During the CNN GOP debate in Houston, Marco Rubio attacked Donald Trump for his practice of hiring foreigners for jobs Americas could have filled, pointing to a federal court judgment against the real estate developer.
Ted Cruz joined in the Trump attack, saying a judge found Trump "guilty of being part of a conspiracy" to hire people illegally and ordered a $1 million judgement against him.
"If he builds the wall the way he built Trump Tower he'll be using illegal workers to do it," Rubio said.
Trump called that a "cheap soundbite," but Rubio said "Google Trump and Polish workers."
Trump wrote the worker dispute off as something that happened "30 years ago," and noted that he was the only Republican candidate who had ever hired anyone.
If you Google it as Rubio suggested, you will find a New York Times article from 1998 titled "After 15 Years in Court, Workers' Lawsuit Against Trump Faces Yet Another Delay."
It involved a class action lawsuit by ex-workers from Poland, including Wojciech Kozak, who said he "worked in horrid, terrible conditions" during his six months on the Trump Tower project in 1980. ''We were frightened illegal immigrants and did not know enough about our rights.'' The 200 Polish workers were paid $5 an hour, if at all.
The suit charged that Trump owed $4 million to the union welfare funds for the work the Poles performed.
"Mr. Trump denies that he was aware of the working conditions at the site in 1980 or that any of the demolition workers were undocumented immigrants," the Times reported in 1998. "He is also challenging claims that he is liable for payments to the union that were evaded by the demolition contractor."
Former workers testified they were threatened with deportation of they complained about pay and work conditions. Trump testified he did not learn until after the job was completed that the workers were from Poland or hired illegally.
A judge ruled in 1991 Trump, his partner, and the contractor had joined in a 'conspiracy," according to a Daily Beast report published last summer. That decision was partially overturned on appeal.
Trump settled with the workers in 1999, but the agreement was sealed, preventing us from now knowing how much Trump paid.