BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Former employees have filed suit against the Baton Rouge contractor who backed out of a deal with the city of New Orleans to remove the Confederate monuments, according to the Baton Rouge Business Report. This lawsuit comes just three days after the owner found his Lamborghini was destroyed in a fire. The owner of H&O Investments, David Mahler, backed out of the deal with New Orleans to remove the monuments after he and his family received death threats.
The five former employees say they worked for H&O Lawn 360, a grounds maintenance company owned by Mahler. The lawsuit states Mahler failed to pay his workers overtime and falsified tax returns by reporting them as contract workers when they were actually full-time employees.
The former employees, who all live in New Orleans, worked for H&O in Louisiana and Mississippi between 2009 and 2015. According to court documents obtained by the Baton Rouge Business Report, the employees worked between 60 and 80 hours per week, but they were not paid overtime for any hours worked over 40 hours each work week.
The court documents also say the employees received 1099 forms, meaning they were classified as contract workers for tax purposes.
On Jan. 19, The owner of the company, David Mahler, received a call around 1 a.m. saying that his 2014 Lamborghini Huracan, worth more than $200,000, had been set on fire and destroyed. The vehicle was parked in the parking lot of his business, H&O Investments, LLC on Opportunity Ave. in Baton Rouge.
Lawyers for H&O Investments sent a letter to the City of New Orleans last week explaining that the owner of the company was not only threatened at his work, but at his home too, because of the contract with New Orleans to remove the Confederate monuments.
H&O's decision to pull out comes in the midst of a preservation effort by organizations that are having a federal judge hear arguments in favor of keeping the confederate monuments standing in New Orleans.
Mahler's lawyer, Roy Maughan, Jr., said the timing of both the threats and destroyed car does raise questions. However, it is unclear whether there is a direct connection between the two.