From the Daily News:
Rep. Gregory Meeks has been a frequent flier to sun and sand with a little help from an unusual source - accused Ponzi schemer Allen Stanford.
The Queens Democrat, sometimes accompanied by his wife, Simone-Marie, took six trips to sun-drenched locales from Antigua to St. Lucia, courtesy of a Stanford nonprofit called the Inter-American Economic Council, records show.
Stanford, once listed by Forbes as one of the richest men in the world, was indicted in June, charged with fleecing investors in a $7 billion Ponzi scheme.
The Miami Herald Monday quoted unnamed ex-Stanford employees as saying that in 2006, Stanford asked Meeks to retaliate against a turncoat Stanford executive in Venezuela who was accusing Stanford of fraud.
The workers said Stanford asked Meeks to call Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, whom Meeks knew.
The employees say Stanford wanted Chavez to launch a criminal probe of the Venezuelan whistleblower, The Herald reported.
Meeks later traveled to Venezuela to seek Chavez's support in the war on drugs. The whistleblower was indicted a year later.
Records show Meeks has been a repeat guest of the nonprofit funded by Stanford, the Inter-American Economic Council. Barry Featherman, the group's president, did not return calls.
Since 2003, the group has spent at least $22,347 on airfare, hotels and meals for Meeks and his wife to various locales, usually for "business round tables," records show.
During a Jan. 11-15, 2006, trip to Montego Bay, Jamaica, Meeks and his wife stayed at the luxurious Ritz Carlton, running up $2,711 in lodging expenses, $5,365.46 on airfare, and $1,470 on meals. They flew in a Stanford jet.