Witness Who Helped Feds Bust Malcolm Smith Rents Private Island
NEW YORK CITY — He went from wearing a wire to working on his tan.
The shady developer who acted as a cooperating witness to help the feds take down state Sen. Malcolm Smith, Queens City Councilman Daniel Halloran and GOP borough bosses for an alleged bribery scheme just got back from a two-week vacation on a private island in the Florida Keys, sources said.
While Smith, Halloran and the rest of their allegedly crooked crew have been confined to strict bail conditions that forbid out-of-state travel, Moses "Mark" Stern kicked back with his wife and kids on Melody Key, a tony, solar-powered retreat that costs $10,000 per person for a week's stay.
The island — formerly owned by the lead singer of rock band 311 — can only be accessed by boat from the larger Summerland Key, which sits miles off the tip of Florida. Amenities include a house that accommodates up to 10 people, a hot tub, a heated pool and a catamaran.
Boaters spotted Stern having a good time on Melody's sandy beach, according to sources. One source familiar with Melody Key said Stern, 40, was a "super" guest during his stay.
"He was really nice," the source told DNAinfo New York.
A bankrupt businessman who owes $126 million to Citigroup over a failed real estate deal, Stern helped Manhattan federal prosecutors bring bribery and fraud charges against Smith, Halloran, Bronx GOP boss Joseph Savino, Queens Republican leader Vincent Tabone and two Rockland County officials.
Wearing a wire, Stern brokered backroom deals that involved $80,000 in cash payoffs and a scheme to get Smith, a Queens Democrat, on the Republican ticket for this year's mayoral race. The six defendants were arrested April 2 and were each released on $250,000 bail.
In the criminal complaint against them Stern, of Monsey, N.Y., is never identified and only referred to as the cooperating witness, or "CW." He pleaded guilty to unknown charges in March, according to the complaint.
While Stern has been having fun under the Florida sun, five other defendants have had their travel restricted to within New York. Savino can also travel to New Jersey, where his son goes to school. They also had to take drug tests and are subject to pretrial supervision by law enforcement officials.
Last week Smith and Halloran got Judge Kenneth Karas' approval to leave New York temporarily, according to court papers. The judge permitted Smith to attend his adopted granddaughter's high school graduation in College Park, Md. on May 31.
Karas also approved Halloran, who practices a pagan religion known as Theodism, to travel to Pennsylvania on May 18 and 19 and June 15 and 16 to complete a certification class in underwater diving.
Stern's lawyers did not return requests for comment.