Wine theft suspect leaps to death from 33rd floor
Man had been expected in court at time he died
NEW YORK – A former assistant to Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon apparently committed suicide Tuesday, dying around the time he was expected to plead guilty to charges of stealing $1.2 million of pricey wine from his ex-boss.
Nicolas De-Meyer jumped to his death from a window on the 33rd floor of the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan, at approximately 2:38 p.m., the New York Police Department said.
He died after sending text messages to his sister that “indicated he wanted to commit suicide,” the NYPD said early Wednesday.
The worried sister, whom police declined to identify, phoned managers at the hotel on East 76th Street and asked them to check on her brother.
Hotel security officials got into DeMeyer’s room and saw him sitting on a window ledge. He pushed himself off the ledge before the officials could stop him from jumping, police said.
De-Meyer landed on a 15th-floor balcony, and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
He had been scheduled to appear in Manhattan federal court for a 2:30 p.m. hearing in the wine theft case.
The Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office on Tuesday flagged the hearing to media reporters as a proceeding of interest, a designation that often signals a defendant is expected to enter a guilty plea. U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe scheduled the hearing after postponing a session in August so federal prosecutors and De-Meyer’s law- yer, Sabrina Shroff, could discuss a potential plea deal, court records show.
Shroff is a federal defender who was assigned to represent De-Meyer because he could not afford to hire an attorney, court records show.
The U.S. Marshals Service had been paying for De-Meyer’s trips to court hearings in New York from a family home in Ohio because he was also unable to pay those costs, the court records showed.
De-Meyer, 41, was charged in January with interstate transportation of stolen property for taking hundreds of bottles from Solomon, who was then co-president of Goldman Sachs, and selling them to a North Carolina-based wine dealer.
The New York-based investment bank said the theft was discovered in fall 2016 and reported to law enforcement authorities.
De-Meyer’s job responsibilities included receiving wine deliveries at Solomon’s Manhattan apartment and transporting them to the wine cellar in his boss’ East Hampton vacation home on Long Island’s East End, the indictment alleged.
A noted wine collector who was named Mr. Gourmet 2010 by the Society of Bacchus America, Solomon had an extensive collection of fine wine.
Among the hundreds of bottles prosecutors say De-Meyer stole over about two years until October 2016: seven bottles of Burgundy from the French estate Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, which Solomon had purchased for $133,650 and are “widely considered among the best, most expensive and rarest wines in the world,” the indictment alleged.
The news of his former assistant’s death “saddened” him, Solomon told the New York Post. “We are all heartbroken,” he said.