but were getting close to wrapping up their meal.
Menendez and his office continue to refuse to answer whether the senator was on that flight, or if he got to the Dominican Republic that Sunday another way.