Racial slurs target New Albany small business owner


by Adam Walser


Posted on October 24, 2012 at 7:21 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 24 at 10:03 PM

(WHAS11) -- Police are investigating a vandalism incident at a New Albany Company.

“There were busted windshields, slashed tires,” John Lukes, owner of Nexgen Mold and Tool, Inc., said

Several trucks parked at the business were targeted over the weekend. Vandals covered them with spray-painted hostile messages, including profanity and racial slurs.

Most were directed at Lukes himself, who is black.

“I grew up in an area where this would be a shock,” Lukes said. “I think for the most part, my employees felt the same way. It’s a shock to them.”

Lukes suspects the person responsible is a disgruntled former employee, because the messages included phrases like “fire me now” and “You know who did it.”

There are even references to President Obama, even though Lukes says he doesn’t talk politics at the office.

“I think most of my employees are conservative and will vote conservative,” Lukes said. “I don’t have a problem with it. That’s where I’m leaning this time also.”

Nexgen makes specialty plastic parts purchased by companies like Ford Motor Company and UPS.

Since Lukes bought the company in 2008, sales have doubled, as well as the number of people working there.

Currently, Nexgen has a workforce of 46 people and the company operates three shifts a day, six days a week.

With increased sales, have come greater pressures to deliver high quality products with no mistakes.

While most workers have stepped up to the task, Lukes says some had to be let go.

“We’re finding the workforce has not been as engaged in growing with the company. They’re more in tune to other things that may benefit them more than benefit a company. And that’s disappointing,” Lukes said.

Police are investigating, but have not yet made any arrests.