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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 2010 Press Release Index
    Release No. 10-052

    March 23, 2010

    OPERATOR OF STANDARD HOTEL IN LOS ANGELES AGREES TO
    PLEAD GUILTY TO ENVIRONMENTAL OFFENSE IN DUMPING OF POOL CHEMICALS THAT CAUSED ILLNESSES IN SUBWAY

    The corporate operator of the Standard Hotel in downtown Los Angeles has agreed to plead guilty to violating federal environmental laws in an incident where a hotel employee dumped pool chemicals into a rooftop drain, which led to a street closure and several people becoming ill when fumes filled a subway station.

    In a plea agreement filed today in United States District Court, HotelsAB Downtown Employees LLC (doing business as Standard Hotels) agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of negligent discharge of pollutants. In the plea agreement, HotelsAB agrees to pay a criminal fine of $200,000 (which is the maximum penalty under federal law) and to make a $150,000 community service payment.

    This case results from a January 18, 2009 incident in which a maintenance employee at the Standard Hotel negligently disposed of chlorine and muriatic acid that were located near the hotel’s rooftop pool. The worker pumped both chemicals into the Standard Hotel’s rooftop 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 near the hotel at 7th and Figueroa. When authorities responded to the subway station, 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.

    Representatives of the Standard Hotel will be summoned to appear before United States District Judge George H. Wu to enter the guilty plea on behalf of the corporation on in the coming weeks.

    HotelsAB has agreed to make a $150,000 community service payment that will go to the National Fish and Wildlife Fund, which will use the money to fund environmental projects, enforcement efforts, and environmental initiatives that will help preserve and restore the environment and ecosystems.

    HotelsAB has also agreed to make full restitution to the Los Angeles County Fire Department Health Hazardous Materials Division and the City of Los Angeles Watershed Protection Division for costs incurred in responding to the chemical dump. The total amount of restitution is $20,283.56.

    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. 10-052

    Return to the 2010 Press Release Index