Author, radio host, and TV personality Lou Dobbs – who ended his long career at CNN this past November with an $8 million severance pay package – made his name in public life by railing against undocumented immigrants. Dobbs has always reserved special derision for illegal employers, who he says are “acting against the national interests, acting against the law in every respect.”
Now, a new investigation by journalist Isabel Macdonald for The Nation Magazine has found that the notorious pundit “has relied for years on undocumented labor for the upkeep of his multimillion-dollar estates and the horses he keeps for his 22-year-old daughter, Hillary, a champion show jumper.” Macdonald interviewed five immigrants who were undocumented at the time they were employed by Dobbs to do work at his “sprawling white mansion on his 300-acre estate in Sussex, New Jersey” and ” spacious multimillion-dollar winter holiday home in Eagle Isle, the most exclusive enclave of the Ibis Golf and Country Club, a gated community in West Palm Beach, Florida.”
At one point during the investigation, Macdonald asked an undocumented worker she refers to under the psuedonym “Pedro Gomez” if he believes that the Dobbs family knew that many of the workers they were hiring were undocumented. Gomez replied that he believed at least Hillary Dobbs knew, and that the stable owner at the Dobbs estate definitely knew “that some people didn’t have papers…and had even taken precautions to keep the workers away from the immigration agents who often patrol the areas around horse shows.”
Interestingly, when Macdonald reached out to Dobbs and the contractor that does the landscaping for his estate in West Palm Beach, both repeatedly dodged any questions about the subject. Dobbs refused to comment on the piece and said through his attorney that he would only answer questions “if posed on his live radio show.” The owner of the landscaping company said he “didn’t feel comfortable talking” about the status of the workers on the property he worked on:
Responding to The Nation’s request for comment from Lou Dobbs, Chad Wilkinson, producer of The Lou Dobbs Show, said by e-mail that “Lou will not be commenting for the piece.” Dobbs’s attorney, Robert Zeller, clarified by e-mail that Dobbs would only answer questions if posed on his live radio show. (The Nation agreed to appear on the show but only after publication of this article.)
I asked Mike Sedlak, the owner of Sedlak Landscaping, the contractor that maintains the grounds on Dobbs’s West Palm Beach property, whether Dobbs has ever inquired about the status of his employees. Sedlak said only, “I don’t feel comfortable talking about it,” and quickly got off the phone.
The Nation produced a video to illustrate Dobbs’s long history of hypocrisy attacking undocumented immigrants and those who employ them. Watch it: