Melius would soon sell Oheka for a recorded price that was 15 times higher than what he bought it for — and get to live there as caretaker to boot. The weddings, parties and other events were legal, he insisted, because they were private affairs, including the flea markets and Debbie Gibson concert. Goldstein took note of neighborhood concerns and acknowledged them in the restrictions that accompanied the new zoning category. Campaign donations by Melius, family and his companies. Between 1994 and 1996, inspectors repeatedly found Melius violating zoning restrictions and codes. Copyright © var currentYear = new Date().getFullYear();document.write(currentYear); Newsday. Thirty-three people died. “All that my dad knew was that this client was extremely wealthy and he wanted castles,” Okada’s son, Christopher, recalled. Please enable notifications or using normal browsing mode. Melius became Huntington Councilman Mark Cuthbertson’s biggest donor, giving him at least $31,300, based on campaign records. Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone at Oheka Castle in July 2008. Melius was leasing the castle, but its ownership was murky and being contested. During a six-month stretch in 1996, 39 weddings and a Sweet 16 party were scheduled, according to documents filed with the court. Photo credit: Newsday / David L. Pokress, Gary Melius at Oheka Castle in February 1989. The town went back to court; in July 1996, another judge, Suffolk Supreme Court Justice Howard Berler, found Melius had failed to uphold the earlier “unambiguous” court order. In 2003, it allowed construction of a temporary banquet facility. He was turned down. Overview: Get a snapshot of our 7-part series. Goldstein also knew more about the town zoning code than anyone else because he had written it. The final proposal allowed for the hosting of only one event at a time, with no more than 220 guests. WEDDING CEREMONIES. Getty Images bietet exklusive rights-ready und erstklassige lizenzfreie analoge, HD- und 4K-Videos in höchster Qualität. We trust him.”. Okada’s mysterious client turned out to be one of Japan’s most reviled figures. Among the opponents was Dunn, the target of Melius’ $10 million suit. “Nothing.”. “I called four lawyers, and nobody knew this, so how the heck am I supposed to know? Petrone said that while he couldn’t remember specifics, the changes had community support. His condo plan collapsed a few years later, though, along with the real estate and stock markets. Photo credit: Newsday / David L. Pokress. Desktop notifications are on   | Turn off. Celebrity weddings hit the entertainment pages regularly. In the end, the board voted unanimously to approve the new zoning category that allowed commercial use of Oheka, a little more than a year after the zoning board had rejected Melius’ last attempt. They collected 300 signatures on a petition against his plans and hired an attorney, John Flanagan, currently the Republican majority leader of the State Senate, to fight him. His neighbors, he said, told the board, “Give him what he wants. He probably contributed to all the politicians on Long Island.”. Advertise with Newsday | She abstained from voting on Oheka matters after that. Help. Several years earlier, Melius had named Schaffer, a close friend, the castle’s curator. As such, Melius … View video Filed under gary melius , long island , oheka castle , shootings , 2/25/16 By now, he had demonstrated that he was a bona fide political player. Gary Melius, the politically connected owner of Oheka Castle in Huntington, was shot and wounded at the sprawling Gold Coast estate on Monday, Suffolk County police said. In the last dozen years, Melius, his former son-in-law and his companies gave $33,742 to Frank Petrone, according to records. He began buying castles and other luxury residences in Europe and the United States, according to court testimony from a daughter, Kiiko Nakahara. “I don’t understand how property taxes remain in arrears, yet this board continues to entertain this application. That description fit only Oheka. Reprints & permissions | The libel suit against Dunn, who declined to be interviewed for this story, was eventually settled. This is the 2nd biggest private mansion in the USA. In constructing the home, two years were s… Melius also hosted parties at Oheka for Petrone, who was the Huntington supervisor for 24 years. Oheka Castle owner Gary Melius was shot in the head by a masked gunman Feb. 24, 2014 as he sat in his car at the luxury hotel. “I don’t understand how zoning codes and fire codes and safety laws go completely unchecked,” Dunn said. Gary is a very charitable man; people do not realize this. Then in 1993, Yokoi’s son-in-law, Jean-Paul Renoir, who was married to Nakahara, agreed to another deal, in which Melius leased back Oheka for $500,000 a year, records show, which apparently covered property taxes, maintenance and other operating expenses. Gary Melius sells Oheka to a Japanese billionaire, then buys it back. He did not seek a seventh term last year. Melius repurchased the castle from Yokoi’s family during a booming real estate market in 2003. Business Details. Goldstein called the category a “historic overlay district.” In Huntington, as in many areas, there is a firm prohibition against what is known as “spot zoning” — a zoning designation that applies to only one property. For a private residence, though, Oheka was quite busy. The castle was held either by Yokoi, the billionaire who served 2 years in a Japanese prison in the mid-1990s after the calamitous Tokyo hotel fire, or by his daughter, Nakahara, and her husband, Renoir, who had each done prison time during a family battle over Yokoi’s vast real estate holdings in Europe and the United States. She asked why they would allow him to operate a large business in a residential neighborhood, disrupting the quiet life she and her neighbors had once enjoyed. They are incomplete because local campaign records are available only as far back as 2006 and state and federal records go back only to the 1980s. She was deeply involved in creating Friends of Oheka and later became its board president. Long Island developer Gary Melius bought it in 1984 and turned it into a luxury hotel and wedding/event space. Photo credit: All Island Aerial / Kevin P. Coughlin. If you are planning to arrange a weeding program in Oheka Castle, you have to pay around $7000 to $12000 for location. Israel did not respond to requests for an interview and it’s unknown if the wedding was discounted, a favor Melius frequently offered to friends and political allies. Recommended reading You might be using private browsing or have notifications blocked. To reflect Kahn's traditional style, the current furnishings are a mix of antique and reproductions … None of this seems to matter.”. Gary Melius. Ted Owens, then the president of Friends of Oheka, told the board that permitting “some limited commercial use” was essential to the castle’s survival. Gary Melius at Oheka Castle in October 1995. Town board members who had long benefited from his political contributions and friendship would eventually allow commercial use, despite his history of violating town codes and judicial orders, and not paying his taxes. Because she was a town attorney, Schaffer said at the meeting that it would be “totally inappropriate for me to comment.” She then presented a slideshow on the castle’s history. While Oheka was the only property affected, the “overlay district” did not directly refer to Oheka. But in Huntington, Melius was playing on his home field and determined to find a way to operate Oheka commercially. Melius called in specialists to restore it and preserve its authenticity. Residents of Oheka’s quiet upscale neighborhood, still upset by traffic, noise and previous battles with Melius, had mobilized against him. Lawrence Cregan, who was then town attorney, said he felt compelled to take action against Oheka. She said that during the 1980s, she took photos of European châteaux and grand estates and sent them to Yokoi for inspection. Finden Sie professionelle Videos zum Thema Oheka Castle sowie B-Roll-Filmmaterial, das Sie für die Nutzung in Film, Fernsehen, Werbefilm sowie für die Unternehmenskommunikation lizenzieren können. Oheka Castle before restoration in the 1980s (courtesy) Because Kahn had insisted on fireproofing the castle, the structure managed to survive the arson attempts. But on the Gold Coast of Long Island there was Oheka Castle, and Gary Melius owned it. The Huntington estate turned hotel was built between 1914 and 1919 by Otto Herman Kahn (the estate name is drawn from the first two letters if his names). A day after a 1994 “gala evening of tribute” for Frank Grimes, then the Huntington Democratic Party leader, a fire inspector warned Melius in writing to stop using Oheka as “a place of public assembly” until he obtained the required license. 2005, the board ’ s family during a booming real estate broker, received from Japan area. ” real! 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