A former personal assistant to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer David Solomon killed himself on the afternoon he was to plead guilty to stealing more than $1 million in rare wine from his former boss.
Nicolas De-Meyer, 41, jumped from his room on the 33rd floor of the Carlyle Hotel on East 76th Street around 2:30 pm Tuesday, New York City police said — the exact time he was scheduled to plead guilty in federal court in Manhattan to interstate transportation of stolen property in connection with the theft.
De-Meyer, who worked for Solomon from 2008 until November 2016, was accused of stealing hundreds of bottles — including seven of a vintage considered among the rarest and most expensive in the world — worth a total of about $1.2 million. De-Meyer then allegedly resold them.
“Mary and I are deeply saddened to hear that Nicolas took his own life,” Solomon said in a statement through Goldman Sachs, referring to his wife. “He was close to our family for several years, and we are all heartbroken to hear of his tragic end.”
According to prosecutors, De-Meyer’s regular duties included receiving wine shipped to Solomon’s Manhattan apartment and transporting it to his cellar in East Hampton, New York. De-Meyer allegedly used an alias, Mark Miller, to sell bottles to a North Carolina-based wine dealer. Solomon, a well-known collector, discovered the theft in November 2016 and confronted De-Meyer, who admitted taking the wine and promised to pay him back, prosecutors said.
Instead, De-Meyer fled and spent the next 14 months abroad, visiting cities including Rome, Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires before returning to the U.S., where he was arrested in January upon his arrival at Los Angeles International Airport, according to prosecutors. He spent the next two months in federal custody until he was released on a $1 million bail bond secured by cash and his mother’s home in Ohio.
On Tuesday, federal prosecutors and De-Meyer’s lawyer were in court waiting for De-Meyer to appear for what a court clerk said was a scheduled guilty plea. Prosecutors and De-Meyer’s attorney, Sabrina Shroff, didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Solomon, 56, who was named CEO in July to succeed Lloyd Blankfein, earned the title of Mr. Gourmet 2010 from the Society of Bacchus America. The former Goldman president and chief operating officer had a 1,000-bottle wine storage area in his Manhattan residence, the Real Deal reported in 2016.
The stolen wines included seven bottles from the French estate Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, a Burgundy widely considered “among the best, most expensive and rarest wines in the world,” which had been previously purchased for $133,650, according to the indictment.