Egyptian Banker Arraigned for Alleged Attack on Pierre Hotel Maid
By Shayna Jacobs and Nguyen Thanh Tuan
MANHATTAN CRIMINAL COURT —The Pierre Hotel yesterday suspended a supervisor after she failed to report a maid’s claim of being sexually assaulted by an Egyptian businessman, causing a 15-hour delay in the investigation.
The suspension came as Mahmoud Abdel-Salam Omar, 74, was arraigned just before midnight Tuesday on charges of sexual abuse and forcible touching.
He had bail set at $25,000 cash or a $50,000 bond. Elizabeth Beal, a lawyer represented Omar at the arraignment, said she expected him to post the bail Wednesday.
She told the judge that Omar “adamantly denies the charges.”
Omar was accused of abusing a 44-year-old maid in his room at the upscale Fifth Avenue hotel.
He summoned her by requesting tissues, and then "squeezed her breast over hr clothing" and "ground his groin against her leg," according to Assistant DA Nicole Blumberg.
The maid reported the incident to a manager, who only noted the maid’s shocking claims in a logbook and didn't tell hotel security, her own bosses or police, officials told the New York Times.
The police only came the next morning as her supervisor saw the entry and notified the authorities.
John Turchiano, spokesman for the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council, told the Times the maid "did exactly what she's supposed to" and her boss "didn't do the right thing."
"We feel that obviously that this supervisor should have known to alert security. This guy [Omar] went around the hotel for as much as a full day afterwards," he said.
The maid reportedly lives in Brooklyn with her four young children – three boys and one girl, the oldest of whom is 13.
The new allegations come two weeks after Dominque Strauss-Kahn, the former chief of the International Monetary Fund, was charged with attacking a maid at Midtown's Sofitel hotel.
Both the Pierre Hotel and Sofitel yesterday agreed to buy “panic buttons” for room attendants to deal with similar cases in the future. The Pierre is also ordering sex-harassment training for all room attendants and managers, a hotel spokeswoman said.
Omar is the former chairman of Bank of Alexandria and current chairman of the El-Mex Salines salt company in Alexandria, Egypt, the biggest salt-mining company in the region.