Lowell Hawthorne

A Jamaican-born entrepreneur who built an empire around beef patties shot himself to death in his Bronx, NY factory around 5 p.m. Saturday.

Golden Krust CEO Lowell Hawthorne, 57, killed himself after the feds informed him that he was being investigated for evading millions of dollars in income taxes, The NY Post reports.

Surveillance video shows Howell shooting himself in the head inside his office shortly after 2 employees left the room. The 2 employees are seen crouching down as they reenter the office. One of the employees is seen calling 911.

The married father of three was found dead on the floor of his office. A handgun was found near the body.

Hawthorne was a Jamaican immigrant who built his empire from a single fast-food eatery on East Gun Hill Road in the Bronx in 1989. His meat patties were a huge hit among the Jamaican immigrant community in the Bronx. He eventually employeed dozens of relatives as employees.

The company has more than 120 franchises in 9 states.

“He was always an upbeat guy,” said Al Alston, who met Hawthorne 30 years ago when they both worked as accountants for the NYPD.

Alston owns a Golden Krust franchise in Queens, NY.

“We’ve been in a lot of tough jams and situations, but he was always a person who’d say, ‘We’ll get out of it.’ And we would get out of it,” said Alston.




  • PLEASEDontTellMe

    i loved their patties…RIP Sir

  • Scromes1212

    He played hisself smh taxes don’t carry that serious of a charge. Could have started back over like most people do. Prayers to his kids, they have to grow up without a father smh.

  • Noirluv45

    My heart goes out to his family. Suicide is such a selfish act. It leaves those left behind in such pain and grief. I understand the depths of hopelessness or depression that drives many to suicide, but I can’t help but think that there could’ve been another solution. Sometimes things turn around the next day. I wish he had found help. RIP.

  • shun king

    black foreigners come to america and excel in business cant say that about the black Americans they have to coon they self up into some money

  • Vonn

    He was an accountant & still jacked up his taxes. RIP.

  • Yardgirl

    My husband’s family and his grew up in the same part of Jamaica and are friends. Everyone is in shock and disbelief. I started out saying it has to be murder but if there is video footage, it really looks like suicide. So shocking!!

  • Ni Ni

    I hate that the govt wait until you owe that much to charge you. RIP.

  • tintin

    death over jail… really!!!

  • Mystique

    Why didn’t he sell some of his stores or get a loan? Still not understanding the need to kill him self and leave his wife without a husband and his children without a father.

  • http://batman-news.com Roderick2011

    I think that when you owe the IRS money they put liens on you assets and freeze your bank accounts so he had no liquid assets to pay the IRS tax bill.

  • WutizaGRANNY!

    oh wow..

  • Elevated Soul

    D@mn I know exactly where the business is at…..Those beef patties are sold in Publix.

    Dude gave himself the death penalty.

  • Ms.Vanilla

    Good morning Roses!
    I wonder what I could accomplish if I didn’t pay taxes….hmmm.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1lo6u-UIbo Nancy Drew-Natural & Luv’n It!
  • Mr.LeBrickJames

    Best beef patties for sure. And their stew chicken and rice & peas is the truth too.

    Condolences to the family.

  • Mr.LeBrickJames

    It’s sad that he couldn’t have chosen a different way to deal with this. Suicide is a permanent “solution” to a temporary problem.

  • Yardgirl

    My BF is an auditor for the IRS (she is tiny and shy so I always make sure to tell people just to see their reaction lol) She called it yesterday and I was like “but he can make arrangements to pay it back and if it’s jail it’s only white collar jail!!” Suicide is such a selfish act. The holidays are stressful enough, now they have to plan a funeral. So sad.

  • Indies beauty

    Wow that sucks… my freezer is stocked with golden crust and their food is A1

  • WutizaGRANNY!

    The sad fact may be he is worth more dead to his family than alive if he has an insurance policy.

  • NeverSurprised

    Golden Crust is not just a hit among Jamaicans. In NY, EVERYONE — from black folks to preppy white kids — patronizes these restaurants. He was a real American success story and I’m so sorry to hear about his tragic end. I think there must have been other factors at play to drive him to this.

  • Mr.LeBrickJames

    Absolutely. And with the holiday season now, I feel bad for the whole family. This is probably going to be the worst Christmas ever for them.

  • Ryan

    Damn. R.I.P.

  • Yardgirl

    Exactly!

  • RespectSelf

    Damn this is sad. Feel bad for the love ones he left behind.

  • NeverSurprised

    Absolutely. I’ve eaten those patties for years.

  • cherrypie

    So sad….and really unnecessary. He took the easy way out and left the others to clean up his mess.

  • Elevated Soul

    This foreigner dude killed himself though because he broke laws,so he’s not a real good example.

    Many foreigners of any race come here with “dirty money that they wash”.It seems to be the case here.Many also come here looking for loans.

    The statement you made is what Blacks born in America need to pay attention to.Many Black foreigners don’t like native born Blacks but they sure as he!! will use programs that our elders, fought for. Many aren’t that far removed from a tin shack but they still think they are better than native born Black Americans.

  • Mr.LeBrickJames

    I don’t think they would have frozen his bank accounts so soon. Normally they’ll investigate then send you a tax bill and then you try to work out a payment plan. A good tax attorney could have helped him work out reasonable payment terms with the IRS.
    Lots of people have dealt with serious IRS problems and worked through it. Looks like he just panicked more than he needed to.

  • Scromes1212

    Not all the way true. It goes case by case.

  • Jack Blakk

    Right, but they still will freeze all assets and put the family on a budget until they sort it out. It will probably be faster now he’s dead!

  • Scromes1212

    He definitely had options. JS

  • http://worldstarhiphop.com/ The Dutchess

    It is never this serious the IRS will always work with you if they see you’re trying & if worst came to worst he could have just sold the business This is really sad

  • Mr.LeBrickJames

    Although his business is worth millions, the IRS is probably going to put all kinds of liens on his estate to make sure they get their money… plus penalties, plus interest.
    His family might not inherit anywhere near as much money as they would expect.

  • Scromes1212

    That’s what a lot of people don’t realize. The IRS is more likely to work something out then to send you to jail.

  • Jack Blakk

    The foreigners have no paper trail so they can get loans easier than black Americans, that’s why they can also get a home faster than black Americans!

  • NeverSurprised

    Exactly. It was still at the investigation stage, so no assets would have been frozen at that point. I agree that panic, fear and embarrassment set in. I feel so bad for his family.

  • http://worldstarhiphop.com/ The Dutchess

    That’s what I said the IRS will work with you Even if it seemed overwhelming as a last resort file for bankruptcy but don’t take your own life

  • Tammie Reed

    _________________!

  • Scromes1212

    That’s part of the problem we have as black Americans. They can get business loans a lot easier then us. That’s why you see a lot of foreigners with gas stations and liquor stores in our community.

  • Ms.Vanilla
  • You Could Never

    OMG. Im so sorry for his family. Its never this bad. He could have set up payment plan with the IRS. They are willing to help.

  • shun king

    hey also excel in business not just there own company but the move up in fortune 500 company also

  • shun king

    excuses excuses

  • Yardgirl

    I frequent the one on Dyer Ave in the Bronx when I travel to NY

  • You Could Never

    I read once they dont want to be a pain. They want their money that they feel that you owe. And you can even disupute/settle THAT. They dont want to have to worry with your houses, cars, and other property bc then they have to incur the costs to legally account for them. List them for sell etc. They would much rather work with folks.

  • deadellamore

    Suicide is never the solution.

  • Noirluv45

    I wish there was one here in Fayetteville. I’m always looking for good food.

  • Scromes1212

    Exactly. Having to sell your sh*t off to get there money is a pain. I learned it’s easier to just pay them what you owe.

  • Ms.Vanilla

    There’s more to this than taxes. He was also being sued for back wages by his employees and he was taking short cuts in the quality of his food.

  • Scromes1212

    That seems more probable.

  • Mr.LeBrickJames

    Actually I totally disagree.
    If the foreign born person has no “paper trail” (as in.. no credit history) then that doesn’t make it easier to get loans than a black American. It’s usually a lot harder.
    But lets be real… a lot of us have jacked up credit. Too many of us don’t manage our finances & credit properly, then want to throw shade at foreigners when they come here and have success.

  • Guest

    There is more to this than owing taxes.

  • You Could Never

    Same with car finance companies. They would MUCH rather you KEEP your depreciated ass value car than to come and repo it lol. Friend of mine was facing repo after a job loss and I was like just CALL them. Worked all kinds of magic for him in the end. Dont NOT answer your phone. Dont ignore your important mail.

  • justlooking

    Yes, this is true. just pay them what you can.

  • Scromes1212

    Exactly. A dead man don’t pay no bills. JS

  • bemetoo

    hard times come and go…no need to off yourself i mean damn you can pay taxes

  • Ms.Vanilla

    Ever been to Fullers?

  • bemetoo

    still he could have paid it back and lived his life…

  • Scromes1212

    Facts. They don’t create the tax laws, they just enforce them.

  • Whiplash(lacejagger)

    Why would generalize a group of people?? The same AA’s, are those who fault,died, and God knows what else so that “black foreigners” can have access to owning businesses and what have you!! Ignorant A$$

  • Mr.LeBrickJames

    I think there’s one in College Park, if you’re ever in that area.

  • Noirluv45

    What’s more, many of them live in the same house, save their money, and invest it into their own businesses. Their communities support each other as well. Many are willing to sacrifice materials good while many of us run out and spend our money as soon as we get it.

  • justlooking

    Wow just Wow. I’m sad that that this man, a foreigner no LESS a human being took his life.

    I’m trying figure why folks is talking about nationality or him being a CPA had to do with anything. Hell did he really kill himself? Or was it set up to look like it.

    Depression, suicide knows no nationality, race, creed or religion. Praying for his family, friends and loved ones.

    It’s some cold folks in this thread. WHO HURT YOU?

  • Scromes1212

    And they can get a loan in there own country and use that same money in America to fund whatever business there trying to start.

  • Noirluv45

    Oh, there is? I’ve never been to that area before. When I went to the Golden Krust website for store locations, NC didn’t show up.

  • Noirluv45

    Sure have! I used to go to the one in Lumberton until it flooded. I haven’t been to the ones here in Fay.

  • Noirluv45

    Yep, that’s true, so they definitely have advantages.

  • heezy93

    two differerent Fayetteville’s

  • BaileyBlue17

    I need some of fuller’s hoe cakes…hot out da grease!!

  • GuestSTAR

    You can but them MF’rs intentionally make it difficult. You literally have to plan your day around a call to them because after your on hold waiting to talk to someone, once someone comes on, you negotiate with them, then they put you on hold no more than 3 or 4 times. All in all you can be on a IRS or Franchise Tax call for up to 3 hours. In the end, you’ve made your payment arrangement tho.

  • shun king

    its awful that those same black Americans grand children are not taking advantage of what they ancestors got spit on and water hosed for

  • http://olskoolblackflix.com What?

    Then there’s more to this because I’m scrolling through the comments and thinking ‘why didn’t he just hire an enrolled agent?’. Sad for his family.

  • Oretta Grace Smith

    Sad

  • SumthinSweeter

    oooooh. but yes, it’s like peeling back layers to what’s on the surface.

  • Mr.LeBrickJames

    Cold folks indeed… who have no problem kicking a [dead] man when he’s down.

  • Ms.Vanilla

    I like their fat back. They fry them up so good and crispy.

  • Mr.LeBrickJames

    OK. I guess you’re talking about Fayeteville NC, not GA. My bad.

  • RespectSelf

    This is the wave of the internet. It allows you to see how folks really think. Most stuff is still shocking. A lot of folks are heartless deep down.

  • Seek Truth Speak Truth

    If you consider two bullets to the head suicide, I guess.

  • Ms.Vanilla

    Amen Sista!

  • Noirluv45

    Yes, Fayetteville, NC. Sorry about that. I should’ve indicating that.

  • Noirluv45

    Lawd, you’re making me hungry! I don’t think I’ve eaten them before.

  • Noirluv45

    Stop. Just stop. I’ve never eaten those either.

  • KarmaBackAround

    Stress n depression is so real…r.i.p and prayers to his family he left behind
    …yet the family now will suffer financially because even if he is deceased, IRS WILL get their money by any means.

  • BaileyBlue17

    Yes!! I could just eat a veggie plate with some fat back and hoe cakes!!

  • Whiplash(lacejagger)

    You are still generalizing a group of people. I am from Atlanta, my grandparents, and parents were freedom fighters! Not every AA falls into the same category. Why don’t you become apart of the solution and not contribute to the problem.. or if you are not from the states, kindly exit.

  • shun king

    yeh i live in the warzone of Atlanta also see how those nice black ancestors of the civil rights movement chase that black girl down and killed her with her child in the car

  • Ms.Vanilla

    Girl DO NOT get me started okay! That is one of my favorite meals…

  • Reina1718

    2 bullets?! That sounds very suspect

  • Whiplash(lacejagger)

    There are evil folks in all colors, and ethnic groups…You are definitely apart of the problem. You should channel your negative energy into something positive: volunteer, help improve things that you are so negative about! Good Day to you!

  • Anunnaki

    I’m guessing here, so he shot one bullet to his head, had strength to do it again, oh ok…hey roses

  • Vonn

    Very sad.

  • Trace da Ace

    naw….something else is up with this….I mean…RIP and all, but why would you kill yourself over tax debt?? With all the money he has and is bringing in…something could have been done, right? I feel like the milk ain’t clean on this one….I need more background…..

  • McKay

    Did I mention that Accountants have one of the highest suicide rates?

  • Elevated Soul

    Really?……I see many American born Blacks moving up in Fortune 500 countries as well,including myself…

    You make it seem as if they are doing something more special than what American born Blacks are doing. They wouldn’t even have the opportunity to come here if the elder American born Blacks hadn’t fought for the rights for American Blacks.Now all of these mofos are benefitiing off the backs of a people,you think you are better than…..This is why American born Blacks need to practice self preservation,instead of always thinking that just because someone comes in Black face,that they are our friend…….

    Bottom line is that they had to leave their own countries and come to America because in their own countries,there is so much corruption. There are many Black corrupt leaders in their countries on the take against these very foreigners.

  • NeverSurprised

    The Post story said one bullet to the head? Is another news outlet reporting two?

  • Carla

    I’m wondering the same thing.

  • NeverSurprised

    GoldenCrust has been around for all the years I’ve lived in NY and I was so proud of this successful black business. I didnt realize how successful they were until now.

    He started the company with one store then opened 16 more across NY before launching a franchise operation in 1996.
    There are now more than 120 outlets in nine states, and their beef patties are sold in more than 20,000 supermarkets, as well as to the NY city school system, state penal system and US military.

    That is a LOT of revenue. Enough that the IRS would have definitely worked out a payment plan if back taxes were the sole problem. There’s something else.

  • Youngblood

    Also they said he shot himself twice

  • AnotherBlackGirl

    What are hoe cakes?? New Yorker here.

  • AnotherBlackGirl

    True. Foreigners also don’t have to pay taxes for 7 years when they come here. I have some friends from Jamaica and Liberia who told me this.There are also foreigners who come from certain countries who are given anywhere from 7 to 10 thousand dollars for coming here to the states as well as every member of their families and they don’t have to pay that back until after 7 years. My ancestors never even got their 40 acres and the mule.

  • AnotherBlackGirl

    Many of them live in the same apartment

  • Lady_Elle

    When I first heard this over the weekend it made me sick. :-(
    He did so much for so many!

    I believe it is very possible the IRS scared him.
    The IRS is run like a criminal enterprise.
    I watched an “Investigative Reports” documentary on the IRS… when they go after you they don’t let up. Even the IRS whistle blowers were screwed.

    RIP Lowell!

  • Lady_Elle

    You have some CRUEL people that hide behind their online screen names.

    There is no real accountability for mean spirited comments.

    If something really touches me I read a few comments and check out! This really touches me.

  • Ashy Alicia

    Dentists too, I don’t blame them ..

  • justlooking

    I’m sorry, it touched to me. I have family and friends who suffer from depression. Heck I’ve suffered from depression before. It’s just sad. Folks are so mean.

  • Miss Thang

    yeah. people saying suicide is a “selfish act”. I’ve been suicidal and honestly at that moment, you feel everyone is better off without you. So you have to be a really sick person consider it a “selfish act.”

  • Connie

    To all who’re saying he could have made arrangements with the IRS, don’t y’all think that as a businessman, especially an accountant, who built a business from scratch knows all this? I think there’s much more to this suicide than IRS threat or what meets the eye. RIP

  • Michelle1953

    I too have been suicidal. And I felt leaving my mom to carry the pain of me ending my life would be selfish. That thought propelled me to seek treatment. I try not to judge others but I’ve known or know of ppl who have committed suicide leaving their families to struggle providing for their kids. And that’s selfish to me!

  • McKay

    Them to…

  • Michelle1953

    Agreed. It’s being reported that he was worth 70 million. So why didn’t he see a payment arrangement or selling assets as a way out? It’s definitely more to this.

  • BaileyBlue17

    It’s like hot water cornbread. They fried thin and crispy

  • Noirluv45

    SMH. That’s just too many people in one apartment. Crazy. They should’ve let anyone do that.

  • BaileyBlue17

    Next time I’m headed to Myrtle Beach, I’m making a side trip!!

  • justlooking

    Sorry you felt that way and I glad you are at better place and feeling better. HUGS

  • Branch Davidian

    Nobody knows the extent of what this man was going through. If he owed the IRS millions, he probably had a lot of other debts. Considering the pride this business brought to him and the Bronx community, it is plausible that the shame of seeing it fail was too much to bear. Sometimes the simplest answer is the best one. Pretty tragic no matter what…

  • Miss Thang

    Well, I felt my family would not grieve so I was doing them a favor.

  • the guest

    The IRS is not fair.

    I don’t think he was worried about a payment arrangement as he could afford one. This good man was scared of his personal legacy and story ending in prison. For certain, with tax evasion at that level, he was facing the possibility of prison and could not bear it.

    A person in his position can be forced into feeling they are “worth” more dead than alive. This was indeed a very loved man by his family and community and they would rather have him alive of course.

    But his insurance money will help the business out of debt. This was a sacrificial suicide. He took his life for what he loved most, his family, his business, and their success.

    Rest In Peace.

  • the guest

    I truly believed he feared prison time for tax evasion. Even if he paid his taxes, he could still be sent to prison. Prison is not for everyone.

    A proud successful respectable black businessman and pillar of black and Caribbean communities, he probably couldn’t bear the thought of prison.

    I would like to know if the Feds told him he was facing time or if they threatened him with prison time. The IRS needs to change it’s tactics costing people their lives.

  • the guest

    God bless you for your compassionate comment.

  • the guest

    It breaks my heart when folks are mean spirited. God bless you for speaking up.

  • AnotherBlackGirl

    Exactly.

  • justlooking

    Thank you.

  • Karen Brady

    This is sad and thank you for the patties and coco bread. Devastating for his family especially this time of year. RIP brother.

  • Karen Brady

    Why dentists?

  • Miss Thang

    This is a sweet message, but I’m LMAO @ “This is sad and thank you for the patties and coco bread.”

  • imright

    over debt ?? i thought insurance doesnt pay out for suicide ? ?

  • TooMuchTea

    Not just debt, Feds = Prison. Sad

  • TooMuchTea

    Yep!

  • TooMuchTea

    He was on Undercover Boss. He helped a lot of people. RIP

  • MsChocCookie

    He was hanging around too many white people, and picked up their insecure, can’t handle debt, crazy habits.

  • Look@m3

    Yeah…..I mean ‘they” just file bankruptcy and keep it moving all the time. Maybe one day black business owners will figure this out….

  • Michelle1953

    I understand. Blessing to you love!

  • Lolly Asher

    So many missing details to that story.

  • Kimberly King

    I feel like there’s something missing to this story. This makes me sad. RIP

  • SweetTEE

    They out unless the policy is less than 2 years old.

  • SweetTEE

    Rip but this doesn’t sound logical in the least bit. An accountant(?!), whos ran a successful business since the 80’s, owes the Irs so much money that payments nor bankruptcy were an option, decides that he will kill himself & does so by shooting HIMSELF twice. Foh.

  • Tena

    Damn, what happened to folks filing for bankruptcy? I can’t understand how any one can kill themselves over debt. You can’t give what you don’t have. Had it be me, the shit would have just gone to collections or judgements. If he had to lose some of his stores in the process, he should have let the cards fall where they may.

  • Mister Fantastic

    Greed defies logic. No tax shelters in place, no charitable write offs, and send tons of cash overseas equates to a IRS investigation.

  • MRiGOThim

    I don’t believe this story one bit…

  • PlayerP

    How do you have the wherewithal to shoot yourself in the head twice?

  • pure_rachet

    One of my dentists shot and killed himself.

  • Jussjess25

    Who said twice? I havent read that tidbit anywhere.. The story sounds fishy tho

  • Jussjess25

    You might be right!!!

  • Maxima

    I am familiar with this and I am so sad.
    Don’t fall for it, he got into a jam, and taxes were only part of it.

  • Maxima

    I am so glad you turned it around!

  • Maxima

    Always remember: suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

  • Jahnée Gill Mr.Eddie Murphy??

    A lot of your so called African American leaders, we’re not African American. Some were from the islands or had family from there. The same goes for a lot of the black people that were around during the 20th century. What you ignorant black Americans fail to realize is that the black Americans and forigene blacks that were apart of the slave trade are the same people. You do know that the slave trade broke up a lot of families right? Blacks from the island have been coming to the Americas since the 1800’s. Since you’re ignorant garbage you don’t feel the need to do the proper research
    You’d rather talk out of your ass.

  • friendofblog

    More like depression. So sad.

  • BeUtFullSoul

    Sad.

  • shun king

    you say you see many i used to deal in events for very large corporations and industries Microsoft,google, the timber industry, forensic associations,real estate as far as people who sale building and the list goes on black representation was very minuscule you might see a sprinkling of black women and less black men…i dont have a numbers but due to my former job i can say its a fact its very few black even in the middle rungs of corporate america and more Africans…one fact is it more African doctors in america than African american

  • itsjismemelly

    this hurts my soul

  • NIA

    Sad I hate the Tax Corrupt System built to Enslave the People!.

  • Ashy Alicia

    I guess dealing with rotten teeth everyday is depressing.

  • SweetTEE

    And as an accountant, like myself, he would very well known how to avoid everything you mentioned.

  • don juan

    Nope dont believe he killed himself

  • Angela Flowers

    I was skeptical at first until they said they have it on surveillance.

  • Jack Blakk

    Sorry for answering late but I’m proof! I’m a citizen of the United States and Brazil and I pretty good in tech, my accent is in Brazilian Portuguese. I’m in the Bay area when they find out I’m from Brazil I’m offered jobs, if I walk in the bank and show my Brazilian I’D they offer pre-approved loans!

  • Jack Blakk

    I have dual citizenship, you can’t do or get what I can. If you do you’ll be busting your butt to pay the taxes!