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Meet Dominique Strauss-Kahn's Bail Bondsman, Ira Judelson

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I.M. EFFED
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After Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director -- or, "Chief," as most call him -- of the International Monetary Fund (or, the "IMF," as most call it) was arrested for allegedly raping a hotel maid, Ira Judelson stepped in to bail out the man who bailed out Greece.

Judelson, of Ira Judelson Bail Bonds, has sprung such bold-faced names as rappers Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Ja Rule and DMX, wayward Giants receiver Plaxico Burress, and Robert Joel Halderman, the guy who tried to extort two million bucks from David Letterman.



You might think the guy in charge of the IMF and a (formerly) potential French presidential candidate would have some European-ish, Calvados drinking-type who discreetly steps away from a baccarat table somewhere in Monte Carlo to quietly arrange a bail package with a judge he knows from summers in Gstaad. But not DKS. No, he is, as Us Weekly would say, "just like us!"



Yep, that's DSK's bail bondsman, right between the Halal Meat Market and the Soul Spot restaurant on the right. And, conveniently enough, directly across the street from the Brooklyn Detention Complex (although DSK is biding his time in upper-crustier Manhattan, where Judelson has another office, as well as one in Queens):



While Strauss-Kahn was waiting to be arraigned in Manhattan criminal court alongside subway fare beaters, poor bastards arrested for marijuana possession, and at least one fried chicken delivery man accused of dealing drugs, Judelson told the New York Times -- which ran a fascinating piece about him last year -- that "a comprehensive bail package would establish specifics of where Mr. Strauss-Kahn would stay as the case proceeded" and that "the bail amount could be in the millions of dollars."

The September 2010 Times article, titled "Ira Judelson, Bail Bondsman to the Stars," describes the bail process:

Mr. Judelson, like most bail bondsmen in New York, is essentially an insurance agent. When a judge sets bail, a defendant who does not have enough cash to cover it can instead pay a bondsman 6 to 10 percent of the bail, plus some auxiliary fees. Usually, the bondsman will require collateral — 40 percent of the bail in cash, perhaps, or property worth at least as much as the whole amount — and sometimes is granted the right to garnish the wages of a relative or friend.

In turn, the bondsman submits a contract to the court agreeing to pay the bail if the defendant fails to show up. Those contracts are typically backed by insurance companies that can provide quick access to capital.

“A lawyer can’t get you out of jail; only a bondsman can get you out,” said Mr. Judelson, 44, who credits years of strategic schmoozing of high-priced lawyers with helping him snag many of the city’s celebrity defendants. “I don’t rule the courthouse. I don’t make the rules in the courthouse. But to help get the defendant out of incarceration, I do hold some sort of strength.”

From information posted on the Ira Judelson Bail Bonds website, DSK could expect "Same Day Service," and the dual assurance that "You will be met by a Quality Staff," and "No Bond too little or Too High!!!"

As for acceptable forms of collateral, Judelson accepts:

* Cash (Determined on Bail Amount)
* Property (Deed to Home, Title Search and Appraisal)
* Business (Business Certificate, Financial Statement and Current Bank Statement)
* CD Account(s)
* Pass Book Savings
* Other forms may be discussed with Bondsman

The Following is Necessary:

* State ID with Picture
* Proof of Employment, 2 Recent Pay Stubs or Current Tax Returns
* Proof of Residence, Phone Bill, Gas/Electric Bill etc.

NYS Bondsman by law, may not accept the following:

* Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
* Public Assistance (Welfare)
* Alimony or Child Support
* Unemployment Benefits
* Disability Benefits
* Workers Compensation Benefits
* Public or Private Pensions
* Veterans Benefits

So, how does he really do it?

According to the Times, when a mix-up at the courthouse required Plaxico Burress to remain in custody, Ben Brafman contacted Mr. Judelson and asked, "Ira, what can we do?"

Here's what Ira did:

Mr. Judelson asked the court officers — some of whom he plays basketball with — to hold Mr. Burress in the back rather than place him in the queue for Rikers Island. He then discussed collateral with Mr. Burress’s wife, Tiffany, and got Mr. Burress’s agent to fax a deed, mortgage statement and assessment for the couple’s home. Once the paperwork was signed, Mr. Judelson assured the judge that he was comfortable taking on the risk of the bond, and by afternoon Mr. Burress was free.

Unlike Plaxico Burress, Dominique Strauss-Kahn was ordered held without bail by Judge Melissa Jackson.

"When I hear that your client was at JFK airport about to board a flight that raises some concerns," she told Strauss-Kahn's lead attorney, estimable NYC defense lawyer Benjamin Brafman, who as Judelson told me in a telephone interview, "has my number in his Rolodex."

"There are people in this building every day who get bail," Brafman responded. "We are prepared to post a million dollars in bail. It's his wife's money. She's landing on a flight at one o'clock. The money was wired from a personal account."

In the end, even Ira Judelson -- who has done the near impossible for other clients -- can't do the literally impossible. DSK was branded a flight risk (that the United States and France have no extradition treaty didn't help) and remanded to jail.

A court official told The Australian that DSK was headed for Rikers Island.

"That's where they put people who don't make bail," he said.




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