EUGENE, Ore. (CN) – A former candidate for governor forced a woman to care for his sick mother around the clock for less than minimum wage under threat of deportation, and owes her $174,000 in back wages, the woman says in a federal complaint.
Monica Garcia sued William Ames Curtright and the two companies he runs, Ames Properties and Ames Research Laboratories, which make paints and coatings.
Curtright sought the Republican nomination for governor in 2010.
Garcia, whom Curtright hired to clean his home in 2006, claims that when Curtright’s mother’s Alzheimer’s disease progressed, “Under threats of deportation, Curtright required plaintiff to care for his mother 24 hours a day.”
Garcia, who had been working for Curtright from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., claims that when she complained he was not paying her for overtime, “Curtright informed plaintiff that he was aware that she was not an American citizen, and that if she complained he would have plaintiff and her family deported.
“Curtright made it clear that he was politically connected, had been a candidate for governor, and had friends in government that would deport plaintiff and her family,” according to the complaint.
Garcia says she also cleaned Curtright’s factory, where her husband also worked.
She says Curtright wanted his mother out of his house when her Alzheimer’s progressed, and “force[d] plaintiff to use her children’s home in plaintiff’s house for the care of Curtright’s mother.”
The complaint continues: “Curtwright by use of threats forced plaintiff to be with his mother 24 hours a day stating in a letter dated November 13, 2008, ‘I expect Monica to be with Mom all day and night. I have authorized an adult sitter to be with Mom only while Monica cleans the house and on Sundays during Church.'”
Garcia says Curtwright paid her less than $5 an hour, “well below the federal minimum wage,” and used his businesses “to pay for the private care of his mother.” She says she was not given vacations, and “When plaintiff did take family trips she was required to bring Curtwright’s mother with her.”
She claims Curtwright owes her $174,035 in back wages, and seeks as much again as liquidated damages for labor law violations.
She is represented by James Davis of Salem.