Ex-IMF chief is released
With a $6 million bail package, he's out. But housing plans change as the neighbors balk.
NEW YORK - Dominique Strauss-Kahn is out of jail, but instead of living under house arrest in a ritzy Manhattan apartment building that his wife had secured for him, the embattled former head of the International Monetary Fund will stay downtown while he faces charges of sexually assaulting a chambermaid.
Neighbors on the Upper East Side did not want Strauss-Kahn in the building, so he will stay temporarily at a corporate suite near the World Trade Center site owned by the security company he has hired, at $7,000 a day, to guard him.
Strauss-Kahn's wife, Anne Sinclair, had rented an apartment in the Bristol Plaza on East 65th Street. The plan fell through after it became apparent that her husband was the wealthy Frenchman who became a criminal defendant this week.
"Nobody wanted a swarm of television crews and tourists on the block the way they were for Bernie Madoff," said Joan Silverman, referring to the shamed financier who lived under house arrest not far away in his penthouse on East 64th Street before he went to prison.
Silverman owns a shoe store a block from where Madoff lived and an apartment a block from the Bristol. "When I saw all the cameras and the reporters near my apartment this morning, I thought to myself, 'Oy veh, here we go again.' "
Tenants reportedly complained to the building's management that Strauss-Kahn would be a nuisance.
State Supreme Court Judge Michael Obus signed off Friday on a $6 million bail package that paved the way for Strauss-Kahn to leave jail as long as he wore an electronic monitoring device, remained under constant guard, regularly checked in with prosecutors, and showed up for all his court dates. He left the Rikers Island jail late Friday afternoon.
Prosecutors opposed the bail, insisting Strauss-Kahn had the wealth and connections to elude authorities and return to France, which is not obligated to extradite its citizens to the United States. Strauss-Kahn is a prominent Socialist who was believed to have the best shot at beating French President Nicolas Sarkozy in next year's election.
Strauss-Kahn, 62, was arrested last Saturday after he allegedly attacked and attempted to rape a chambermaid. A grand jury voted to charge him on seven counts involving sexual assault. His attorneys have denied the charges.
Defense attorney William Taylor said Friday he hoped the media would allow Strauss-Kahn his privacy.
"I don't care about hiding where he stays," Taylor said. "We're happy to have him stay anywhere. But we've asked that the media respect the privacy of the residents, the home, and the feelings of the family that deserve some protection, that deserve some time together."