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Men accused of flooding Trump Tower after being denied service at bar

February 18, 2014|By Rachel Cromidas, @rachelcromidas | RedEye

After allegedly being denied service at a Trump Tower bar because they were intoxicated, two suburban men were accused of starting a flood in the hotel, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, county prosecutors said.

Carl Koenemann, 25, Benjamin Nitch, 25, and a third person were at a bar on the 16th floor of Trump Tower to order drinks shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday, prosecutors said, when they were refused service for acting intoxicated.

Rather than leave the hotel entirely, Nitch and Koenemann were caught on video taking a fire exit staircase to the hotel's sixth floor, where they turned a water valve, releasing thousands of gallons of dirty water onto the floor and flooding two elevators, according to court records. The damage to the elevators alone totaled more than $700,000, prosecutors said. The water valve, which expels an average of 250 gallons of water per minute, was left open for ten minutes, prosecutors said.

The water was "black, with a strong musty odor," county prosecutor Erin Antonietti said, and it caused "extensive damage" to several areas of the hotel at 401 N. Wabash Ave., including the elevator shafts.

Nitch and Koenemann, both charged with criminal damage to property, were brought to the Cook County Criminal Courthouse on Tuesday afternoon. Both were released on $100,000 I-bonds with electronic home monitoring required.

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