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Why Did CEO and founder of Golden Krust Lowell Hawthorne Commit Suicide?

CARIBBEAN FEVER EXCLUSIVE: Friends Of Golden Krust CEO, Lowell Hawthorne, Speak On His Life, Career And Alleged Suicide

The question on everyone's lips across the Jamaican diaspora is why Lowell Hawthorne, CEO and founder of the hugely successful Golden Krust chain with 120 retail outlets across the United States, would commit suicide.

Police reports and accounts from those close to the family say Hawthorne shot himself in the head last Saturday evening at the Golden Krust head offices at 3958 Park Avenue in the Bronx, New York.

Since then, all three leading New York City newspapers have lavished the story with attention. The New York Times reported the tragedy without attributing a reason. The New York Daily News reported that the Golden Krust CEO was plagued with tax debt before the suicide, saying he owed US$15,000 in state taxes, and US$150,000 in city taxes. And, New York Post tabloid emblazoned a headline, screaming that Hawthorne killed himself amid fears the Feds were investigating him for evading millions of dollars in taxes.

But among Jamaican residents in New York and those who knew Hawthorne well, the swirling media suppositions found little traction, and many of his friends, in fact, rubbished those reasons, especially those from the Post.

"A lie dem a tell. Absolutely crazy talk. Nutten nuh go so," said one close colleague of Hawthorne, who did not wish to be identified.

 

Success Story

 

Louis Grant, an executive of Irie Jam Radio and a close friend, franchise owner and tennis buddy of Hawthorne's for decades, gave no credence to the rumours. He was on his way to the Hawthorne's home to huddle with family members yesterday evening, and he painted a picture of Hawthorne as a happy family man, a man of great faith and one who was thrilled with all the exciting things that were happening in his dream life.

"With all his accomplishments, Mr Hawthorne was the quintessential success story from Jamaica and the Caribbean," Grant told The Gleaner. "He had done the remarkable with establishing more than 120 stores. He was getting ready to take on Canada as a new frontier, a new plant in Spring Valley, New York, was being prepared, and most of all, he was super-excited about the birth of his first grandchild, who was just born a few weeks ago, and he raved about stopping by the house almost daily to see the kid," Grant added.

'I choose to celebrate Hawthorne's achievements'

Louis Grant, an executive of Irie Jam Radio and a close friend, franchise owner and tennis buddy of Lowell Hawthorne, pointed out that Hawthorne was passionate about education, and he provided numerous scholarships for students in the United States, in Jamaica and for his alma mater in Jamaica, Oberlin High School. Hawthorne was also chairman of the American Foundation for the University of the West Indies.

Irwine Clare, managing director of Caribbean Immigrant Services also rubbished the media claims.

"What is most disconcerting to me in Hawthorne's demise are the numerous commentary being waged not only on social media but in some cases, by news organisations on tax issues. I choose at this time to celebrate Hawthorne's spectacular achievements and I want to allow the family to mourn their loss respectfully," he told The Gleaner.

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Founder and CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery food chain, commits suicide inside his own factory Dahved Levy speaks with friends and business associates of Golden Krust's CEO Lowell Hawthorne about his alleged suicide. Bobby Clark and Louie Grant both worked closely with Hawthorne. They talk about his life, successful career and his shocking death. Check out the interview below:

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Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery founder & CEO Lowell Hawthorne, 57, commits suicide in Bronx factory

  • Lowell Hawthorne, 57, emigrated to the United States from Jamaica
  • He opened his first Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill in 1989 in New York
  • The fast-food operation now has more than 100 locations across the US
  • Hawthorne died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Saturday, police say 

The New York-based founder and CEO of a Caribbean fast food chain has taken his own life, police say.

Lowell Hawthorne, 57, allegedly shot himself inside the Morrisania, The Bronx factory of his Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill on Saturday night, the NY Daily News reported.

Former employees of his told the Daily News that he was 'humble and 'good' and were 'shocked' at hearing he had likely committed suicide.

Lowell Hawthorne, 57, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in The Bronx on Saturday, police say

Lowell Hawthorne, 57, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in The Bronx on Saturday, police say

Hawthorne died inside the Morrisania, The Bronx factory of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill, of which he served as founder and CEO

Hawthorne died inside the Morrisania, The Bronx factory of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill, of which he served as founder and CEO

Employees said they saw his car - a Tesla 85D - parked between two lanes. 

Hawthorne emigrated to the United States from Jamaica and opened his first Golden Krust operation in 1989.

He and his family pooled money to open the modest store. 

The operation sold Jamaican beef patties and it gradually evolved into a small fast-food empire.

Hawthorne started Golden Krust in 1989 and today there are more than 100 locations across the United States

Hawthorne started Golden Krust in 1989 and today there are more than 100 locations across the United States

There are now more than 100 Golden Krust establishments across the United States selling patties and other foodstuffs such as jerk chicken and plantains.

Golden Krust also produces tens of millions frozen patties to be sold in retail. 

It is not clear who will take over the operation of Golden Krust.  

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Lowell Hawthorne, who started the Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery with a Bronx storefront, had since moved production of his meat patties to a Bronx facility.

The founder and CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill killed himself inside his Bronx factory Saturday, police sources said.

Lowell Hawthorne, 57, shot himself inside the Park Ave. building near E. 173rd St. in Claremont about 5:30 p.m., sources said.

More than a dozen current and former employees stood in disbelief outside the factory hours later. Some had tears rolling down their cheeks.

“He was a good boss, humble and a good businessman,” said Pete Tee, 27, a former employee.

“He never seemed sad. This is just terrible news right now.”


Workers stand outside the Golden Krust's factory on Park Avenue after Hawthorne committed suicide inside.

Hawthorne opened the first Golden Krust store on E. Gun Hill Rd. in 1989.

He built the Jamaica beef patty purveyor into a national empire boasting more than 120 restaurants across the U.S.

It also produces more than 50 million patties a year for retail stores and supplies them to about 20,000 outlets, according to The New York Times.

“We believe in the power of the patty,” Hawthorne told The Times in May.

Some of Hawthorne's employees said they suspected something was amiss when they spotted his silver Tesla 85D parked oddly outside the factory. It was left straddling two lanes.

Everald Woods said he loved working under Hawthorne.

“He was a nice boss, a wonderful guy,” said Woods, an employee since 2003. “He’s the kind of guy you want to work for that long. He takes care of his employees.”

Woods said he was stunned to learn that Hawthorne had taken his life.

“I didn’t believe the news when I heard it at first,” Woods added. “I don’t know if the pressure of running the business was too much, but I’m shocked.” 

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Comment by El-Bull on January 1, 2018 at 10:54pm

mr1stroke MY ANTHEM FOR 2018-----

Comment by mr1stroke on January 1, 2018 at 7:59pm
El-Bull lol i can dig, but do what i do measure up those you interact with, many starts the year witb complaints already, others will still be the same stories from last year, and the rest of us have no choice but to move ahead, as you can see the world is moving, in one month Trump gave many heart attacks, in less than two months they are about to feel the hurt with that tax reform, the good part not all of us will be hurt, some of us will benefits from it, i know i am, so why not use that energy to create new path this year, those negative energy are distraction, before wasting your time ask them their level of life to make sure its worth your time, if they cannot tell you one thing that is better than what they are doing on here so whats tge used, nothing but a bunch of jokers, i abuse them and leave them standing, do you see how some of them keep typing my name, begging for attention, its because i am a force i give them strenght they look forward to come on here and get at me than i dossapoint them so they left with nothing which is why they barely on here and when they log on they look for me
Comment by El-Bull on January 1, 2018 at 7:37pm

mr1stroke got you bro----just can't stand plugs like jerome and brain dead people like them, especially being that she doesn't know PRs are Caribbean yet has the nerve to call herself a wannabe Caribbean queen----however i'll ignore them from now on

Comment by mr1stroke on January 1, 2018 at 7:23pm
Lol damn you guys still going at it, its a new year be nice to each other, lets blame Trump for the cold weather, El-Bull lets learn how to ignore dont lose focus
Comment by El-Bull on January 1, 2018 at 7:09pm

CARIBBEAN QUEEN you're such a bytch, you couldn't comment to me directly. and since you're so Irish go suck Irish dyck, why dafck are you even here, there is nothing black nor Caribbean about you except for your following the site, you white piece of shyt troll. furthermore i was not defending PRs, and notice out of your fake claim to be Caribbean that you're so ignorant that you don't even realize they are, just like your idol trump, you're D.A.S. aka dumb as shyt. AND Jerome S if you're addressing me, take your pusillanimous f** azz back to the cave you crawled out of, PLUG

Comment by El-Bull on January 1, 2018 at 7:09pm

CARIBBEAN QUEEN you're such a bytch, you couldn't comment to me directly. and since you're so Irish go suck Irish dyck, why dafck are you even here, there is nothing black nor Caribbean about you except for your following the site, you white piece of shyt troll. furthermore i was not defending PRs, and notice out of your fake claim to be Caribbean that you're so ignorant that you don't even realize they are, just like your idol trump, you're D.A.S. aka dumb as shyt. AND Jerome S if you're addressing me, take your pusillanimous f** azz back to the cave you crawled out of, PLUG

Comment by mr1stroke on December 11, 2017 at 1:23am
Yes thats what im talking about some people will never know how to be comfortable with the American dreams congress pass the concealed to carry bill to borderline, now places like NY cannot harrass people like me with their charges they are on tv crying like babies, aint nobody trying to come to stanking NY without a weapon they have so many gun laws they have more crimes rhan any one i have never seen that any where else a city with so much gun laws but some one get shot everyday of the week drom M- Th and on the weekend its multiple people, but thats not happening in area with rights to barearm i think from now on ill vote all republican their policies fit my lifestyle, no wonder their districts get what they want, im watching the fire department today blowing their horns, we taught it was the fire department delivering presents to the kids, certain community live different, not like the damn hood pack up a bunch of people in one room giving presents the kids dont even need, these people make that santa claus story look so real, so before you niggers argue and hate, why not change your lifestyle, lets walk away from projects apartment to a real home, if you can afford a cadillac escalade or a benz and bmw car note each month you can do better than living in the project, but as we know it niggers got more excuses for failing than one good reason to succeed damn niggers
Comment by mr1stroke on December 10, 2017 at 6:04pm
CARIBBEAN QUEEN lol are you that old less than a week you are caribbean, i thought you were a born American lol? Damn life is rought for some of you huh, ok ill stop responding some people might think im confuse talking to some one who has no idea where she is from
Comment by CARIBBEAN QUEEN on December 10, 2017 at 3:43pm
I WILL CAPITALIZE  CAUSE IM ON MY CARIBBEAN BOARD, WHERE YOU AND STOKE IS THE INVADER ON  OUR CARIBBEAN BOARD,  WE UNDERSTAND THERES AINT NOTHING GOOD OR A DECENT BOARD OUT THERE FOR YOU PESANTS, BUT  TALKING TRASH ON OUR BOARD IS NOT WELCOME AND I THINK , BECAUSE BOTH OF YOU DONT KNOW HOW TO BEHAVE ON OUR BOARD, I THINK YOU TWO NEED TO GET OFF THIS BOARD AND GO LOOK FOR AM AMERICAN FEVER.COM BOARD.    BYE BYE LOSERS. AND ANYONE THAT IS CARIBBEAN OR CARIBBEAN DECENT, IS NOT A TROLL, IF ANYTHING YOU AND STROKE ARE THE TROLLS,  YOU ARE NOT CARIBBEAN. GET LOST. 
Comment by mr1stroke on December 10, 2017 at 3:10pm
Pardon the typo i was with a client while typing this damn site do not allow edit damn shame in 2017

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