QuickTime™ and a
TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor
are needed to see this picture. October 25, 2007
Web first, page 1A the next day
Gov. Blunt sued over canceled
As an editor for the past year, I do not get to write as often as I’d like. But I
volunteered for this story one evening that it landed on my editor’s desk.
This was published online first, as soon as the lawsuit was filed, and we were
the first news organization to cover the story.
I have become familiar with the intricacies of immigration and discrimination
issues managing ¡Adelante!, a bilingual magazine dedicated to the Hispanic
community of mid-Missouri.
For pdfs, more breaking news stories and more about ¡Adelante!, e-mail me
Gov. Blunt sued over canceled
A business owner says his state contracts were terminated unfairly.
By ISABELLE ROUGHOL
A business owner who lost his state contracts after an immigration raid is
suing Gov. Matt Blunt, two state agencies and their directors for breach of
contract and violation of the businessman’s constitutional rights.
The suit, filed Thursday morning, also challenges Blunt’s authority on
immigration enforcement and alleges racial discrimination against the
plaintiff, a native African who is a naturalized U.S. citizen.
K. “Sam” Asamoah-Boadu, the owner of Sam’s Janitorial Services in
Jefferson City, alleges in the suit that the governor and state agencies
overstepped the boundaries of state and federal law when they terminated
his contracts to clean several state buildings in the capital and barred him
from bidding on other state contracts.
“It was basically putting an end to him professionally,” said David Moen,
Asamoah-Boadu’s lawyer, who filed the suit in Cole County Circuit Court.
The lawsuit was filed against Blunt; the State of Missouri Office of Admin
istration; its commissioner, Michael Keathley; the Division of Purchasing and
Materials Management; and its director, James Miluski. The suit seeks
reinstatement of Asamoah-Boadu’s contracts, access to future contracts, “fair
and reasonable” actual damages and punitive damages.
Gov. Blunt’s office issued a statement Thursday afternoon defending the
governor’s actions against the contractor, which he said benefited
The Missouri Office of Administration terminated Asamoah-Boadu’s
contracts on March 6, after 25 of Sam’s Janitorial Services’ employees were
detained on suspicion of having false documentation in an immigration raid
by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, Capitol Police and
state law enforcement.
Eight of the 25 employees were indicted in federal court on charges of
possessing false Social Security numbers and identification cards. Four were
found guilty or pleaded guilty over the summer, according to the lawsuit.
“There’s no evidence at all, absolutely none, that Sam knew anything,”
Moen said. “Lo and behold, four (employees) had fraudulently made
documents that were really well made because they had fooled everybody.”
Asamoah-Boadu provided the Division of Purchasing and Capitol Police with
copies of Social Security and Alien Registration cards for all non-U.S. citizen
employees, the suit states. The agencies approved all employees and never
raised any questions about their immigration status, according to the lawsuit.
The suit also challenges the legality of Blunt’s enforcing immigration law
and issuing an executive order that allows the state to take action against
contractors who employ illegal immigrants, knowingly or not.
“States don’t have the right to decide who immigrates to the U.S.; the
federal government does. (Blunt) has decided that he’s going to enforce a
new standard,” Moen said. “It would not be his windmill to joust with.”
Asamoah-Boadu also alleges he has been discriminated against because he
was born in Ghana and is black, and because he chose to associate with
Hispanics. His contracts, once terminated, were given to B&G Cleaning, a
business that once hired three of the four workers convicted of using false
documentation, the lawsuit states.
A phone call made to the Kansas City-based parent company of B&G
Cleaning was not immediately returned.
“The contractor who had employed these illegals previously, the governor
gives this contract to,” Moen said. “This really is a hypocritical approach to
Moen said he and his client fear the Sam’s Janitorial Services case will
reinforce discrimination against Hispanic workers.
“What you’re basically creating is a situation where nobody that’s a
contractor in the state of Missouri is going to hire any Hispanics,” Moen said.
“Who’s going to take that risk? If you hire a bunch of Hispanics, they’re going
to come after you.”