IN a bizarre made-for-TV coincidence, the shooting of a political kingpin at his sprawling castle echoes the plot of a cable series filmed at the same magnificent estate!
High-powered developer Gary Melius survived the assassination attempt outside his Oheka Castle on the tony Gold Coast of New York’s Long Island.
Oheka Castle stands in for the home of a mysterious German businessman on the USA Network drama “Royal Pains,” and in one episode the mogul staged a fake assassination attempt at the mansion.
In real life, authorities say a masked man shot at Melius, 69, as he climbed into his Mercedes Benz around 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 24. Fortunately, the car window deflected the bullet, likely saving his life.
Melius crumpled to the ground, and the shooter fled in a Jeep Cherokee. A family member drove Melius to a nearby hospital, where he underwent surgery for a bullet wound to his forehead.
“We don’t have a motive at this point,” said Suffolk County Police Detective Sgt. John O’Sullivan. “It doesn’t appear to be an accidental shooting.”
Cops couldn’t find any witnesses and said they weren’t aware of any threats against Melius.
But sources say Melius, a political heavyweight with close ties to Democrats, Republicans and Independents, had been huddling with law enforcement authorities investigating political corruption.
“He said he had evidence of witness tampering and other crimes,” one high-ranking source revealed in a newspaper interview. “He said he had enough to put people in federal prison.”
Melius has also reportedly struggled with financial problems.
In 2012, he skipped a payment on the castle’s $27.9 million mortgage and worked to refinance the debt.
Melius first bought Oheka – originally a 443-acre complex built by financier Otto Kahn in 1919 – in 1984 for $1.5 million after it had fallen into disrepair. He poured $37 million into renovating the castle and its grounds. Eventually, he transformed it into a high-end hotel, elaborate wedding hall and his personal residence.
Oheka Castle was used as a setting for the 1941 classic “Citizen Kane” and is the second largest private home in the United States with 117 rooms and 50 baths spread over 115,000 square feet.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it’s hosted the weddings of Joey Fatone of the boy band *NSYNC and Kevin Jonas of the Jonas Brothers.
In 2010, former president Bill Clinton officiated the wedding of now-disgraced congressman Anthony Weiner to Huma Abedin there.
On TV’s “Royal Pains,” Oheka is known as Shadow Pond, the home of German billionaire Boris von Jurgens- Ratenicz, played by actor Campbell Scott. The show’s main character, concierge doctor Hank Lawson (Mark Feuerstein) lives in a guest house on the property.
As for Melius, “there’s no question he’s a wheeler-dealer,” a Long Island politico said in a newspaper interview.
“His friends and allies love him, but there are other people who don’t like him.”