Dispute between Queens pastor, hotel owners turns violent

LONG ISLAND CITY (WABC) -- A disagreement between a local pastor and employees at a hotel in Queens quickly turned ugly, and the entire incident was caught on surveillance camera.

Pastor Bishop Mitchell Taylor went to the Howard Johnson in Long Island City on August 8 to confront the owner about a promise to hire locals at his business, but things then spiraled out of control.

It's no question that people who live in the area are clamoring for more job opportunities, especially in hotels that are popping up around town.

As the dispute intensified, Taylor became so fired up that things turned violent.

The owners of the hotel, which is set to open soon, were embroiled in a heated discussion when Taylor shoved a staff member. Security kicked Taylor out, and the scuffle moved outside.

At one point, both a security guard and Taylor went down to the ground. The bishop, feeling threatened, then picked up a pickax. Now, police are investigating claims that Taylor threatened to kill the owner.

Hotel management insists that Taylor's so-called hiring plan for his community are fuzzy at best.

"He was asking for 30 percent of all employees' salaries on the company's side...for his organization," operations manager George Frangoulis said. "And he has received money from this company...$4,500."

Taylor disputed that claim.

"They contributed to our gala," he said. "$2,500, yes."

When asked if he was asking for more money, he responded, "No, ma'am. Not at all."

Taylor apologized for the violence, but he does not apologize for what motivated. He says this is about jobs in his community, and his group held a rally Friday.

The story was first reported by the Daily News.
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