Two former Golden Krust employees filed a lawsuit against the restaurant chain, casting a cloud over candlelight vigils on Saturday night in the Bronx, New York and Kingston, Jamaica for CEO Lowell Hawthorne who committed suicide, The New York Daily News reported.
“He’s kind, he’s successful, but never got so big to not stop for the common man. We have lost an icon. We have lost a mentor. We have lost a man who makes others look on their lives and say, ‘I can do more, I can succeed, I can do better,’” said Herma Hawthorne, Lowell Hawthorne’s sister-in-law.
Hawthorne, 57, shot himself in the head on Dec. 2 at his Bronx factory. The Jamaican immigrant opened his beef patty factor in the Bronx in 1989, and he grew it into an empire of 120 restaurant outlets in nine states. His rags-to-riches story ended in tragedy, with Hawthorne admitting to family members about his tax debt hours before his suicide. A surveillance video shows Hawthorne in his office at the Bronx factory speaking with two employees. After they walked out, he shot himself in the head. He was found with a single bullet to the head. The married father of four left an apology note to his family.
In addition to his federal tax debt, Hawthorne reportedly owed more than $150,000 in city taxes, the newspaper reported. About 100 employees had taken steps before his death to file a class-action lawsuit that also accused Hawthorne of owing them overtime pay.
SOURCE: New York Daily News