Senator Bob Menéndez, caught red-handed

Jean-Guy Allard 

DEMOCRATIC Senator Robert “Bob” Menendez, one of the most steadfast representatives of the Cuban-American mafia in Congress, was caught red-handed: it has just been revealed that he intervened with the Federal Reserve for a failing bank whose top executives are major contributors to his campaign fund.

Your browser may not support display of this image. It had to happen, sooner or later. Menendez has a long history of controversial relationships. When he was mayor of Union City, New Jersey, from 1986 until his election to the Senate, that mafia city was confirmed more than ever to be a paradise of illegal gambling, extortion, fraud, and prostitution.

This time, Menendez illegally tried to save his banking buddies from inevitable bankruptcy by asking federal regulators to approve the sale of First BankAmericano of Elizabeth, New Jersey. The bank was three days away from failing, and if its acquisition had been approved, his friends would have saved their investments.

In a letter obtained and published last week by the Wall Street Journal newspaper, Menendez wrote a letter to Federal Reserve Bank chairman Ben Bernanke in July 2009, pressuring him to approve the sale of First BankAmericano to JJR Bank Holding Co. of Brick, New Jersey.

Bernanke did not follow the corrupt senator’s recommendation and First BankAmericano was closed down on July 31.

Washington observers qualified Menendez’ opportunistic gesture as “scandalous” and “grotesque” in trying to influence an administrative process for political motivations at a time when the country is in the midst of a deep economic crisis marked by record unemployment.

In its report, the Wall Street Journal identifies Menendez’ two associates as Joseph Ginarte, chairman of First BankAmericano and a lawyer who contributed $30,000 to the senator’s campaign fund, and Raymond Lesniak, a New Jersey state senator whose generosity toward Menendez is well-known. In 2006, Lesniak organized a fundraiser at his home for Menendez featuring former president William Clinton.

Even worse, Menendez is a member of the Senate Banking Committee, and is leading the Democratic Party’s Senate reelection campaign, the Wall Street Journal article noted.

As mayor of Union City, Menendez was compared to mafia ringleader Meyer Lansky. There, in his own way, he created an enclave for crime where every official – including in the police – had his price.

In April 2006, Menendez appeared in Geneva to attack Cuba before the Human Rights Commission with his personal assistant, José Manuel Alvarez, whose membership in the terrorist organization Abdala – which he helped found – is notorious, as is his role in organizing the assassination of Cuban diplomat Félix García, shot down in New York by the Omega 7 hired killer, Pedro Remón.

Menendez’s longstanding association with this mafia is linked with that of his colleague, Albio Sires, who was mayor of the neighboring city of West New York, New Jersey. Sires was also notorious for his relations with the Cuban-American underworld that developed an extensive network of illegal gambling and prostitution in that location.

Translated by Granma International  


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