State rep files official complaint over convention center workers

Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 4:57pm

State Rep. Mike Turner officially filed a complaint with the Tennessee Department of Labor on Thursday morning that alleges the chief contractor for Nashville’s new convention center has employed illegal immigrants.

In the complaint, Turner said “confidential conversations with individuals working on the [Music City Center] job site” have revealed that the Bell/Clark construction team is employing “illegal alien workers” to perform services on the site.

“While I am not employed at the job site and do not have the ability to personally verify these allegations, I know the persons who have witnessed the employment of illegal aliens at the convention center job site and know that they are credible individuals,” Turner said in the complaint.

Turner, who serves as the House Democratic Caucus Chair, has called for the state labor department to conduct an inquiry to determine whether the people working are illegal immigrants to the United States and qualified to work at the 16-acre convention center site.

Turner goes further in the complaint, citing two previous instances he claims suggest the Bethesda, Md.-based Clark Construction has a “history of hiring illegal aliens.” He attached two newspaper articles that he said backs up the allegation, the most recent of which is two years old.

“Assuming that the articles describe the same company, they further support the evidence I have gathered, which strongly suggests that illegal aliens have been hired for work on the convention center project,” Turner said in the complaint.

Clark Construction has teamed with Nashville-based Bell & Associates Construction in overseeing construction for Music City Center. The joint company’s contract is with Metro’s Convention Center Authority.

Mayor Karl Dean, who led the Metro Council’s approval of the $585 million facility in January, said yesterday that Turner should share “real information” pertaining to illegal immigrants working on the job site if he has it.

8 Comments on this post:

By: JeffF on 7/15/10 at 3:40

Wow a Democratic legislator on the warpath with one of the contractors being a big-time Democratic party donor and receiver of largess. Bell better watch out, there will not be a Democratic governor for a long, long time so all those road projects and University of Tennessee projects are about to dry up. They sure don't want to be fired from the MCC.

By: pswindle on 7/15/10 at 5:17

This goes back to Dean, he lied about hiring local people and not illegals.

By: robowayne on 7/16/10 at 7:48

Well, looks like Turner called Mayor Dean's bluff.
Ask and ye shall receive, Mayor Dean!
Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

By: morpheus120 on 7/16/10 at 8:18

And let's not forget what Karl Dean said to the CityPaper when he was first asked about this:

"Just saying that, ‘I’ve been down there and I saw some people I thought might not be ...’” continued Dean, stopping short of finishing the sentence. “I don’t understand that.”

Duh! Even the Mayor knows that illegals are being hired and he got caught admitting it. Why the hell is Dean not being pressed on this more? If he suspects a crime is being committed, doesn't he of all people need to investigate?!?

By: 117_acres on 7/16/10 at 8:53


Mayor Dean was quoting what Mike Turner had said previously. Turner while on duty with the fire department responded to a call at the site and obviously saw some Latinos working on the site. Mayor Dean is just saying you have to base whether or not someone is illegal on more than just the way the look.

This is just a opportunity for Union man Mike Turner to shake down some of the NON-Union Contractors working on the Music City Center. This is what Unions do to Non-Union workers and Contractors.

By: gdiafante on 7/16/10 at 1:48

Still no concrete evidence, just "someone told me" and articles from two years ago.

Wake me up when something significant happens.

By: SRJ on 7/16/10 at 2:15

This sounds a little like a "witch-hunt" to me. You cannot identify who is legal and who is not.... in once glance of the eye. I agree with "gdiafante", this is based on what someone has stated to someone else, I want to see something credible. This is not credible, in my opinion.

By: idgaf on 7/16/10 at 7:22

They cleared the case quicker then it took him to write it.

This town/state is so corrupt. Even the feds are in bed with them.