Russell Pearce Supporter Matt Tolman Sued for Back Pay by Undocumented Worker

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The lavanderia where Estrada said she worked for Matt Tolman for several years

Matt Tolman, chairman of the pro-Russell Pearce, anti-recall group Citizens Who Oppose the Pearce Recall, is infamous for putting out placards in Mesa alleging that pro-recall organizer Randy Parraz "opposes the rule of law," but a lawsuit by one of Tolman's former employees alleges that Tolman may have his own issues with the law.

The complaint filed in Maricopa County Downtown Justice court by 46 year-old Martha Elena Estrada, claims that Tolman owes the undocumented immigrant close to $8,000 in back pay for her work as a laundress at coin laundry owned by Tolman and his wife.

Estrada, a small woman with large brown eyes and a chirrupy voice, sat down with me Friday at New Times' offices with her lawyer Salvador Ongaro, who acted as translator. She said she worked at the small lavanderia on the northeast corner of 3rd Avenue and Buckeye Road for several years from 2004 to late 2010, cleaning clothes, as well as towels, drapes and tablecloths from local hotels. 

"Tolman was my boss," she said in Spanish after identifying Tolman from a photo on his Facebook page. "He paid me and told me what to do."

Her lawsuit includes several checks she received from 3rd Avenue Laundry, LLC, the corporate entity formed by Tolman and his spouse. She said no pay stubs accompanied them, and there was no withholding, as far as she knew.

Problem is, Estrada says her checks did not include payment for the overtime she did for Tolman. She stated that she worked for minimum wage, sometimes 10 or 12 hours a day, often six or seven days a week, without vacations or holidays.

When she left Tolman's employ, she estimates that he owed her as much as $12,000. Estrada says she confronted Tolman about the money he owed her early this year. Tolman asked her how much she wanted.

"I said, `I'll make this easy and simple,'" she recalled of the conversation at Tolman's business. "Pay me $7,000, and it'll be done."

She said Tolman initially accepted, but then reneged seconds later.

"He said he wasn't going to pay me, that I had no right to anything," Estrada stated.

When she left, she said Tolman followed her for several blocks in his vehicle, so close that he almost hit her. She stopped at a Circle K, and he eventually abandoned his pursuit.

According to Estrada, Tolman knew she was undocumented, and also knew that another woman who worked for him was also in the country without papers. He once asked Estrada for her Social Security Number, but she told him she didn't have one. She said he never asked why, but did have her sign some paperwork that Tolman said was for the IRS.

She says Tolman, who is apparently fluent in Spanish, referred to women such as herself as mojada, the Spanish term for "wetback," and indocumentada, or "undocumented." 

"He said the women, the wetbacks, just come here to have children," she remembered Tolman saying one time. "I told him I didn't come here just to have children."

Estrada related that she's been in the country for about 10 years, and is originally from Mexico. She began work at the Phoenix location before Tolman, who owns another laundry in Mesa and sits on the board of the Arizona Coin Laundry Association, acquired it.

I asked her if Tolman ever threatened her.

"He never threatened me directly," she said. "But he did say to other girls who worked for him that he would set immigration on them."

Estrada's original pro per complaint, filed in March of this year, states of Tolman, "I was very afraid of him, that is why I never complaint [sic]. He followed me in his truck, and was harassing me because I complain to him about my pay."

Tolman did not reply to my several attempts to reach him via phone, Facebook, and e-mail. So I paid a couple of visits to the laundry at 1023 S. Third Avenue. Tolman was never present, and the place seemed unsupervised on Friday evening and early this Saturday morning. 

The laundry is in a Latino section of Phoenix. Uptempo Spanish tunes blare from the laudromat's speakers. The signs are all bilingual. Free Spanish publications sit near the window. 

A few blocks to the west on Buckeye is a local hospital are medical facilities with signs in Spanish and English. Go east on Buckeye and you'll soon pass the headquarters of the Latino advocacy group Chicanos Por La Causa, once the subject of an infamous raid by Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

I did reach Ed Phillips, a spokesman for Senator Pearce's campaign, who received $2,500 from Tolman's anti-recall group according to CWOPR's recent campaign finance report. He declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying only that he knew nothing of it.

If Estrada's tale is true then the irony of Tolman's actions is obvious, particularly considering his unwavering support of state Senate President Russell Pearce, political progenitor not only of the state's harsh immigration statute Senate Bill 1070, but also of Arizona's employer-sanctions law.

Worse in my mind is the allegation that Tolman stiffed an employee on her back pay.

"I think the $8,000 is less than I'm owed, but the money would be important for the education of my daughter," Estrada offered.

Indeed, in these tough times, who can afford to lose eight grand?

If Tolman responds to any the messages I've left with him, I'll update this blog post. You can read the entire Estrada complaint, here.

Note: Oblivious Cortex below is correct that the location I saw is no longer a hospital. Was once Phoenix Memorial, and is still labeled as such. On site are medical offices and a family health care clinic. Verified this Monday morning, November 7. Thanks for lookin' out, OC.



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121 comments
American_pride
American_pride

I call bullshit. Lying pepper belly bitch. He'll pay what he owes only if there's a remaining balance after you pay back for all your hospital ER visits for having your anchor mongrels, any welfare or assistance either of you received, etc, etc, etc That shit wasn't free for the legitimate tax paying LEGAL citizens. So, after you pay that back, if it's less than $7300, then he should pay you the difference, maybe. If he feels like it.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

I say we get a bunch of nativists out there to to 3rd Ave and Buckeye right now and cause a ruckus with signs, mixing with nazis, shooting off their guns and peeing in public and all that other stuff they do when they have their rallies. 

This would be a perfect situation to file a lawsuit against a law enforcement agency which refuses to enforce anti-immigration law (the employer sanctions act)!  I believe the judge left those items in SB1070 intact right? 

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Any pressers yet from MCSO about their posse investigation into Employer Sanction Law violations by Matt Tolman.

Should be a piece of cake.

All the needed evidence for probable cause seems to be present in the civil filing.

Come ON, Nickel Joe, this one is right up YOUR alley.

Bobby
Bobby

I don't agree with illegal immigration(surprise) or illegal aliens taking advantage of this nations laws in any way,. But just on a humane basis, any man that hires another man and agrees to pay him for his work, then doesn't, is lower than pond scum.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Not a good couple of days for Mr. Tolman and I don't think the future is looking very bright, either. The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

Nice job, Mr. Lemons.

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abel
abel

Tax Evasion anyone?

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

Failed Lincoln Savings Mogul Charles Keating was also a two-faced SOB.  While not corrupting our elected officials (John McCain) he was busy telling everyone through his  Citizens for Decent Literature the pornography was "no good" and should be abolished by laws which violated the U.S. Constitution's prohibitions against the government limiting the freedom of speech of its citizens. 

Much like Keating, Tolman is a conservative, a two-faced lying SOB, and an advocate of the dismantling of our Constitutional rights (in the case of SB1070 - the right of citizens to be free of unreasonable search by government paid "I was just following orders" NAZI assholes).  And much like Keating, who has probably the LARGEST collection of porn in the world and shows it off in private parties, Tolman also did exactly the opposite of what he said he believed in. 

wherewasi
wherewasi

I was getting to the point where I didn't think that anything coming from the Pearce camp could surprise me.  I was wrong.  

Matt Tolman violating employer sanction laws and soon to be in hot water with the IRS and AZDOR.  Priceless!

Adrian Cruz
Adrian Cruz

So Pearce's biggest supporter is an illegal alien employing welch who takes pictures of his 14 year old daughter's ass and posts it on Facebook?  Nice friends, Russ. 

Adrian Cruz
Adrian Cruz

Were Petition Pros paid in quarters for gathering Olivia Cortes' signatures?  That's got Tolman's chubby little fingerprints all over it.  Tolman and Pearce have a lot of experience at laundering things....

Rcrowell12
Rcrowell12

Amazing how just about everyone of these Repubs either has committed a criminal or civil violation or will in the future.

guest
guest

Russell can work for him starting Wednesday.

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

With Tuesday staring us in the face, I think a lot of us have been speculating how this is bad for Tolman.  Between now and Tuesday, we need to consider that no matter what the employment situation of this woman was with Tolman's business, it is clear from the cancelled checks that one of Russell Pearce's closet political cronies was conducting business with an undocumented person.  So I ask, "What was the money for?"

Was it for labor as a contractor?

Was it for labor as an employee?

Was it to smuggle additional illegal immigrants into the country?

Was it for drugs?

Was it for sex?

Was it for child support, as in hush money?

I doubt that a Pearce loyalist gave money to an illegal immigrant for no reason at all.  If he, as Russell Pearce is, all about the Rule of Law, then surely there must be a good legal reason for the checks that Tolman wrote to her.

Our Senate President would surely like to get to the bottom of this, just like he jumped to get to the bottom of the Scott Bundgaard assault situation.  We are a nation of laws.  Please Russell, show us that nothing against the Rule of Law has happened here.

One final thought:  We have Tolman's cancelled checks.  We are still waiting on Russell's. 

One more final thought.  If these payments were for sex, this lady may be able to claim rape since Tolman stopped payment on one or more of the checks. 

WhoKnows
WhoKnows

What will Pearce do at 10pm on Tues?

a) Be an adult and conceed the race

b) Call Arpaio and ask if he can borrow the tank on Wednesday

wtf
wtf

I FUCKING HATE REPUBLICANS!!!

Yourproductsucks
Yourproductsucks

From the rooftops...All secrets shall be revealed. Shame comes upon those that say one thing and do another.

Tina
Tina

Oh boy, I remember that....Keating's "Citizens for Decency Through Law."  That was a long time ago.  There was even a spinoff of that with some Mesa downtown businesses either being pressured or voluntarily buying into a supposed self-regulating organization called the "Mesa Decency Coalition."  These downtown businesses touted "membership" with a large rosette shaped red,white & blue decal in their storefront window, with the words "Mesa Decency Coalition"  running down the two ribbons of the rosette decal.  

Definitely, the actions by Matt Tolman draw a stong parallel to the actions by Keating. 

Also, how about "Patriots for Pearce"?   Nice and "pure" name, huh?  For the guy who talks the talk while he does everything imaginable to make chopped liver out  of our U.S. Constitution.  "I'm a patriot."  "I'm a patriot."  Same goes for his disdain and misstating the provisions of the Arizona Constitution.....but only when it applies to him.  The "Patriots" who sponsored a fundraising dinner for him last summer were all lobbyists.  It was payback time.  

Bnbk
Bnbk

That is a great comparison.

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

You can learn a lot about a person by the company they keep.

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

It is ok to commit crimes if it is for the good of the party or yourself.

Tina
Tina

I doubt if she would have filed the lawsuit were it for anything other than what she said, work at the laundry and doing those things she said she did.  The copies of the checks she provided show that they were written two and three weeks apart.   Nevertheless, weasel & hypocrite Tolman could still be asked those questions you pose....after inquiries made to Estrada.

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

C) Call Jan "Drunk Puppet" Brewer and tell her to fire the head of the committee that counted the votes for 'substantial neglect of duty' and 'gross misconduct in office' and call the election invalid so he can stay in office and continue sucking on the taxpayers tit as he has done his entire life.

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

I think he will organize a recall against Jerry Lewis.

Stacy
Stacy

Demand a recount.. he's such a cry baby that he'll allege that non-citizens voted and demand a recount.  He's such a loser!   Any takers on this?  I'm putting $5 on this claim.

American_pride
American_pride

Don't worry-republicans hate your mother and father. As a matter of fact, they sterilized his sack with radiation levels comparable to Chernobyl and filled your mothers pussy with democratic concrete(that means its likely to fail) then allowed a gang of 20 illegals to show you what her ass and mouth were used for.

cannondax
cannondax

You must be pretty miserable.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Ummm....hmmmm.... I have to wonder if that was a subliminal Watergate reference... hmmmm

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

I agree Tina.  I was just brainstorming on what he could have paid her for if not as an employee for his laundry.

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

Gerry, you mean he is going to call his corporate friends and out of State supporters to organize a recall of Jerry Lewis?  because that imbecile can not even organize his sock drawer.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

I'm with you, Stacy. He will exhaust any and all legal remedies, and then try to convince a court of some new law that simply doesn't exist. Just like the MCSO shurf did when he came up with "a new law no one knew about", that some jerkwad right wingers added to existing law, to make it appear to be valid.

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

Im with you on that Stacy, I'll put up $95 to make it an even $100.

Kari Hope
Kari Hope

No, in fact "wtf" is right on the money. I'd say you're the miserable party.

Jason
Jason

I'll contribute $50 to the pot...

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

 You're a proven liar - you admit it ("a figure of speech" as in "not meant to be a factual statement").  You're also a PUTZ and wear adult diapers - yeah I can call you names too.  You didn't even address the "Tory sensibilities" accusation - so I guess you are a traitor to our Republic and would side with a monarch over "The people" as in "We the People".

cannondax
cannondax

I imagine you are an expert at slamming shots. I have no doubt that your screen name has anything to do with firearms marksmanship. A true marksman keeps that kind of stuff to himself and kicks the crap out of his buddies on the range. Where do you get your stats? Grimms Fairy Tales?  "half the country" a figure of speech. If that offends you just slam another shot. According to Partisan Trends there are actually more Republicans than Democrats in the country, the remainder being made up of independent and other self named factions. As for your claim that there are fewer Republicans that hispanics in the country, what does that have to do with anything? You have been drinking too much. Take your idiotic sensibilities and go  back to.................. Well I won't pick on any other country as I'm sure you would be an embarrassment to them. Buh Bye moron.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

Republicants do not make up "half of the country".  At most they make up one-quarter of the VOTING public.  They are  SMALL minority, smaller than the hispanic population of this country for sure.  Take your Tory sensabilities and go back to England.

cannondax
cannondax

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha. I don't dispute  your "Fact" I have no doubt that WTF (that screen name is an entirely different topic) hates Republicans. I suspect Lonnie that you too hate Republicans. You don't know a thing about me. I am in "FACT" a very happy person. I have a job, I pay my bills, I pay my taxes. I have been married to the same woman for 29 years. I have 5 great sons that either work or go to school. They too contribute to society. I have 3 incredible grandchildren. I am one of the happiest people of the face of the planet.  "WTF" (again shaking my head about a very interesting screen name) on the other hand states that he "Fucking Hates Republicans". Hate is not an attribute that lends it's self to happiness or kindness or love. Hating half of the country has to be a miserable feeling. I truly feel bad for a person with so much hatred. It's a choice. So actually I don't feel bad for this pathetic "WTF" all I feel is contempt. I am guessing you fall into the same category. If I am misreading you................oh well never mind.

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