While many are still dealing with grief over the suicide of Golden Krust CEO and Founder Lowell Hawthorne, court records show the 57-year-old had mounting debt, which may have led to his suicide.
According to The New York Daily News, Hawthorne was worried about liens, which totaled more than $150,000 in city taxes on the company’s buildings. Along with the lien, a former employee filed a lawsuit against Hawthorne alleging he never paid him for his overtime.
Robert Wray says he worked for Hawthorne for 11 years and was cheated out his overtime. Wray’s lawsuit also states their are 100 other people who were also not paid for their overtime. The case, which hopes to become a class-action lawsuit, is still pending.
Hawthorne was the owner of 120 different stores in nine different locations. In May 2016 while appearing on CBS’ “Undercover Boss” Hawthorne boasted his franchise, which began in 1989, would be as prominent as other fast food chains.
“By 2020, all Americans we expect to be eating Golden Krust patties,” he said.
On Saturday (Dec. 2) Hawthorne’s body was found inside his Bronx factory with a inflicted gunshot wound to his head. Authorities say the CEO left a suicide note, but they won’t reveal it to the public. Employees all gathered at the factory expressing shock over the news.
“He was a good boss, humble and a good businessman,” Pete Tate, a former employee said. “He never seemed sad. This is just terrible news right now.”