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Hollanders Deny Allegations of Racial Discrimination at Hartford Distributors

HARTFORD — The Hollander family is one of the most respected family in Connecticut. Ross Hollander, the patriarch of the family, is known for his “fairness and kindness” because he has been donating regular to nonprofit organizations and reportedly fighting for school equity, the family spokesperson said today.

That’s why news report of racial harrasment in thier Manchester-based company, Hartford Distributors Inc., is painful, said James Battaglio, a spokesman for the Hollander family.

“It’s painful to hear allegations that are unfounded,” Battaglio said at a press conference today at Teamters Local 1035 in East Windsor.

Early Tuesday morning, Hartford Distributor’s truck driver Omar Thornton,34, allegedly began a shooting rampage, killing 8 employees and then turned a gun on himself. Thornton’s family said that in a phone conversation with his mother Nellie Holliday of East Hartford, Thornton called and said he “killed the racist bastards.”

His brother Edward Kinder said yesterday Thornton had been complaining about racism on the job “from the start.”

“They called him porch monkey…nigger…all kinds of names,” Kinder, 38, said.

The Hollanders through their spokesperson said discrimination is not tolerated at Hartford Distributors.

At the press conference other reporters asked about the percentage of minorities working at the beer warehouse.

According to the Hollanders, there are 130 employees. On the loading dock, there are 69 employees. Of the total, there are four African Americans, nine Latinos and one Asian.

One reporter asked, which department did the four African Americans work?

“We are not here for that,” Battaglio said. “It’s only been 48 hours. This is still very fresh and very fragile.”

However, Hollander did give this statement to reporters about Thornton who was asked to resign from the company shortly before the shooting rampage:

“We conducted a fair and thorough investigation which concluded that Omar was stealing beer from the company and selling it to third parties,” he said.

One of the Hollander brothers, Steve Hollander, is vice president of the company. He was one of several who met with Thornton Tuesday morning. He was also shot and is recovering from his injuries.

Hartford Distributors has been closed since the shooting as Manchester police continued its investigation.

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