‘It’s really hard to believe that so many people work there without proper documents and management doesn’t know…’
(Chris Sommerfeldt, New York Daily News) White House social media czar Dan Scavino didn’t know undocumented immigrants worked at President Donald Trump’s Westchester County golf course even though he managed the upscale club, an administration official said Friday.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, flatly denied Scavino had any clue that at least 30 immigrants without proper work papers were employed at the Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor while he served as its general manager from 2008 until he joined the president’s campaign in 2015.
But the official wouldn’t address specific allegations first reported by the New York Daily News earlier this week or comment on revelations that New York Attorney General Letitia James is looking into similar claims.
“Mr. Scavino, when he was the general manager at Trump National, was not involved in the recruiting or hiring of any of the individuals involved in the story,” the official said, declining to respond to follow-up questions.
Three undocumented immigrants who used to work at the club told the Daily News that Scavino, 43, was aware of their and other workers’ illegal status but looked the other way.
It’s a crime to knowingly hire immigrants unauthorized to work in the U.S.
The ex-workers said undocumented employees were not given health insurance, competitive pay raises or promotions while their documented colleagues were. They also said undocumented workers weren’t allowed to drive club trucks while documented employees were.
A source familiar with the matter said the New York attorney general’s office is aware of similar allegations and is on a fact-finding mission to that effect. The source stressed the AG has not formally opened an investigation.
Anibal Romero, an attorney who represents 26 undocumented immigrants who until recently worked at Trump golf clubs in New York and New Jersey, called bull on Scavino’s denial and claimed it’s inconceivable he wouldn’t have known of the insurance and wage disparities.
“If Scavino didn’t know, then who did know, because it’s really hard to believe that so many people work there without proper documents and management doesn’t know,” Romero said Friday afternoon.
Romero renewed his call for a full-scale investigation into the Trump clubs.
“Once authorities review business records, they will find that this was a vast conspiracy,” Romero said. “Sooner or later, we will know the extent of what really was going on here.”
After Trump’s election, Scavino was appointed White House social media director. He’s one of the few people in the world who helps the president write his tweets and is the longest serving aide in the Trump administration to date.
Scores of undocumented immigrants were fired from Trump golf clubs last month amid intense media coverage, as first reported by The Washington Post.
The mass axing came as the president shut down the government because Congress refused to allocate at least $5.7 billion for the construction of a wall on the Mexican border.
Mexican national Gabriel Sedano, a former maintenance worker at the Westchester club who was fired Jan. 18 along with several of his fellow undocumented colleagues, said Trump’s immigrant-bashing rhetoric hurts him personally.
“He saw us work hard,” Sedano told the Daily News. “We don’t understand how he can say we’re bad people.”
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