Lowell Hawthorne, the founder and CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill, has died in New York City. He was 57. The city's medical examiner said Hawthorne shot himself in the head at his Bronx factory on Saturday, the AP reports. Hawthorne, who came to the US from Jamaica when he was 21, started the successful Caribbean fast food chain in 1989 by selling Jamaican beef patties, jerk chicken, and breads. He built the business into a national franchise with more than 120 restaurants in nine states. Hawthorne once appeared in an episode of CBS' Undercover Boss. At the time of his death his company was planning on building a new $37 million headquarters in Rockland County.
"We are shocked and saddened by the death of Lowell Hawthorne," said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. "Our prayers are with his family and his loved ones." Hawthorne "was a nice boss, a wonderful guy," says longtime employee Everald Woods. "He's the kind of guy you want to work for for that long. He takes care of his employees." The New York Daily News, however, reports that Hawthorne owed substantial tax debts and was being sued by a former employee who claimed that he had not been paid for overtime during his 11 years at Golden Krust, nor had at least 100 other workers.
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