Immigrant Claims GOP Candidate|Put Him & Family to Forced Labor

     SALEM, Oregon (CN) – Former gubernatorial candidate William Ames Curtright put an undocumented family to forced labor under threat of deportation, the family’s father claims in Federal Court.
     Trinidad Zavala sued Curtright and his company, Ames Research Laboratories. Zavala claims Curtright hired him knowing he was undocumented, fired him during his campaign for fear of exposure, then rehired him and made his family work around the clock taking care of Curtright’s sick mother.
     According to the complaint, Curtright hired Zavala in October 2005 to work Ames Research Laboratories. He fired Zavala him in early 2006, when Curtright, a Republican, decided it would be bad for his campaign if it were discovered that he had hired an undocumented worker.
     Zavala claims he was hired back after the campaign, at less than Oregon’s minimum wage of $8.40 per hour.
     Zavala says Curtright threatened him with deportation if he and his wife did not care for Curtright’s mother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, in their own home.
     “Not wanting to pay for care of his mother, under threats of deportation, Curtright forced plaintiff and his family to care for Curtright’s mother 24 hours a day in their home,” the complaint states. “Curtright forced plaintiff to move his youngest child out of his bedroom to sleep on the living room floor so that the child’s room could be used for the care of Ms. Theiman.”
     Zavala claims he worked 8-hour days at Ames, only to come home to take over duties for his wife, who had spent the day feeding, cleaning and bathing Curtright’s mother.
     “When plaintiff complained, Curtright informed plaintiff that he was aware that he was not an American citizen and that if he did not comply, he would have plaintiff and his family deported,” the complaint states. “Curtright made it clear that he was politically connected, had been a candidate for governor and had friends who would deport plaintiff and his family.”
     Zavala claims he was not allowed to travel with fellow employees on business trips and was told that “if he was stopped because of his immigration status, he was not to tell them he worked for Ames Research Laboratories.”
     He claims he was not given raises like other employees and was treated as a subordinate even when new hires began working for the company.
     He claims Curtright made discriminatory comments about him in front of other employees and that the boss used company money to pay for his mother’s private care before he moved her in with the Zavalas.
     “Curtright used his businesses, Ames Properties LLC and Ames Research Laboratories to pay for the private care of his mother, his home and family,” the complaint states. “This use of business proceeds was for his personal use and family use.”
     Zavala seeks punitive damages for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, discrimination and forced labor.
     He is represented by James Davis.

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