Dr. Salomon Melgen invested in Gaseous Fuel Systems Corp. of Weston, Fla., and joined its board of directors in early 2010, according to the company's chief executive and a former company consultant.
, as the company is known, designs, manufactures and sells products to convert diesel-fuel fleets to natural gas.
The amount of Melgen's
investment is confidential under rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission
, but a 2009 document filed with the SEC
showed the company required a minimum individual investment at that time of $51,500.
There is no evidence that Menendez
offered direct help or intervened on behalf of the company or Melgen
Instead, the connection between the two men's interests in natural gas is the latest example of the close symmetry between the senator - who recently rose to become chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee - and his
It illustrates the way Menendez's political clout has at times overlapped with Melgen's
In recent weeks, Menendez
has acknowledged other dealings with Melgen
was compelled to reimburse $58,000 for two flights aboard Melgen's private jet that he
had previously failed to report, prompting scrutiny by the Senate Ethics Committee
Menendez also acknowledged that his office had contacted U.S. health agencies in 2009 and 2012 to question their billing practices and policies amid a dispute between Melgen, an eye specialist, and federal health authorities.
FBI agents in January searched Melgen's
offices in Florida and seized files as part of a criminal investigation.
also raised concerns last year with State and Commerce Department officials about the Dominican Republic's reluctance to enforce a port security contract with a company that Melgen
has never discussed his
involvement with Gaseous Fuel Systems Corp.
with either Sen.
Menendez or his
An SEC document filed last week by GFS showed that Melgen remains on the company's board of directors.
An earlier document filed by the firm in May 2011 was the first to show Melgen
as a director.
That SEC record showed a $6 million investment in the firm from two unnamed individuals.
The company's top executive, Ken Green, said Melgen
is a key investor but has had no influence on the company's decision-making and has not attended any director's meetings since he
joined the firm.
hasn't ever been to our offices, not once," Green told the AP.
But in 2010, when Melgen
first invested in GFS
, the firm was actively considering marketing its natural gas engine devices for on-road vehicles.
has made investments in health-related companies since the 1990s, according to SEC reports, but his
GFS stake is his
only evident natural gas-related investment.
By early 2010, when Melgen formally joined GFS, Menendez had already taken on a key role in backing the natural gas bill, joining Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Republican Sen.
Both Muller and Melgen
also have fundraising ties to Menendez
gave $5,000 to Menendez' New Jersey Senate re-election campaign in 2011.
has been a staunch supporter, giving more than $14,000 directly to Menendez
since the late 1990s and, through his
eye clinic, donating $700,000 last year to a "super" political committee that supported Democratic Senate candidates.