More than four years ago, the curious death of Gregory Fleniken, who was found dead inside a MCM Elegante Hotel room, grabbed national headlines and even sparked a piece in Vanity Fair magazine.
Two years later, Fleniken’s widow, Susan, filed suit against the MCM Elegante on Sept. 12, 2012, in Jefferson County District Court. Delta Security, Lance Mueller, Trent Pasano and Timothy Steinmetz also were named as defendants.
And now, barring a last-minute settlement, the case has been called up for trial in April.
According to the lawsuit, on Sept. 15, 2010, Gregory, a Louisiana oilman visiting on business, was staying at the MCM Elegante in room 348. Defendants Mueller and Steinmetz were electricians staying in the adjacent room.
Allegedly, Mueller, Pasano, and Steinmetz were drinking heavily and being very disruptive that night. Pasano retrieved Mueller’s pistol from a car located on the hotel’s premises. Mueller than loaded the pistol and laid on the bed. The gun went off, alarming many guests, and the bullet pierced the wall, striking Gregory.
“Mr. Flenkien died from the bullet wound,” the suit states. “Defendant Elegante Hotel failed to notify the Beaumont Police Department about the reported noise.”
Police initially thought Gregory died of natural causes. When police found him the following morning, his belongings were intact, ruling out a robbery. Nine months passed before a detailed investigation unearthed the cause.
On the evening of the shooting, the occupants of room No. 349 patched the bullet hole in their room with toothpaste and toilet paper. Afterwards, the men headed downstairs to the hotel bar and continued drinking, declining to check on the occupant of the adjoining room, the suit alleges.
The suit accuses the hotel of failing to take actions to address the disruptive behavior of the defendant occupants of from 349.
Delta Security was providing security for the hotel on the night in question and is faulted for failing to provide adequate security and perform a thorough investigation of the incident, the suit states.
The suit further accuses the defendants of having knowledge of the incident but failing to report their findings to the Beaumont Police Department.
“As a result of defendants’ actions, Mrs. Fleniken endured an additional nine months of emotion distress,” the suit states. “During that time period, she feared for her safety, believing that her husband had been brutally beaten and left for dead in his hotel room. Without the benefit of this information, she feared she might be next.”
In addition to punitive damages, Susie is suing for wrongful death and survival damages.
Houston attorney Gary E. Patterson represents her.
Judge Gary Sanderson, 6oth District Court, is presiding over the case.
Case No. B193-133