NY Times - A federal judge [has] found that Mr. Trump, a group of his associates and a union official conspired to avoid paying pension and welfare-fund contributions by hiring immigrants to demolish the old Bonwit Teller building on East 57th Street at Fifth Avenue to make way for Trump Tower.
The ruling, by Judge Charles E. Stewart Jr. of the Southern District, found, in the behavior of the various defendants, "a conspiracy to deprive the funds of their rightful contribution."
Lawyers for the plaintiff, Harry J. Diduck, said they expected a judgment of $1 million to $2 million, which will be deposited in the union pension and welfare funds. No awards will be made to individual workers.
Mr. Diduck charged that Mr. Trump, who was desperate to meet both the deadlines for the project and for his complex financing requirements, overlooked the use of the undocumented workers, who put in 12-hour days, 7 days a week and in some cases even slept at the site. Mr. Trump was named as a defendant in the lawsuit, along with the Trump-Equitable Fifth Avenue Company, a partnership he formed with the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States, which was also named.
A 16-day trial took place last summer in which Mr. Trump testified that he did not know that undocumented workers were on the job and that Kaszycki and Sons did all the hiring. But in his ruling, Judge Stewart wrote that the Trump employee overseeing the demolition, Thomas Macari, was well aware of their existence.
"The Polish workers were obvious not only in numbers but also in appearance," the judge wrote in his decision. "In contrast to the union workers, the nonunion Polish workers were distinguished by the fact that most of them did not wear hard hats." Mr. Macari would appear on the site with cash to pay the Polish workers, the judge's decision said, and at times the Polish workers staged "very visible work stoppages because they were not being paid their wages," which at $4 or $5 an hour were at least less than half what union workers were paid.