Hundreds of former employees of Donald Trump say they’re still waiting to be paid.
The USA TODAY Network claims that Trump has been involved in more than 3,500 lawsuits in over the past three decades – many involving plumbers, carpenters, waiters, bartenders, dishwashers, painters, real estate brokers and lawyers who claim the presumptive Republican presidential nominee never fully paid them for their work.
According to U.S. Department of Labor data, the network found that since 2005, Trump’s companies were cited for 24 violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act for failing to pay minimum wage or overtime. Those citations were resolved, with the companies agreeing to pay back wages.
The network found 60 lawsuits and more that 200 mechanic’s liens – some dating back to the 1980s. One lien claimed that 253 subcontractors weren’t paid in full or on time for Trump’s Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Another suit, settled last month, granted 48 servers at Trump’s National Doral Miami golf resort back pay for putting in 20-hour days during a 10-day Passover event.
While the 69-year-old businessman and his companies have prevailed or settled in many missing payment legal disputes, the network says the claims “raise questions about Trump’s judgment as a businessman, and as a potential commander in chief.”
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In response to the claims, Trump told the network that if he’s not happy with the quality of the work, he won’t pay the worker in full.
“Let’s say that they do a job that’s not good, or a job that they didn’t finish, or a job that was way late – I’ll deduct from their contract, absolutely,” Trump said. “That’s what the country should be doing.”
The statement was in stark contrast to the words Trump said during his election night victory speech on Tuesday.
“No matter who you are, we’re going to protect your job,” Trump said Tuesday. “Because let me tell you, our jobs are being stripped from our country like we’re babies.”
Later in the piece, Trump stood by his words despite the large number of lawsuits he’s endured. “We pay everybody what they’re supposed to be paid, and we pay everybody on time,” he said. “And we employ thousands and thousands of people. OK?”
His daughter Ivanka Trump, who is the Executive Vice President of Development & Acquisitions at the Trump Organization, added that the disputes shouldn’t tarnish Trump’s success rate.
“We have hundreds of millions of dollars of construction projects underway,” she said. “And we have, for the most part, exceptional contractors on them who get paid, and get paid quickly. It would be irresponsible if my father paid contractors who did lousy work. And he doesn’t do that.”
This isn’t the first time Trump’s business practices have come under fire. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton recently weighed in on the the controversy surrounding the businessman’s now-defunct school.
“He is trying to scam America the way he scammed all those people at Trump University,” she said. “His own employees testified Trump U. was a fraudulent scheme where Donald Trump enriched himself at the expense of hard-working people.”