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Downtown's Standard Hotel Charged With Chemical Dumping

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There was a little something "extra" in the air Downtown on Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year, and it wasn't part of the celebration. It was "a cloud of noxious gas," that caused some folks to vomit and one "Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy to experience a burning sensation in his eyes and lungs," according to the LA Times. But it wasn't the work of terrorists targeting the nearby subway--it was the result of employees from Downtown's well-known Standard Hotel dumping "the majority of two 50-gallon drums of muriatic acid and chlorine into the drain," and thus sending the chemicals out into the air and water of the city. What happened was determined by FBI agents who joined the investigation in partnership with the LAPD's HazMat team, the LA County Sheriff's Department and the Fire Department, and interviewed hotel employees who admitted to doing the dumping of the hazardous chemicals after initially denying having done so.

Dumping chemicals is not only incredibly dangerous, but also against the law, and, "as a result, the company that owns the hotel [Andre Balazs Properties] was charged by the U.S. attorney's office late Thursday with knowingly disposing of hazardous waste. If convicted, the company could be fined up to $500,000." The owners issued an apology through their NY-based PR firm.