NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A contractor who received death threats after his company was hired to remove Confederate monuments in New Orleans is wondering whether the fire that destroyed his expensive sports car is connected to the controversy.
The fire destroyed a Lamborghini belonging to David Mahler. Mahler's company was recently tasked with removing Confederate monuments in New Orleans. But Mahler last week opted out of the job after he and his company received death threats. City spokesman Hayne Rainey confirmed that the FBI was contacted about the threats.
Early Tuesday, authorities reported finding his car ablaze in a parking lot at his business, H&O Investments in the Baton Rouge area. The fire is under investigation by the St. George Fire Department. Spokesman Eldon Ledoux said the cause has not been determined.
Mahler and his lawyer said Wednesday they fear — in light of the past threats — that the car was intentionally torched.
Mahler's lawyer, Roy Maughan Jr., said threats had been made against H&O, its employees and Mahler and his family. Threats had diminished since last week's announcement that H&O wouldn't do the work.
Maughan said he spoke with the FBI about the threats Wednesday morning. He stressed that Mahler has taken no position on whether the monuments should be removed. His company had simply been given the work under its contract with the city, he said.
"It's not something we bid on," Mahler said.
A lawsuit challenging the removal has been filed in federal court and the work has stopped pending a ruling.
In December, the City Council voted 6-1 to remove the monuments. Meetings on the proposal were raucous.
Opponents of the action filed a federal lawsuit and the work is currently on hold while the litigation plays out.
The monuments slated for removal include a marble column and statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee; a statue of Louisiana-born Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard; a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and an obelisk dedicated to a group that sought to topple a biracial Reconstruction government in New Orleans.
The Lamborghini fire is under investigation by the St. George Fire Department just outside of Baton Rouge. "At this point we've eliminated nothing," Ledoux said.
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Posted on Fri, January 22, 2016
by KEVIN McGill Associated Press