Breaking News Emails
An undocumented immigrant said that he was a caretaker at a shooting range co-owned by President Donald Trump’s eldest sons and that he worked without authorization at one of the president’s golf courses before he lost both jobs this year.
The caretaker, Juan Quintero, 42, told NBC News he worked at the Trump National Golf Club Hudson Valley in Hopewell Junction, New York, from 2000 until he lost his job in January, when the Trump properties took action to purge its employees who were working illegally. Trump acquired the golf course in 2009.
Quintero, who said he came to the U.S. from Mexico more than two decades ago, also said he worked at the Leather Hill Preserve hunting range in Wingdale, co-owned by Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and others, from 2016 until this year.
Quintero said he interacted directly with Eric Trump when he worked as a contractor at Leather Hill. He said he believed it was possible the president’s son knew he was not authorized to work in the U.S. — although he could not say for sure.
“As the son of the president, I think he's never going to say, ‘Oh I knew,’” Quintero said in Spanish. He said he never told Eric Trump he was undocumented and Trump never questioned him about it. “I think he knew, but I can't assure you 100 percent if he knew or not," Quinero added.
His employment for the Trump family was first reported by The Washington Post.
NBC News has reviewed documents showing Quintero's employment at the golf club and hunting range.
The Trump Organization did not respond to NBC News' requests for comment.
In a previous statement, Eric Trump — who, along with Donald Trump Jr., took over management of their father’s businesses — said the Trump Organization has “very strict” hiring practices for its “tens of thousands of employees.”
“If any employee submitted false documentation in an attempt to circumvent the law, they will be terminated immediately,” he said when NBC News reached out to him in January about reports that Trump National Golf Club employed undocumented workers.
Eric Trump told The Washington Post in late January that the company was instituting at all of its properties the use of E-Verify, a program allowing employers to check if new hires are legally able to work in the United States.
Quintero said when he was hired by the golf course’s previous owners, he presented them with false documents and “they never asked me if they were real or fake.”
When Trump took over the property, he was not questioned about his documents, he said.
Quintero said he was never asked to give documents to work for the hunting range.
In one text exchange dated from April of last year and shown to NBC News, a number matching Eric Trump’s phone texted Quintero. NBC News has not verified that the number belongs to Eric Trump.
“Juan — just checking in on the corn. It should be planted the first week of May. Are we ready? Also all the other fields?” the message from a contact listed as “Erik Boos” reads.
“Hope you are well!” reads the next message.
Quintero said he had a “good relationship” with Eric Trump, adding in Spanish: “He was happy with my work. There was good communication.”
In January, a representative from the golf club came to Quintero and told him he had provided documents that were not valid and that he had about 20 days to fix them, he said.
“I knew they weren’t good, so I had to go,” he said.
Quintero's attorney, Anibal Romero, told NBC News that he represents dozens of immigrant ex-employees of the Trump Organization and that those workers said many more were hired by the company over the years.
After The New York Times reported about undocumented housekeepers at a Trump golf course in December, the company began firing unauthorized workers.
NBC News has spoken with a dozen former workers at Trump golf courses who were in the country illegally. Ten immigrants who worked at Trump National Golf Club in New York were fired in January, the workers interviewed by NBC News and their lawyer said.
Quintero said he was speaking out now to show the president "more than anything" what kind of people he and the other immigrants who worked for him are — in contrast to the president's previous comments labeling undocumented immigrants as "criminals."
"So that he and all of the American people know that in reality, we contribute to the country," he said. "We are not a burden and we are not what he thinks."