President Donald Trump may have waged war against undocumented immigrants as part of his campaign rhetoric, but newly-released court documentation shows that Trump paid illegal Polish employees only $4 per hour in some cases to knock down a department store. According to the New York Daily News, President Trump put 200 Polish workers to work when Trump needed the Bonwit Teller building on Fifth Avenue knocked down to make room for Trump Tower.
The undocumented immigrants worked as many as 16 hours each day in 1980 without the typical gear that construction workers need to make their jobs safer, according to the New York Times. The men did without hard hats to protect their heads and didn't have gloves to protect their hands. There were also no masks to protect their lungs from breathing unsafe materials.
As a result of the experience, Trump ended up settling a class-action labor lawsuit in 1998 for $1.375 million. Trump claims he doesn't settle lawsuits, but he did, in fact, settle the lawsuit after it lagged for 15 years. The court documents were discovered in July and U.S. District Court Judge Loretta Preska agreed that the public deserved to know about the lawsuit since President Trump is a public figure.Contractor William Kaszycki was hired for the job, but William claimed he didn't know undocumented immigrants were his employees. However, foreman Zbignew Goryn told a different story in court, claiming that Trump acknowledged the heritage of the men working for him when he visited the work site.
"Those Polish guys are good, hard workers."
The men who worked to tear down the old Bonwit Teller building in New York in order to make room for Trump Tower spoke of the "horrible, terrible conditions" surrounding the job. The now-75-year-old Wojciech Kozak spoke of "working 12, 16 hours a day and" being "paid $4 an hour." Kozak said that he received $1 more per hour because of the dangerous torch his job involved using.
"Because I worked with an acetylene torch, I got $5 an hour. We worked without masks. Nobody knew what asbestos was. I was an immigrant. I worked very hard."
The workers tapped attorney John Szabo when Kaszycki stopped paying them. Trump tried to strike a deal with the men but also threatened to have them deported by calling Immigration and Naturalization Service.
[Featured Image by Marty Lederhandler/AP Images]