Skip to comments.Syngenta, other ag companies sued for RICO violations (Boise, Idaho)
Posted on 07/27/2005 7:03:35 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Four major agricultural companies and a nonprofit organization were sued in federal court Wednesday by Canyon County commissioners, accused of conspiring to hire and harbor illegal immigrants.
The lawsuit in U.S. District Court contends the four companies - Modesto, Calif.-based Harris Moran Seed Co., Syngenta Seeds, Sorrento Lactalis and Swift Beef Co. - and the nonprofit Idaho Migrant Council have violated the federal Racketeering influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which was designed to target the mafia.
Canyon County in southwestern Idaho alleges it's been damaged by an "illegal immigrant hiring scheme," paying millions of dollars for health care and criminal-justice services for illegal workers allegedly employed by Syngenta at its Idaho plant.
The lawsuit marks the first time a government entity has used RICO to demand damages from businesses for the costs of allegedly illegal employees.
"Illegal immigration is not a victimless crime. It has cost Canyon County millions of dollars, and we expect to recover it," said Howard Foster, an attorney with the Chicago firm of Johnson & Bell who is representing the county. "I believe Canyon County will open the doors for other municipalities across the country to follow suit."
The lawsuit was spearheaded by Canyon County Commissioner Robert Vasquez, who is campaigning for U.S. Congress. A grandson of Mexican immigrants, Vasquez has made headlines taking on illegal immigration.
Canyon County is largely agricultural and many of its Latino residents work in the industry. About 19 percent of the county's 131,000 residents identify themselves as Hispanic, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Syngenta Seeds, division of Switzerland's Syngenta AG, is based in Golden Valley, Minn.; Sorrento Lactalis, a division of France's Groupe Lactalis, is based in Buffalo, N.Y.; and Swift Beef Co., is a division of Greeley-based Swift & Co.
In 2000, Foster was the first lawyer to bring to trial an immigration case using RICO. In that case, a Connecticut cleaning company was accused of hiring lower-paid illegal aliens to undercut the prices of competitors, represented by Foster. The case was resolved with a settlement paid by the defendant.
Foster also has three pending RICO lawsuits against Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson Foods in Tennessee; against Calhoun, Ga.-based Mohawk Carpets in Georgia; and Yakima, Wash.-based Zirkle Fruit Co. in Washington.
On the Net:
Swift & Co., http://www.swiftbrands.com
Sorrento Lactalis, http://www.sorrentocheese.com
Harris Moran, http://www.harrismoran.com
Good find Norm!!
Burn their bums!!
Unfortunately, Idaho falls under the jurisdiction of the ultra-liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. No judgment against these companies will stand, though maybe the Supreme Court would come to the rescue.
Normally I would agree with you, however it was the Ninth Circut that said the RICO act could be used to go after businesses that hire illegals.
I will say this much for the lawsuit, though- the discovery process should certainly reveal just how many of these companies' employees are illegal aliens. The law says an employer can't "knowingly" hire illegal aliens, though they use the fake social security ruse.
Hopefully, this lawsuit will expose how many of these companies' employees are illegal, and then the company will have no choice but to fire them.
RE: The lawsuit was spearheaded by Canyon County Commissioner Robert Vasquez, who is campaigning for U.S. Congress. A grandson of Mexican immigrants, Vasquez has made headlines taking on illegal immigration.
Anyone know much about this dude? Is he any good? A GOPer?
"Normally I would agree with you, however it was the Ninth Circut that said the RICO act could be used to go after businesses that hire illegals."
Wow- did a quick Westlaw search and you are correct. The case is Mendoza v. Zirkle Fruit, 301 F.3d 1163 (9th Cir. 2002). The case indicated the Second Circuit has approved these as well.
This may be a profitable line of attack.
"Anyone know much about this dude? Is he any good? A GOPer?"
He's a Republican. He seems like a bit of a demogogue to be honest (he made some remark about the Mexican flag showing a "chicken with a worm in its mouth") but the enemy of my enemy (illegal immigration) is my friend. He's fighting the fight so I'm behind him though he's just a county commissioner who doesn't appear very eloquent or smart.
In this article from this thread he says....I've got an American flag hanging in my office, not the Mexican chicken-and-worm or whatever it is,''
Can we sue the Sate of California and the US federal government for harboring illegal immigrants since both these entities refuse to do anything about the 12 million illegals from Mexico living in the US...?
Yes I do, he is not only a friend of mine he is what I would consider a Reagan Republican. We are proud members of the 11th Cav; Robert serving in Vietnam is a decorated combat veteran. I'm a 25 year decorated 11th Cav. CW0-4 pilot and we are both of Hispanic decent. I'm a spokesman for Chris Simcox of the Minuteman HQ / Minuteman project. I was there last week when the suit was filled and I was a key note speaker at his first fund raiser in Boise.
If you feel as passionate as Robert and I do about the illegal alien issue and the pending problems that will affect Idaho as it does my home state of California, you should keep an eye out for Robert as he runs for congress and help him out by donating what you can to his campaign. Since the Republican Party does not and will not support him, we need to put him in office. Here is a link to his website http://vasquezforidaho.org/
Here is a link a news link to my support for Robert http://www.idahopress.com/articles/2005/07/27/news/news3.txt
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