New York: For more than 20 years, Noel Cintron was Donald Trump's personal driver, chauffeuring the businessman — before he became the President — wherever he needed to go. Cintron says that he often worked 55 hours a week and was usually on the job each day at 7am. Though his compensation changed over time, it was, he says, typically in the upper five figures.
Before Donald Trump rode presidential limousines, above, he had a personal driver for more than 20 years.
But in a lawsuit filed Monday, Cintron accused Trump and the Trump Organisation of failing to pay him more than 3000 hours of overtime wages — a sum that he has calculated to be slightly more $US160,000 ($240,000). According to the lawsuit, Trump and his business also cheated Cintron out of years of vacation time, sick days and expenses — and neglected to give him a raise in more than a decade.
"In an utterly callous display of unwarranted privilege and entitlement and without even a minimal sense of noblesse oblige, President Donald Trump has, through the defendant entities, exploited and denied significant wages to his own long-standing personal driver," the lawsuit said. "President Trump's further callousness and cupidity is further demonstrated by the fact that while he is purportedly a billionaire, he has not given his personal driver a meaningful raise in over 12 years!"
The accusations by Cintron, who is 59 and lives in Queens (as his former boss once did), echo complaints made by several others who have worked for Trump over the years and claim that he either underpaid them or failed to honour contracts for their services. Trump has also fended off unrest among employees by paying them to dismiss litigation against him, despite his oft-repeated claims that he never settles lawsuits.
Two lawyers for the Trump Organisation did not return phone calls on Monday seeking comment on the suit, which was filed in state Supreme Court in Manhattan. But Amanda Miller, a spokeswoman for the company, told Bloomberg News, which first reported on Cintron's allegations, that he was "at all times paid generously and in accordance with the law."
In his lawsuit, Cintron said that he started working for Trump nearly 30 years ago and only stopped acting as his chauffeur when the US Secret Service took over the job. Cintron said that he was not only responsible for driving Trump, his family and his business associates, but also had additional duties, which included "running personal errands" for Matthew Calamari, a former Trump Organisation security guard who became a top executive at the company.
Cintron said that he made $US68,000 in 2006, and his pay increased to $US75,000 in 2010. Cintron claimed that he was "induced to surrender his health benefits," which saved Trump nearly $US18,000.
Cintron has demanded that the Trump Organisation pay him for the last six years of unpaid overtime wages, noting that the statute of limitations precluded him from asking for more. He has also requested that punitive damages be awarded by a jury if the case should go to trial.
Larry Hutcher, Cintron's lawyer, declined to make his client available for an interview.
"The lawsuit speaks for itself," Hutcher said.
New York Times
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