An illegal immigrant from Mexico was hired to distribute campaign literature for Jefferson County District Attorney Scott Storey and Commissioner Kevin McCasky, according to McCasky’s Democratic challenger.
Lakewood Democrat Jason Bane, McCasky's opponent in the race for the District 2 commission seat, said he was walking door to door Oct. 4 in Arvada and came across a man distributing door hangers for Storey and McCasky. Bane said he tried to talk to the man, who spoke very little English. The man called a co-worker, who drove up in a van. The van driver also didn't speak much English, but he dialed a number on a cellphone and handed the phone to Bane.
On the other end, a man named Manuel —apparently living in Los Angeles — explained that the van driver was his father and that he had been hired to distribute political materials.
When contacted by the Courier, Manuel confirmed that his father is an illegal immigrant from Mexico. He further said that his father told him that he often worked in Colorado with other illegal immigrants, but also with Americans.
"Yes," Manuel said in accented English when asked if his father was here illegally. "There's a spot where the people gather up, and people come and pick them up to work for a day." Manuel would not give his father's name, fearing that his father would be deported.
Storey said he arranged through Mike Ciletti, a political consultant, to have the campaign literature created and distributed. Ciletti arranged a deal that included WizBang Solutions as the designer of the campaign materials. WizBang then reportedly hired Door Hangers Direct to distribute the campaign materials.
"I have no clue about illegal immigrants and delivering door hangers," Storey said. "It's not my responsibility. The responsibility lies with the company who does that."
Storey brushed off any ethical disconnects related to being a senior law enforcement officer and having illegal immigrants hired to distribute campaign materials. "I don't think we're talking about ethics here," he said.
Storey added that he "certainly wouldn't condone" illegal immigrants working in any way for his campaign, and he's "surprised" that it may have happened. "Whoever he contracted with, my contract was with Mike Ciletti," Storey said. "Not with anyone else."
Ciletti said it's not clear any illegals were even hired, and if they were, Storey and McCasky feel "a little duped."
"It's (the company’s) job to verify employment status and whether somebody is a citizen and can work in this country," Ciletti said. He said he facilitated the deal with WizBang and is not responsible for what happened after that.
Reed Soudani, the owner of WizBang, said his firm outsourced the distribution of the fliers to Door Hangers Direct after one of his employees recommended the company. He denied any knowledge of illegal immigrants being hired to distribute the fliers.
"I do not know that," Soudani said. "I hope that they are following the law. It's a Republican race, and we totally stand against the hiring of illegal aliens. I hope that nobody that we work with would do such a thing."
David Sowers, owner of Door Hangers Direct, did not return several phone calls for this story and was not at his office at midday on Oct. 15.
McCasky would not return several phone calls over a three-day period seeking comment for this story. He asked Ciletti to act as his "spokesman" on the issue, the first time McCasky has used a spokesman for any story by the Courier about the 2008 campaign.
Ciletti said Bane should inform immigration authorities if he has proof that illegal immigrants were hired. He said McCasky will change who he does business with and ask contractors who they are subcontracting with in the future.
Bane said the story is a blatant case of hypocrisy on the part of McCasky.
“For weeks Kevin McCasky has been talking about he’s going to get tough on illegal immigration, and then it turns out that he hires illegal immigrants to campaign for him," Bane said. "He’s paying illegal immigrants to distribute his literature door to door. Amazing. You couldn’t make this stuff up.”