Shoe designer Steve Madden reveals what prison was really like

Steve Madden, a designer shoe fraud, was sentenced to 31 months in federal prison at Eglin Camp Prison in Florida for his personal involvement in stock fraud. The situation became even worse for him in 2003 when his prison sentence was extended to 13 months.

Once again, money interfered, the exact factor that landed him in prison, had secured him an eight-day leave and reduced his sentence by 18 months due to good behavior, as well as six months in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program.

I told The Post Madden, the child was named Belly. He would help me out and cook for me. He didn’t have any money to buy little things or detergent, soap. So, my assistant sent him $500. Somebody told me that you are not allowed to do that.

They sent me to another prison, which felt even more prison-like. It was the worst moment of my life. He lost his case with his furlough reduced. He said that the defense attorney and prosecutor were playing with the prison guards. The warden held a mock “trial” for his offense. Madden lost everything all over again in a matter of seconds.

In his new memoir, Madden writes about his experience of how the industry disrupted Cobbler: “Tuesday out), (Radius Books) Ever Than Stronger Back Came & Grace from Fell Industry”.

Upon awakening, he describes the sensation of a gentle mist enveloping his face as he recounts his initial experience in a detention center during his transfer from Elgin to the significantly more severe Coleman Federal Correctional Complex. “It was all urine, not water,” he notes.

Known for his brash personality, Madden’s book delves into the lowest points of his addiction to Quaaludes and his timorous side, showing more intensity on Long Island, where he was imprisoned and involved in financial misdoings.

The youngest of three boys, he struggled in high school, preferring his job at a shoe store in Cederhurst over his failed attempt at college. His budding obsession was derailed, but it was an anomaly considering his mixed heritage – his mother, a Jewish homemaker, and his father, an Irish Catholic who ran a textile factory.

“It was important that everything was prepared. It wouldn’t be a problem if I had an empty stomach and took pills: I learned a trick like a drug addict. He writes about his time at the University of Miami, where I first fell in love with Quaaludes.”

After his father yanked him out of school, he was kicked out of the management at his parents’ building in wild New York.

“I was out late every evening and arrived home intoxicated, clumsily moving around and colliding with furniture in the lobby,” he expresses.

The Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in Coleman, Fla.
The Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in Coleman, Fla.AP

At various establishments such as clubs and restaurants, and even while in the company of women, he would lose consciousness. Upon awakening in the hallway of his recently acquired apartment, he found himself unclothed — awkwardly making his way down to the lobby while holding onto his private parts, seeking assistance.

Establishing a footwear dominion, Madden was – during daylight hours, at least — in spite of his excessive drinking episodes. From the back of his vehicle, he marketed his creations to retailers and large retail establishments and collaborated with the proprietors of a traditional shoe manufacturing plant in the urban area. Additionally, as a source of creative motivation, he regularly approached women on the street and purchased shoes directly from them.

“I assure you, I am not a weirdo,” he would state.

In the early ’90s, when Danny Porush, a childhood friend of Jordan Belfort, later known as the Wolf of Wall Street, ran the brokerage firm Oakmont Stratton, he offered to help Madden, a wealthy designer, raise capital for his multi-million dollar IPO.

“I was trading and selling [stocks] right alongside them,” Madden expresses. “He emerged as one of the most impactful individuals in my life … Jordan was unlike anyone else I have ever encountered before or since.”

Madden with his team in the factory in the early 2000s.
Madden with his team in the factory in the early 2000s.

Madden spent a total of 31 months in prison, whereas Belfort ended up serving only 22 months for his fraudulent activities. Madden remained loyal to Belfort, providing him access to his company’s office and choosing not to wear a recording device or betray him to the authorities when they began investigating Madden.

He said that he is once again reimagining the end of his creative company for an audience that wants comfy clogs and slippers, shifting his business online to fulfill their orders. As a divorced father of three, he spends time with his children in his locked-down apartment on 57th Street. He has struggled through the COVID-19 pandemic, including Zoom meetings, just like most fashion retailers. He is still the chief design and creative officer of his company, and he was able to reclaim his business after his time in prison.

Madden acknowledges that despite his commitment to the paper, he admits that he is not entirely comfortable with the excessive public consumption of his stories.

Madden expressed, “If I don’t know now that I want to be known, ‘I enjoy, I’m currently in a different environment due to the pandemic. However, there, I just wanted to start writing. At that time, I wanted to reveal everything. It’s extremely vulnerable. It’s completely exposed. I just wanted to get it all out there.’ Madden stated, “Now he is recording the audio book, as he sinks into his own words. I do wish I had written it.”