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Ex-Driver to Trump Shifts Overtime Spat to Arbitration

Moving the overtime battle to arbitration, President Donald Trump’s longtime personal driver quietly dismissed his case Thursday against the Trump Organization.

MANHATTAN (CN) – Moving the overtime battle to arbitration, President Donald Trump’s longtime personal driver quietly dismissed his case Thursday against the Trump Organization.

When he brought the lawsuit here on July 9, having relinquished chauffeur duties for Trump to the Secret Service, driver Noel Cintron said he “was forced to work thousands of hours of overtime without compensation” during 20 years on the job.

Cintron filed a notice of voluntary dismissal in Manhattan Supreme Court on Thursday, but the case can still be refiled since it was withdrawn without prejudice.

Joshua Krakowsky, an attorney for Cintron with the firm Davidoff Hutcher & Citron, said in an email that they “agreed to move the case into arbitration.”

The Trump Organization’s attorney, Howard Wexler with Seyfarth Shaw, has not returned an email seeking comment. Last month, a representative for the Trump Organization who would not give their name for the record emphasized that “Mr. Cintron was at all times paid generously and in accordance with the law.”

Cintron noted in his complaint meanwhile that he had been earning $75,000 a year for the last eight years.

While this is up $7,000 from Cintron’s last raise in 2006, Cintron disputes that the 2010 salary was actually a raise since it came at the expense of his health insurance. By paying Cintron a little more, the Trump Organization allegedly saved itself $17,866.08 per year in premiums.

Seeking compensation for six years under the applicable statute of limitations, Cintron noted that post-election his services to the Trump Organization have continued as a member of its security staff.

The first page of Cintron’s 14-page lawsuit was rife with indignation. “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 longstanding personal driver,” it states.

Later the complaint says: “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!”

Cintron’s schedule at the Trump Organization has allegedly been a grueling one: five days a week, from approximately 7 a.m. “to whenever Donald Trump, his family or business associates no longer required his plaintiff’s services.” Typically this works out to at least a 50-hour week.

Because Trump required Cintron “to be ready … at a moment’s notice,” according to the complaint, the time in between trips could not be used for Cintron’s personal errands.

Cintron calculated that, on top of his regular pay, Trump should have paid him about $540 in overtime pay per week which is time and a half for 550 hours of uncompensated overtime per year for the past six years.

The driver’s duties also allegedly involved running personal errands for his supervisor at the Trump Organization, Matthew Calamari, who used to be the president’s bodyguard.

Cintron accused Trump of further neglecting to reimburse him for accrued vacation time, accrued sick days and expenses.

In 2015, Newsweek quoted another personal driver of Trump’s, Eddie Diaz, as saying that the real estate mogul insisted on being chauffeured in American cars. Diaz also reportedly said that he and his passenger ate together regularly, with Trump only footing the bill “once in a while.”

The Secret Service took up residence inside Trump Tower in late 2015 but had to relocate to a trailer just outside a midtown skyscraper in August 2017 after a lease agreement with the Trump Organization fell apart.

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