Saturday, September 1, 2012

Del Paso Country Club drops undocumented workers after ICE audit - Sacramento Bee

The Del Paso Country Club â€" the exclusive playground of Sacramento's elite for nearly a century â€" has terminated 13 undocumented employees identified by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The invitation-only club at 3333 Marconi Ave., featuring a championship golf course, fitness center, pools and dining room, had been audited by ICE, said general manager Bob Kunz.

The terminated undocumented workers represented "a broad range across the club," Kunz said, including food and beverage workers, groundskeepers and employees working at the fitness center and the administrative offices.

Kunz said only 13 of 110 workers audited couldn't provide legal documents. They "either chose to leave or were terminated," Kunz said, adding that ICE didn't levy any penalties against the 150- acre club that has hosted national golf tournaments since it opened in 1916.

The club was originally part of the 44,000-acre Rancho Del Paso, established under Mexican rule in 1844. In 1859, James Ben Ali Haggin and Lloyd Tevis transformed it from a cattle ranch and farm into a breeding ground for thoroughbreds, including 1886 Kentucky Derby winner Ben Ali.

By the end of June, ICE had initiated 2,196 nationwide inspections of worker eligibility forms known as I-9s in fiscal year 2012, said spokeswoman Virginia Kice. "Since the 1980s, all employers are required to keep I-9s for their workers."

The ICE audits are triggered by tips from the public, other employers, ex-employees or law enforcement agents, Kice said, adding that unless ICE can prove the employers had prior knowledge that they were hiring undocumented workers, no enforcement action is taken.

"Our pingpong ball came up," said Kunz, who gave no details about those terminated. "We've wrapped up the matter and we're moving forward."

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Call The Bee's Stephen Magagnini, (916) 321-1072.

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