Nicolas De Meyer was about to plead guilty to the theft of $1.2 million of wine from his former boss, Goldman Sachs president David Solomon, when he leapt to his death Tuesday. De Meyer, 41, left lawyers waiting in court that afternoon while hotel security, alerted by his family to his suicidal intent, first found him sitting on the window sill in his 33rd-floor room at the Carlyle.

He smiled back at them before he jumped, the New York Post reported.

Apprehended by the feds last January, De Meyer stole hundreds of bottles—including seven prized burgundies from the estate of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC)—that he then sold to Ryan Chaland, a North Carolina wine dealer, while he worked for Solomon as a personal assistant.

When the DRCs came back on the market, another connoisseur traced them to Solomon and tipped him off. At a meeting with Solomon and his wife Mary at the Greenwich Hotel, De Meyer confessed. But rather than face possible prison time, he gathered up his ill-gotten gains and embarked on a year’s travel to Italy, Morocco, South America, and Switzerland.

De Meyer had never planned on being a personal assistant.

Born Nickolas Meyer in Findlay, Ohio, he’d hoped to own an art gallery one day. He majored in art history at Vassar College, where friends recall he belonged to the croquet club and, by junior year, had added a “Von” to his name—which he later altered again, swapping the “Von” for a “De” and dropping the "k" from Nickolas.

His stepmother back in Ohio told THE WEEKLY STANDARD last winter, while he was en route from LAX to New York’s Southern District Court as a federal remandee, that last she’d heard De Meyer was in Rome. (His Vassar alumni page said the same.) She enjoyed infrequent but always interesting updates from his travels, she said, and dismissed my accounting of his reported arrest as “a prank.”

The thing to know about Nicolas, friends from Findlay told TWS over the following days and weeks, was that his sense of romance and adventure tended to get the better of him. “It doesn’t surprise me that he would work for a billionaire and have keys to the kingdom,” said Andrew Fitzpatrick, a Findlay High School friend who now lives in New York City and summers in Provincetown, where he’s better known by the stagename Mona Mour. By Fitzpatrick’s portrait, the Nickolas Meyer (aka, Nicolas De Meyer) he knew was, “Kind of sad, but not sad. Gorgeous on the outside, but devious. And you can’t fully trust him.”

High school chum Ryan Barton, now an interior decorator, said De Meyer told tall tales from time to time and tended to inflate stories of his family’s travels. One family friend described him as a young man who, although he was a charming conversationalist and quick to stick up for the underdog, never quite fit in Findlay. But by the time we spoke, word of De Meyer’s wine heist had reached the folks back home, and this old friend said, “We all view him as a folk hero in a way.” He’s “kind of a like a Robin Hood figure.”

De Meyer’s attorney, Sabrina Shroff of the Southern District of New York, was visibly perturbed, per the Post, when she learned by phone that her client wouldn’t be coming to court on Tuesday. Shroff, also the attorney for Fyre Festival creator Billy McFarland, had represented De Meyer since shortly after his indictment and oversaw his release from a federal prison in Manhattan on a bail bond secured in part by his mother’s Findlay home.

De Meyer worked for the Solomons from 2008 until 2016. He spent two of those eight years stealing and selling their wine, according to an earlier interview with Chaland—who denied knowledge of the bottles’ provenance. The timeframe for De Meyer’s tenure with the Solomons struck one Vassar classmate of his, Kelly Williams, as unusually long. Williams was an art history major alongside De Meyer, and she also built a career as a personal assistant to the very wealthy.

“It's a job that burns you out pretty fast,” she said, adding that two or three years is the typical length of time an assistant stays with one family, and five years the longest any assistant with an ego of his own could reasonably abide. Williams said that while De Meyer would likely have loved such proximity to the trappings of immense privilege, he didn’t strike her as a man well-suited to so many successive years of self-abnegation, toiling in the shadow of a powerful man.

Solomon issued a statement to the press late Tuesday, on behalf of himself and his wife. “Mary and I are deeply saddened to hear that Nicolas took his own life,” the statement read. “He was close to our family for several years, and we are all heartbroken to hear of his tragic end.”