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The Story Of Golden State Fence Company (Now Fenceworks Inc)

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Golden State Fence Company Sign
A story that epitomizes what is wrong with our judicial system in this country regarding employers of illegal aliens, is the story of Golden State Fence Company. You may remember that Golden State Fence Company was the employer in southern California that hired illegal aliens to work on the Otay-Mesa border fence. Golden State Fence Company was busted in 1999, 2004 and again in 2005 for hiring illegal aliens. Some of the illegal aliens busted in earlier raids were on the payroll at later busts because owner Melvin Kay admits he just ignored the warnings from the federal government and rehired them. He didn't think it was a big deal.

Prosecutors are said to have found that a third of the 750 Golden State Fence Company employees were illegal aliens. In 2004 ICE agents found evidence that 368 of Golden State's employees had a "no match" on their Social Security Number to their name.

Kay was busted and prosecuted. In December 2006, the head of ICE, Julie Myers, tried to sound like she would be tough with Mel Kay and said "This settlement and guilty plea clearly show that employers who knowingly and blatantly hire illegal workers will pay dearly for such transgressions"

So how tough was the government on Mel Kay? In the end he received a plea agreement for the company to pay $5 million and he received 6 months of house arrest which allowed him to continue to work at the company. Yes, that is the kind of serious and harsh "paying dearly" that we should expect from our government on cracking down on employers of illegal aliens. People who are not competing on an even playing field with other businesses. People who are making a ton of cash illegally. People who are openly and arrogantly flaunting the law.

Melvin Kay, Federal Felon
Now in a story at the Washington Post the owner Mel Kay admits from virtually day one that he hired illegal aliens and then had those illegal employees recruit others. Golden State Fence Company was started in 1984 and by hiring illegal aliens it grew quickly. Kay caught a break in 1986 when President Reagan signed an amnesty for illegal aliens. Kay's employees benefited by becoming legal and Kay was off the hook for any potential previous violations.

It should be noted that last year's Senate amnesty bill would have also given a pass to all of the employers of illegal aliens over the past 2 decades. They would have received an amnesty, it was written right in the bill, and people like Melvin Kay who have been hiring illegal aliens for years, would have gotten away permanently with breaking federal law. Now you know another reason, other than cheap labor, that businesses are pushing so hard for an illegal alien amnesty.

But just like any criminal that gets away with a crime and faces no penalty, Kay went back to his tried and true business plan of making tons of money and running other companies out of business through using cheap illegal labor. His company eventually reached a peak revenue of $150 million a year. Exactly how many legitimate businesses he ruined along the way - and their owners - that were trying to follow the law will never be known. After all, hiring illegal aliens is a victimless crime according to people like Melvin Kay.

During the housing boom of the 90's Kay's business thrived and he hired more and more illegal aliens claiming he couldn't find Americans and legal residents to do the job. Kay also claims he paid workers $35,000 a year and increased their wages to $60,000 after 3 years with full benefits, but I find that hard to believe. Not that $35,000 in southern California is a lot of money with the high cost of living there, and I'm not alone in my disbelief. ICE agents also found it unbelievable that legal workers could not be found.

Kay admits that 75% of his workers are Hispanic. That is another problem that I would take up issue with, since I'm sure he is in violation of the Equal Employment Opportunity laws. On their website they state that the company is an Equal opportunity employer, but I find it simply hard to believe that with Hispanics making up only 14% of this country that his workforce is not more diverse simply due to the population diversity. Has he discriminated against any people based on race during hiring? Have his hiring managers? If this guy wasn't already an obvious crook who has been violating the law for more than two decades, I'd expect someone to look into that, but it's already quite obvious that this guy cares nothing about business ethics, America or American workers.

Melvin Kay Courthouse
The government rolled over though in its prosecution of Melvin kay. Even with obvious irrefutable evidence they struck a plea agreement with him. They recommended 6 months in prison. In March 2007 though things took a twist as U.S. District Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz sat on the case. This judge was a bleeding heart who thought that Melvin Kay took good care of his employees even if he repeatedly - and knowingly - broke federal laws over and over and over again.

"Are these the poster children for being the first ones to get jail time? I think the answer is no." Moskowitz said in his decision. He took pity on Melvin Kay and rather than make an example of Kay and send him to prison, he sentenced Kay to 6 months house arrest, which would allow Kay to continue running the fence company.

I would argue that yes, Melvin Kay is the poster child of employers that hire illegal aliens. He flaunts the law, makes a profit by beating his competition unfairly and does it for decades with no worries about justice ever catching up. While Kay pleaded guilty, his punishment just reinforced the beliefs of himself and other business owners, that in the end they will not have to face any justice or repercussions for their illegal actions.

Kay was removed from house arrest in September, 2007.

Since then Kay has renamed the business to Fenceworks Inc and is trying to build it up legitimately, but admits things aren't going as well as before. The federal government placed a ban on his business from receiving any future federal contracts. A ban which didn't last. Kay managed to get the federal government ban removed from his company in June, 2007 and went on to bid on portions of the border fence again - even while under house arrest!

Golden State Fence Company has gone from 750 employees down to 450. It has also seen lost revenue going from $150 million in sales at its peak to $42.2 million in recent statements. Kay blames his company's current slowdown on the down housing market.

But maybe Melvin Kay is finally receiving his just reward. By having to compete against businesses who are still employing illegal aliens.


Their contact information:
Website: www.goldenstatefence.com
Phone (Toll Free): 800.350.5620
Phone (Local): 951.788.5620
Email: info@goldenstatefence.com

Golden State Fence Company (Fenceworks Inc)
870 N. Main St
Riverside, CA

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Posted by Digger on January 16, 2008 01:13 AM (Permalink)

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Piece of Crap Government.
When will we ever get an administration that believes in laws and enforcement. When will they listen to us and the constitution.

Here in OK, it is our republicans in office that are preventing the building of prisons and enforcing truth in sentencing rules. It was the dems and a dem governor that signed the anti-illegal bill into law. The republican party has turned into the democrat party while the democrats have turned into socialists. Bad sign for our country.

Posted by: captainfish on January 23, 2008 12:15 AM

It's a huge mess! I just wonder how messed up it is in comparison to other times in US history.

Posted by: Fence Atlanta, GA on December 1, 2008 03:45 PM

Ok, at first in the article i didn't agree with you, however i gave you the chance,and read on. I worked for the company for years, never called in sick, I showed up everyday. I never complained about the job no matter how hard it got. I climbed the latter fast at the company. My first year i started of as a helper on a pay scale of 35%/65%....i made 35% of are daily earnings. Still i never complained. Then i became a foreman, with my own truck and my own helper.....I only agreed to a 50/50 earning, for it was only fare. then i became a cust. servive repair man for them doing easier jobs, but was told this would be my first foot in the office.....I was given a raise form $10 dollers to $15 dollars or about $32,000 a year. I liked it. I did this position for some time pulling 8-12 hour days, never complained. Finally i got that big break, I was promoted to inside sales, but was told i had reached the top of the pay scale at $15 dollars, they will not pay me more. Still I never complained.....so i did sales, and i was very good at it, i had a long list of clients that would only talk to me. Well after about a year in sales and only $32,000 dollars a year i was informed that they weren't paying me my cut of the monthly sales earnings, and that once all my INVOICES REACHED THE BACK OFFICE'S AT MY LOCATION, THE SALES MANAGER, AND ASSISTANT SALES MANAGER WHERE CHANGING MY NAME ON THE INVOICES TO EITHER OF THERE'S. this was they received all the credit for my work as well as my F-ING commision. So i asked them about it, there answer was that i dont get payed commision until ive reached a certain dollar amount which i had done many months prior. After that i began to notice many wrong things in the compnay........thousands of dollars worth of material would be sent out on truck daily to smaller contractor, and it would not be on the invoice's to be recorded and charged for. Well when i asked about that they hung the phone up on me, and or would tell me to keep it down so certain employees wouldn't hear about it. After disagreeing with there business running methods, i decided to just stick to myself and do the job the best i could. While at the sales postion....i put in hundred of hours OFF THE CLOCK AND UNPAID...just to help out a company that i thought i would declare as my career...i didn't mind working 2-3 hours at night for free just to finish paper work and keep my pay down to 8 hour days only. because i thought i had a future with them. So i decided to request a raise, cause i felt i strongly earned it.....they once again told me NO..I was making the max pay in this company at $15.00 dollars and hour or about $32,000 a year. SO NO THEY DID NOT RAISE ARE PAY FROM THE $30,000 UP TO $60,000. While the company made MILLIONS EACH YEAR AND PAID NOTHING TO THE SMALLER EMPLOYEES, all top staff members recieved monthly bonuses from $3,000 dollars and up, During christmas they recived HUGE bonuses $10,000 dollars or more depanding on who you where. While the bottom employees including myself got CHOCOLATE AND HATS FOR CHRISTMAS, yeah i said chocolate and hats. and a $25 dollar gift card to FOOD-4-LESS during thanksgiving

BASICALLY WHAT IM COMPLAINING ABOUT IS YOU THE AUTHOR ARE VERY RIGHT ABOUT THIS DIRTY COMPANY. I know first hand because i worked at the Oceanside,Ca location and had it happen to me first hand... RIGHT BEFORE THEY LAID ME OFF AND SHOWED ME THE DOOR. Soon after this happened a friend who still works there told me i was laid off because i knew to much of what happens behind closed doors there, and that i was going to get them in trouble.

Now if i give this some thought i could probably recall tons more stuff i witnessed, Op i just did,haha.

So here's my story, 100% hard core truth.
from southern california

Posted by: former fenceworks employee on March 30, 2009 11:06 PM

Former Fenceworks Employee, in all this time did it not occur to you that maybe you should quit? I know that it can be hard to find a new job, but after all the junk that they put you through.... The thing is, if you were that great of a salesman (which I don't doubt that you were), why didn't you believe that you could have gotten a job elsewhere? Even working as a computer repair guy you could have made more than $15 per hour.

Posted by: Ginny Crandall on January 12, 2011 05:45 PM

Also see these other great immigration resources

The Dark Side Of Illegal Immigration
The Dark Side Of Illegal Immigration

A 28 part detailed report on the negative impacts of illegal immigration.
Immigration Stance
Immigration Stance

Find out how your members of Congress voted on immigration issues.

The Dark Side Of Illegal Immigration
Read the free 28 part report The Dark Side of
Illegal Immigration

Includes facts, figures
and statistics.

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