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    United States Attorney's Office
    Central District of California

    Thom Mrozek
    Public Affairs Officer

    (213) 894-6947
    thom.mrozek@usdoj.gov



    Return to the 2009 Press Release Index
    Release No. 09-008

    January 30, 2009

    OPERATOR OF STANDARD HOTEL IN LOS ANGELES CHARGED IN DUMPING OF CHEMICALS THAT CAUSED ILLNESSES IN SUBWAY

    In an incident that raised fears of a terrorist attack, the operator of the Standard Hotel in downtown Los Angeles has been charged with violating federal environmental laws by causing the dumping of pool chemicals that led to a street closure and several people becoming ill.

    A criminal complaint filed yesterday in United States District Court in Los Angeles charges the New York-based HotelsAB LLC, doing business as André Balazs Properties and Standard Hotels, with violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by illegally disposing of corrosive hazardous waste. The complaint specifically alleges that employees of the Standard Hotel, which is located at 550 South Flower Street, dumped pool acid and chlorine into a storm drain. This mix of chemicals caused gases to form in the storm drain system, and some of those gases were released into a subway station at 7th and Figueroa in downtown Los Angeles.

    When authorities responded to a subway station near 7th and Figueroa, they encountered a chemical smell and several victims, including a law enforcement officer, who were affected by the chemicals. The intersection of 6th and Flower was closed for several hours because of gas escaping from the storm drain system.

    A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in court.

    Representatives of the Standard Hotel have been directed to appear on behalf of the defendant in federal court in Los Angeles on February 9.

    The charge of illegally disposing of hazardous waste carries a statutory maximum fine of $500,000. Because the defendant is a corporate entity, the charge does not carry a potential prison term.

    This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Los Angeles City Fire Department, Hazardous Materials Unit.

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    Release No. 09-008
    Return to the 2009 Press Release Index