Death threats, attacks lead to purge
A Saskatoon man’s life is in danger after he did what no other Canadian business owner has dared to attempt – he got rid of the Hells Angels. And from now on, anyone working for Xtreme Mining and Demolition will be required to deny in writing any connection to a “criminal organization” such as the Hells Angels.
“If you are associated with these type of groups, we’ve got a problem. You are out of here,” said Xtreme owner Leonard Banga. The Hells Angels were purged from Xtreme’s ranks following multiple death threats and other intimidation, as well as attacks on Banga and an employee.
Banga said he’s got nothing against the Hells Angels, pointing to his longtime friendships with several “full patch” members. But when Banga learned of the threats and violence, he knew he had to act decisively to protect his employees and his business.
The Hells Angels, through their lawyer, say the new policy is unfair. Others disagree. “I hope everyone supports (Banga). He has balls. This is how a community starts to stand up to organized crime,” said author and international Hells Angels expert Yves Lavigne.
The StarPhoenix interviewed Xtreme employees and obtained company records and government documents detailing a secret culture of violence.
Now, with the possibility of revenge looming, Saskatoon police have issued Banga a rare “Duty to Warn.” Police informed Banga his life is in danger. He remains unmoved.
“What are they gonna do – burn my house down? Do something to me? They’d all attract attention and get thrown in jail. They don’t want that.”
More than a dozen Hells Angels have worked for Xtreme in the past decade. When Banga won his first few contracts, mainly at Saskatchewan potash mines, he looked for the best workers available. Some Hells Angels were on the crew of the previous contractor.
Banga, who has attended the weddings, funerals and parties of Hells Angels members, hired them for their skills and didn’t care what they did away from work.
There were no obvious problems until last fall. That’s when an Agrium Vanscoy potash worker caught an Xtreme employee sleeping on the job. The sleeping employee – a senior member of the Hells Angels – threatened to harm the Agrium worker should he report the incident. Undeterred, the Agrium worker reported both the incident and the threat, Banga and other workers said.
Banga was informed. The Hells Angel was dismissed from the work site and fired from Xtreme shortly after.
“We were very satisfied with the speed at which it was handled,” said Gavin Rans, human resources manager for Agrium.
Rans said mining is “inherently dangerous,” so it’s imperative to have as safe a workplace as possible.
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