Nicolas De-Meyer, a one-time personal assistant to Goldman Sachs' CEO, accused of stealing more than $1 million in rare wine from a collection his boss kept in an East Hampton wine cellar, killed himself in a leap from a Manhattan hotel Tuesday, police said, just before he was to plead guilty.
De-Meyer, 41, of New York, who had come to New York from Findlay, Ohio, to plead guilty at 2:30 p.m. in Manhattan federal court, jumped from the 33rd floor of the Carlyle Hotel as hotel staff watched, according to NYPD sources, who said police were notified at 2:35 p.m.
Hotel personnel, the sources said, were alerted by a sister based on texts she had received. When they got to De-Meyer’s room, he was standing by a window, smiled at them and jumped out, landing on a 15th floor mezzanine, police sources said.
In a courtroom in lower Manhattan, prosecutors, defense lawyers and U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe were waiting for De-Meyer. The hearing was canceled with no explanation after a meeting in chambers, and lawyers and court personnel refused to tell reporters what happened.
De-Meyer, according to the charges, had been a personal aide to Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon while he was serving as co-president and chief operating officer at the investment bank.
Prosecutors in January said part of De-Meyer’s job was to receive wine shipments for Solomon at the executive’s Manhattan apartment and transport them to his East Hampton wine cellar.
He stole hundreds of bottles, including seven bottles from the French estate Domaine de la Romanee-Conti that sold for $133,650, the government said, and then used the alias “Mark Miller” to sell the stolen wine to a North Carolina dealer.
After the charges, Goldman said Solomon had discovered the thefts in the fall of 2016. De-Meyer was arrested in Los Angeles in January, and eventually released on bail and permitted to live in Ohio.
Last week, Gardephe found that De-Meyer was indigent, and ordered U.S. marshals to pay for him to fly from Findlay to in New York no later than noon last Friday, and then to fly back Tuesday afternoon after his court appearance.
Prosecutors identified Tuesday’s appearance as a “proceeding of interest,” the language used to identify anticipated guilty pleas.
De-Meyer’s lawyer Sabrina Shroff did not return calls for comment on Tuesday. The office of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman declined to comment.
Goldman CEO Solomon said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened to hear that Nicolas took his own life,” adding, “He was close to our family for several years, and we are all heartbroken to hear of his tragic end.”