Linda Sweeney, chair of The Cancer Center for Kids at Winthrop University Hospital, said her charity has raised nearly $350,000 annually at Oheka Castle. She said Melius has given the organization a generous break on the cost to rent the venue.
Melius and his wife, Pamela, have donated $817,053 to political candidates of various parties since 1999, according to state elections records.
Last year, he became embroiled in a controversy that resulted in the resignation of then-Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Dale.
The district attorney found that Dale had instructed officers to arrest a 29-year-old Roosevelt man, who had testified that he had been paid to collect signatures for a third-party candidate. Melius, a supporter of the third-party candidate, then contacted Dale seeking to have the young man investigated. The young man was arrested on an outstanding warrant while riding a county bus on Oct. 5.
The Nassau County district attorney found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing but raised questions about the ethics of Dale's actions, leading to his resignation.
Former state Democratic Party chairman Jay Jacobs, who still runs the party's Nassau County organization, has been a longtime Melius critic. He questioned whether the district attorney had done enough to investigate the Dale case and was quoted in a Newsday story last year saying, "It often seems to me that all things evil in Nassau County somehow go through Oheka Castle."
He said Tuesday that any disputes with Melius are based on politics and said he was sorry to hear of the shooting.
"That comment was in reference to the political world," he said. "I know him personally. I have been to Oheka Castle and I like him and have enjoyed his company. But we have fundamental disagreements over the way politics should be conducted."
Associated Press researcher Jennifer Farrar in New York contributed to this report.