Employer that is caught hiring undocumented...sells business
- Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 21:25:09 -0700 (PDT)
From: Rosalio Munoz <rosalio_munoz@...>
Subject: More Main Street USA, South Carolina
From South Carolina
Attorneys seek to freeze assets of staffing agencies' owners
Father, son accused in illegal immigrant labor case sold property after
suit was filed
BY JAMES SCOTT
Of The Post and Courier Staff
Attorneys suing a Charleston employment agency accused of profiting off
illegal immigrant labor are trying to freeze the owners' assets after
discovering Lawton Limehouse and his son have disposed of nearly a
half-million dollars in real estate.
Attorneys with the Hulsey Litigation Group filed a request for a
temporary restraining order late Friday in federal court, citing Limehouse's
recent $280,000 sale of property in Hollywood. Records show his son,
Lawton Limehouse Jr., who also is a defendant, gave his West Ashley home
to his wife. Both transactions occurred after the class action suit was
filed in April.
The men owned and operated L&L Services LLC and WLL LLC, two temporary
staffing agencies that provided as many as 500 workers a year to
prominent area golf courses, restaurants and construction sites. Both
businesses have since shut down and are the focus of a federal investigation.
Paul Hulsey, founding partner of the Wharfside Street law firm in
downtown Charleston, said he hopes to persuade a judge to bar the Limehouses
from disposing of any other assets that could be subject to a verdict
when the case goes to trial. He said a hearing on the order is expected
Limehouse's attorney, John Massalon of the Meeting Street firm Wills &
Massalon, declined to comment Monday. For his part, Massalon filed a
motion Thursday asking a judge to stall the discovery phase of the civil
suit based on the fact that federal postal inspectors seized all
business documents in a May raid on the elder Limehouse's home in West
Ashley. Massalon wrote in the motion that he has tried unsuccessfully to get
copies of his client's seized records.
The federal lawsuit, brought on behalf of six Mexican workers, accuses
the Limehouses' businesses of making fake Social Security and green
cards, cheating workers out of overtime pay and housing them in rundown
properties, several of which were condemned by city inspectors.
Limehouse, who along with his son could not be reached for comment Monday, have
denied the allegations in court filings.
If granted, the restraining order would bar the father and son from
selling or disposing of any personal or business assets without first
getting a judge's permission. It also would forbid the destruction of any
possible evidence, ranging from pay stubs and employee records to
To support their argument that the order is needed, attorneys attached
real estate records showing that on May 13, younger Limehouse gave his
home at 2410 Sylvan Shores Drive to his wife for $1 and "love and
affection." County records show the couple purchased the home off Savannah
Highway in 1988 for $100,000. The county now values the three-bedroom,
two-bath house at $139,500 for tax purposes. The following day, property
records show the elder Limehouse sold four vacant lots in Hollywood for
a combined $280,000, $40,000 less than what he paid for the properties
in August 2002.
Attorneys have said one goal of the suit, which also lists yet-to-be
named restaurants, hotels and golf courses that used L&L Services, is to
establish a fund to compensate victimized workers. Hulsey said Monday
that his office is close to naming some Lowcountry businesses in the
suit, but before doing so plans to call a meeting with those companies.
"This is a community problem," Hulsey said. "I hope that I can sit down
with these companies and we can all find a way to resolve this."
Marco Torres, an attorney with the Hulsey Litigation Group handling the
case, added that the suit also will be amended soon to include nine new
plaintiffs, bringing the total involved to 15.
"Our goal is for this lawsuit to encompass all former employees who
have been injured, who weren't paid regular wages and former employees who
weren't paid overtime," Torres said. "Hopefully the lawsuit will
eventually cover them all."
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The news is to be reported not to sway opinion. No more melodrama of constant entertainment trivia on news time. The founding fathers knew that government is always corrupt, that is why they gave us civil liberties. The people must lead to survive corrupt governments. Read the constitution. (In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this includes information for research and educational purposes.) Al Soto (c) 2004
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