This time Menendez is alleged to have had an affair with Cecilia Reynolds, the married publisher of the Freehold based Spanish language newspaper, Nosotros, and to have used the power of his office in an attempt to thwart the federal investigation into his friend, Anibal Acovedo Vila, while Vila was the governor of Puerto Rico, according to a report in The New York Post.
Menendez and Reynolds traveled to Vila’s isolated beach retreat on Puerto Rico in 2007, according NYPost, who report they are in possession of a nude photograph of Reynolds on the beach and another of the couple dressed in shorts with Menendez wrapping his arms around her waist. The photographs and other documentation were provided to NYPost and other media outlets by an anonymous tipster who Reynolds said is a former disgruntled business partner.
Vila was under federal investigation for campaign finance violations, tax fraud and wire fraud when he hosted the romantic getaway. Menendez used his power under Senate rules to block the prosecutor, Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-Velez, from being appointed at U.S. Attorney of Puerto Rico. Rodriguez-Velez became U.S. Attorney without Senate confirmation and indicted Vila in March of 2008. He was acquitted in of all charges in March of 2009 after losing his reelection bid the prior November.
Rodriguez-Velez was appointed by President George W. Bush and continues to serve as U.S. Attorney of Puerto Rico as a hold-over in the Obama Administration.
Reynolds says she is a member of the Advisory Committee for Minority Concerns for the Monmouth County Superior Court, a member of the Monmouth County Human Relations Committee and as a trustee of the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey, according to her LinkedIn profile. She is not listed as a trustee of VNA-CJ on the organization’s website.
A federal grand jury in Miami is investigating Menendez’s official actions in advancing the business interests of his friend and benefactor, Dr. Salomon Melgen.
As he has with the Melgen scandal, Menendez characterized this latest scandal as “the same kind of questionably timed smear tactics that we’ve seen before.” in a statement to NYPost.