A Louisiana contractor who had been hired to remove Confederate monuments in New Orleans found his $200,000 Lamborghini burned beyond recognition Tuesday.
The incident took place just days after David Mahler, the owner of H & O Investments, announced that his company will not be taking part in the removal of four controversial statues celebrating Confederate heroes due to death threats.
During a court hearing held last Thursday, attorneys for the City of New Orleans said Mahler and employees at his company had received harassing phone calls related to the monument removal contract.
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Before and after: New Orleans contractor’s $200,000 Lamborghini was found burned beyond recognition (slide left) in the parking lot of his business in Baton Rouge Tuesday, just days after he backed out of a commission to remove four Confederate monuments
Totaled: The fire consumed David Mahler’s 2014 Lamborghini Huracan almost in its entirety, leaving only the rims intact
Exotic: The red-and-white sports car, dubbed the ‘Psycho Hurricane’ (pictured before the fire) was well known among local car enthusiasts
Masterpiece: This image shows David Mahler’s prized possession with a different paint job
Mahler, a married father-of-three, said he was concerned enough for his family’s safety and for the well-being of his employees to back out of the job, reported the station WDSU.
According to a Facebook post written by Mahler’s wife, Tesse, at around 1am Tuesday they got a phone call from the fire department saying that someone had torched their prized Italian sports car.
The vehicle, a 2014 Lamborghini Huracan that costs upwards of $200,000, was discovered scorched to a crisp in the parking lot of H & O’s offices in Baton Rouge.
‘This was a very exotic car, made of largely composite materials and in this case the paint on the fender didn’t burn, the fender burned. The car was actually consumed by the fire, it added fuel to the fire,’ Eldon Ledoux, of the St. George Fire Department, told the station WAFB.
The luxury vehicle, dubbed by Mahler ‘the Psycho Hurricane,’ was well known among local car enthusiasts.
‘This is just a possession and can always be replaced but someone has something to say to us,’ Mahler’s wife wrote in a post that appeared on the Facebook page of the Cars & Coffee Biloxi auto club.
Mahler’s attorney, Roy Maughan Jr, said police and fire investigators will be looking into a possible connection between the death threats and the car fire.
He said while the probe has only just begun, the timing of the incident is ‘extremely suspicious.’
A spokesperson for Mayor Mitch Landrieu told Nola.com in an email that ‘the City of New Orleans has been in contact with the FBI and supports a full investigation into this matter.’
Mahler’s company was initially contracted in December to take down four controversial monuments, including this 60-foot statue celebrating Robert E. Lee
The monument of Jefferson Davis on Jefferson Davis Parkway at Canal Street in New Orleans is also slated for removal
The decision to remove the four Confederate landmarks sparked rallies and prompted preservationists to file a federal lawsuit against the city
Mahler’s company was initially contracted to take down four controversial monuments, including statues celebrating Robert E. Lee, General P.G.T. Beauregard and Jefferson Davis, after the New Orleans City Council voted in mid-December to break with the city’s Confederate past.
City Council President Jason Williams at the time called the 6-1 vote a symbolic severing of an ‘umbilical cord’ tying the city to the offensive legacy of the Confederacy and the era of Jim Crow laws.
Mayor Landrieu first proposed taking down these monuments after a white supremacist killed nine parishioners inside the African-American Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina in June.
Just days after the vote to remove the monuments, three preservation organizations and a New Orleans chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans filed a federal lawsuit challenging the city’s plan.
The 51-page suit stated that the monuments are part of the city’s history and should be protected.