Trump Tower $700,000 Elevator Flood Caused by Two Refused at Bar: Charges

By Erin Meyer on February 18, 2014 12:33pm 

 Carl Koenemann (bottom) and Benjamin Nitch (top), both 25, — are accused opening up a water valve meant for fire protection at Trump Tower. The water gushed out at 250 gallons a minute and flooded two elevator shafts, prosecutors said.
Carl Koenemann (bottom) and Benjamin Nitch (top), both 25, — are accused opening up a water valve meant for fire protection at Trump Tower. The water gushed out at 250 gallons a minute and flooded two elevator shafts, prosecutors said.
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Chicago Police Department

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — Two men who were refused service at Trump Tower's fancy 16th-floor bar Saturday are accused of turning on a water valve in the high-rise's stairwell, flooding two elevator shafts and causing more than $700,000 in damage, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors alleged in court Tuesday that the men already had been drinking before they showed up at Trump's bar around 6 p.m. Saturday. After being served one round, the men were turned away because they seemed to be intoxicated, prosecutors said.

The two — Carl Koenemann and Benjamin Nitch, both 25, — are accused of then going into a Trump stairwell and opening up a water valve meant for fire protection. The water gushed out at 250 gallons a minute and flooded two elevator shafts, prosecutors said.

The Chicago Fire Department and the building were automatically notified of the opened valve, but it took 10 minutes to turn off the "black and musty smelling" water, Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Erin Antonietti said.

Surveillance video captured the two men on the 6th floor and as they left the hotel, Antonietti said. Another camera captured the men leaving Trump Tower around 6 p.m. Saturday, she said.

Both men are charged with knowingly causing damage to property, a felony. They were both ordered released on electronic monitoring by Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr.

Nitch allegedly told police he fell into the valve because he was drunk and may have yanked it once in anger, Antonietti said.

Koenemann's attorney said his client was not the one who activated the water.

The damage to the two elevators was estimated at $700,000. There was also damage to the building's marble floors.

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