The North American Caribbean Community is mourning the loss of a business giant, Lowell Hawthorne, who killed himself in one of his New York establishments on last week Saturday.
The 57-year-old Hawthorne, who started the successful patty empire Golden Krust in 1989, with one storefront store in the Bronx, New York, was reportedly caught on camera committing suicide.
Speculations are that, Hawthorne’s act, was because of the Internal Revenue Services’ (IRS) investigation into tax evasion byGolding Krust. Also, according to reports, anunder-paid class-action lawsuit by workers, might be a factor in Hawthorne’s suicide.
According to the New York police, Hawthorne, an immigrant from Jamaica, shot himself inside his Bronx factory, on Park Avenue near East 173 Street in Claremont at about 5:30 pm.
A few of Hawthorne’s employees reportedly suspected something going awry, when they saw his luxury silver Tesla 85D, parked in the road, blocking a lane of traffic.
Many of Hawthorne’s current and former employees mourned for hours outside the facility. Expressions of sorrow also came from academia, businesses, embassies and high commissions as well as politicians, including Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness.
Holness in a tweet said, “my condolences to the friends, family and employees of Jamaica-born Lowell Hawthorne, CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill.”
A former employee, Pete Tee, 27, said, “he was a good boss, humble and good businessman. He never seemed sad. This is just terrible news right now.”
Pat Russo, a businessman who has worked with Hawthorne since the 1990s, said, “it doesn’t make sense. He had everything to live for.
“He was a brilliant business guy, the perfect American success story,” said Russo, who is the president of Chef’s Choice Food Company.
Family friend Wayne Muschamb said, “look how far he reached. He’s known from here to Jamaica. I’m kind of lost for words, man. This has got me shocked.”
Hawthorne emigrated from Jamaica to the United States of America in 1981 and worked briefly as an accountant for the New York Police Department (NYPD), before starting a business that was inspired by his father’s bakery in Jamaica.
He grew the business from its humble start in a storefront factory in the Bronx to produce more than 50 million patties a year, with many of his the top retail stores in the USA selling his products.
According to reports, the business now has more than 120 franchises across the United States, making it the number one Caribbean franchise.