U.S. News

Trump's longtime driver sues for several years of unpaid overtime

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York man who said he was Donald Trump’s personal driver for more than 20 years sued the U.S. president’s company on Monday, claiming he was not paid for thousands of hours of overtime.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump sits in a limousine as he departs jury duty at Manhattan Supreme Court in New York August 17, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

Noel Cintron, 59, said the Trump Organization has not paid him for 3,300 hours of overtime in the last six years or given him a “meaningful” raise for 12 years.

The Trump Organization said Cintron was paid fairly.

Cintron is seeking damages that his lawyer said could reach $400,000, including punitive damages and sums for federal and state labor law violations.

The unpaid overtime alone totaled more than $178,000, at $54.09 per hour, and could have been higher but for a statute of limitations, the complaint said.

“In an utterly callous display of unwarranted privilege and entitlement and without even a minimal sense of noblesse oblige President Donald Trump has, through the defendant entities, exploited and denied significant wages to his own longstanding personal driver,” the complaint said.

The Trump Organization disagreed. “Mr. Cintron was at all times paid generously and in accordance with the law,” a spokeswoman said in an email. “Once the facts come out we expect to be fully vindicated in court.”

Donald Trump was not named as a defendant.

The lawsuit filed with the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan adds to a long list of litigation targeting the president or his businesses.

Cintron said he drove for Trump, his family members and his businesses for more than a quarter century, averaging 50 to 55 hours weekly, and joined Trump’s security staff after the Secret Service took over driving responsibilities in 2016.

He said his salary was raised to $68,000 in 2006 and then to $75,000 in 2010, but the latter increase required him to surrender health benefits. Cintron said this saved Trump $17,866 in annual health insurance premiums.

Larry Hutcher, a lawyer for Cintron, said his client had not sued sooner because he had been unaware of his rights, and that it was “regrettable” a lawsuit became necessary.

“It’s ironic that President Trump, who portrays himself as an advocate of the working man, doesn’t see fit to pay his own driver a fair wage,” Hutcher said in an interview.

The case is Cintron v Trump Organization LLC et al, New York State Supreme Court, New York County, No. 653424/2018.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Susan Thomas and David Gregorio