Despite having moved to the United States in 1979, Melgen has maintained close ties to his home country. Neighbors say he spends most weekends in the Dominican Republic, either in Santo Domingo or the southeastern province of La Romana.
In the capital, Melgen’s home is in a posh apartment building in the Piantini neighborhood. Melgen owns the eighth floor. His sister-in-law owns the ninth. An employee at the building said Melgen usually comes to Santo Domingo with his wife and two children. Two different neighbors described the family as “private,” and said they rarely entertain guests at the apartment.
The entertaining takes place at Casa de Campo, an exclusive resort on the southeast coast where the most modest homes sell for millions of dollars. Melgen owns a villa there, which abuts a sweeping golf course and is partly surrounded by a privacy wall.
A Casa de Campo security guard said Melgen’s villa is often the scene of lavish parties with celebrity attendees. The guard couldn’t identify any of the regular guests, however, saying they pull up in SUVs with tinted windows and slip into the house.
It was a different scene at the home two days after federal investigators raided Melgen’s clinic in West Palm Beach. On that afternoon, the Casa de Campo villa stood empty. Black shades were drawn over the windows. There were no cars in the driveway. Neighbors declined to come to the door when a reporter rang the bell. Later, a trio of men strolling through the Casa de Campo marina said they hadn’t seen Melgen in weeks. They declined to answer any questions.
Visitors to the resort, however, seemed curious about the Dominican doctor caught up in the Menendez scandal. At La Casita, a Casa de Campo bar and restaurant, U.S. tourists pondered what could have happened at Melgen’s villa, and whether it would end the career of a U.S. senator.
Semán remained confident his cousin’s name would be cleared. “What you’ll be able to find about Salomon, is that he’s only done good here,” he said.
Miami Herald staff writer Marc Caputo and special correspondent Ezra Fieser contributed to this report.