As Bob Menendez inquiry broadens, jet-setting donor covers his tracks

David Martosko Executive Editor
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Salomon Melgen, the Democratic donor whose private jet ferried Sen. Bob Menendez to the Dominican Republic on at least three occasions, has blocked public access to records of his past flights, a survey of online databases has revealed. Those records were available online to the public as recently as Monday afternoon.

The Federal Aviation Administration briefly allowed only private aircraft owners with “valid security concern[s]” to block public access to their flight records. In November 2011 the FAA began to allow jet owners to opt out of the program without specifying a reason, according to the National Business Aviation Association.

A search for the tail number of Melgen’s aircraft on flightaware.com Thursday returned a message that “This aircraft … is not available for public tracking per request from the owner/operator.”

Similarly, flightwise.com reported that “[t]his flight’s activity has been requested to be blocked by the aircraft owner/operator.”

The Wall Street Journal’s “Jet Tracker” project, however, includes data about trips logged by Melgen’s plane through the end of 2010. Melgen’s company, Vitreo-Retinal Consultants of the Palm Beaches, acquired the aircraft in mid-2009.

In addition, fltplan.com still maintains records since mid-October 2012.

Those records show Melgen’s plane traveling his well-worn route between Palm Beach, Fla. and the La Romana airport in the Dominican Republic twice in October, twice more in November, once in December and twice in January.

In addition, the Canadair Challenger 600S jet made a trip to Washington Dulles International Airport in November, during the week after Thanksgiving. The plane took off from Palm Beach International Airport on November 26 at 5:03 p.m. and returned the following day at 2:37 p.m.

Sen. Menendez has flatly denied reports that he frequented prostitutes in the Dominican Republic, but The Daily Caller  interviewed two women in November who said they were paid to have sex with him.

And a cache of documents published online in January included allegations from two Dominican women that they were underage when they began sleeping with the New Jersey Democrat in exchange for money.

Dr. Melgen did not respond to a request for comment about the nature of his trip to Washington, D.C.

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