Oheka Castle Owner Leaves Hospital 8 Days After Shooting
MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – The owner of Long Island’s Oheka Castle has been released from a hospital eight days after being shot in the head.
Gary Melius, 69, was released on Tuesday, North Shore University Hospital spokeswoman Michelle Pinto said. He underwent successful eye surgery when he was first rushed to the hospital, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported.
Melius was getting into his car at the valet area of the Gold Coast estate when he was shot at point-blank range in the head around 12:30 p.m. last Monday.
Police have released few details about the shooting.
“It is [with] great relief that I can report that I have been able to return home today,” Melius said in a statement. “At this point it is now about getting my strength back and offering whatever assistance I can to the investigators seeking the person or persons who did this.”
“On a personal note of reflection; it is not about the size of your home or in my case, your castle, but about the number of friends you have in your life every day and the time you spend with your family. And in that regard, I am truly blessed to be a very lucky man,” he added.
Melius thanked his doctors and medical team that helped treat him after the shooting.
Surveillance video shows a black sedan followed by a Jeep Cherokee pulling into a valet area outside of the Huntington estate. A masked gunman is seen exiting the Jeep and firing the first shot into the driver’s side window of a Mercedes, striking Melius. The weapon then appears to malfunction.
Police said at least three shots were fired before the shooter and the other vehicle fled the scene.
Sources told Newsday the second vehicle apparently served as the lookout. Neither vehicle appeared to have license plates, the sources told Newsday.
A police spokeswoman said Tuesday she had no updates on the investigation.
Police said the shooting was targeted.
Melius is a political patron of both sides of the aisle and is active with his wife in charity work.
He and his wife live in the French-style chateau with their Labrador, Otto. The dog is named after philanthropist and industrialist Otto Kahn, who built the chateau in the Gatsby era of the roaring 1920s. Oheka Castle claims to be the second largest private residence ever built in America.
Between frequent wedding parties and charity events, Oheka Castle is known as a hangout of power brokers of all political persuasions, from former U.S. Sen. Alfonse D’Amato (R-N.Y.) and current Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) to former U.S. Rep. and mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner.
The castle is, in fact, where Weiner and Huma Abedin married in July 2010.
From his working class roots, Melius made shrewd investments just before the real estate boom of the 1980s, allowing him to buy Oheka Castle — then in a state of much disrepair. He sold it to a Japanese businessman for $22 million, then bought it back again, regaining full ownership 10 years ago.
It has now been turned into a full-service event hall — attracting guests from around the world.
Melius recently bragged he has poured $40 million into the 23-acre plot – hosting famous cigar-filled poker games and Super Bowl parties, where he recently served top-shelf liquor alongside White Castle hamburgers.
In recent years, Oheka has faced financial struggles.
After defaulting on a loan a year ago, Melius negotiated a mortgage modification in August, according to public records.
The investigation is ongoing. Police have previously said they were looking into Melius’ personal and professional dealings as part of the investigation.
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