Embattled Sen. Bob Menendez spent years helping developer and imam behind controversial ground zero mosque

Sen. Robert Menendez, who for years helped the Egyptian-American imam behind the controversial Ground Zero Mosque, was later backed by the embattled Democratic Party.

Mr. Menendez, 69, was indicted Friday along with his wife on federal bribery charges for allegedly benefiting the Egyptian government and three New Jersey businessmen.

Menendez reportedly secured more than $2 million in public cash and loans for Egyptian-American imam Faysal Abdul-Rauf starting in 1989, when the senator was mayor of Union City, New Jersey. There is.

The funds were intended to renovate three low-income apartment buildings owned by Mr. Rauch, according to . report — The building the tenant complained about remained in disrepair for years after receiving the funds.

At the same time, Rauch was dealing with developer Fred Dives. Mr. Dives, a political patron of Mr. Menendez who allegedly gifted him gold bars and cash, was named as Mr. Menendez’s co-defendant on Friday.

New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez is facing federal charges of corruption.

fred dives
New Jersey developer Fred Dives, a longtime ally of Mr. Menendez, is accused of showering the senator with cash and gold bullion for help with business deals.

Gold bars were allegedly found in Menendez's home.
Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York said they found gold bullion from Dives in the home Menendez shares with his wife, Nadine.
Stephen Hirsch

Mr. Rauch is not named in the federal indictment against Mr. Menendez and is not accused of any wrongdoing.

In 2010, when controversy erupted over Mr. Rauf’s plan to build an Islamic center and mosque two blocks from the World Trade Center site, Mr. Menendez supported the 13-story proposal.

What we know about the indictment of Bob Menendez

New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez is facing federal corruption charges in connection with a years-long scheme.

Officials said Menendez allegedly accepted bribes, including gold bars, in return for aid to the Egyptian state and three businessmen, Wael Hana, Jose Uribe and Fred Dybes.

Menendez and his wife, Nadine, were charged with accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, according to a Manhattan federal indictment.

When federal authorities searched Menendez’s Englewood Cliffs home in June 2022, they found a 2019 Mercedes C-Class, at least 13 gold bars and $566,000 in cash “stuffed in envelopes.” did. Additionally, $70,000 in cash was found in Nadine’s safe deposit box.

    Sen. Bob Menendez (DN.J.) and his wife Nadine Menendez.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and his wife Nadine Menendez have been indicted on federal corruption charges.

The Fed said Menendez also received mortgage payments and paid for missed or missed work and furniture.

This is not the first time the 69-year-old Democrat has faced federal corruption charges. In 2015, Menendez was accused of accepting gifts from Florida eye surgeon Salomon Melgen.

The “gifts” included a vacation to Paris, a flight on a private jet and a vacation at Melgen’s villa in the Dominican Republic.

“There could never have been a better moment, given the passion involved and the Republican attempts to politicize it.” Menendez said To defend the project of a former ally. “Sometimes the lead is to remind our fellow citizens what the Constitution stands for.”

    Imam Faysal Abdul Rauf
Faysal Abdul-Rauf, the Egyptian-American imam who tried to build a controversial mosque near the World Trade Center site, was a longtime business associate of Deibes and received public funds from Menendez.

Rauch’s prayer hall, school and recreation center were never built due to strong opposition from many who lost family members in the attacks on the Twin Towers. It is unclear whether Mr. Menendez personally benefited from supporting Mr. Rauch’s plan.

Calls and emails to Mr. Rauch were not returned Saturday. Menendez did not respond to requests for comment. An attorney representing Dybes ​​did not respond to a request for comment.

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