Golf worker data is denied

Police requested immigrant forms

August 05, 2008|By Nicole Fuller | Nicole Fuller,Sun reporter

The company that manages two Anne Arundel County-owned golf courses did not provide police yesterday with personnel records sought after the county government began looking into the possibility that the firm might be employing illegal immigrants, officials said.

A vice president with Billy Casper Golf LLC, which manages the Compass Pointe Golf Course in Pasadena and the Eisenhower Golf Course in Crownsville, had sent a letter to the county attorney asserting that county police "presented no authority on which we could justify turning over private employment records." Company representatives met with police yesterday, officials said.

The county attorney said in a letter last month that officials had "grave concern" that the company might be employing illegal immigrants at the Pasadena course. The county has threatened to cut ties with contractors who employ illegal immigrants.

Dennis Callahan, the county's chief operating officer, questioned why Billy Casper Golf did not turn over the personnel documents, specifically the I-9 form, which the government uses to determine employment eligibility.

"I don't understand the delay," Callahan said yesterday. "If I were them, I would have had the documentation today. We're certainly not going to let this issue go. The administration is very serious about doing business only with companies that comply with federal and local regulations. We'll be pursuing it."

Joseph D. Livingood and Richard L. Katz, senior vice presidents at the company, did not return messages yesterday seeking comment on the meeting. Katz has said that the company is conducting an audit of employment records and is committed to following all laws.

A second meeting is planned for this week, Callahan said.

Acting on a tip, a county police detective met last month with the manager of the Pasadena golf course. That came nearly a year after County Executive John R. Leopold issued an executive order that requires businesses hired by the county to sign a contract swearing they do not employ people living in the country illegally and allows the county to end relationships with contractors in violation of the law.

After police visited the course, Billy Casper Golf officials held a meeting with their employees, several of whom did not return to work afterward, to discuss the police investigation, according to a letter from County Attorney Jonathan A. Hodgson.

They subsequently met with employees of the second county-owned course they manage, Eisenhower Golf in Crownsville, which also resulted in several workers quitting, Katz said yesterday.

Livingood, in a letter to Hodgson Friday, said company officials explained the situation to its employees to "decrease employee speculation, rumor, reduced productivity."

Livingood added, "We are required by law to protect the privacy interests of our employees and because [the county police] presented no authority on which we could justify turning over private employment records, we were not able to relinquish that information."

Sgt. Joseph Gilmer, a county police spokesman, confirmed that a meeting took place yesterday between Billy Casper Golf officials and county police, but declined to comment further.

Fred Schram, director of the county central services department, said Billy Casper Golf's contract ends on Dec. 31, 2013.

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