COLUMBUS, Neb. (KMTV) — One of the top contenders for governor, Republican Jim Pillen, has a company facing legal trouble. Pillen has owned Pillen Family Farms since the 1980s when he founded the company.
A lawsuit filed in federal court Wednesday puts into question the company’s hiring practices and how it classifies employees.
The lawsuit centers around Luis Lucar, a former employee who was born in Peru. He worked at the company for over seven years.
Court documents say Lucar, through his attorney, was told to hire workers without proper documentation and changed employees' names for tax reasons.
Pillen Family Farms illegally classified employees as contract labor to avoid taxes, according to documents.
The documents say Lucar refused to do this, faced retaliation and a hostile work environment as a result.
Lucar was fired by the company in 2019.
Matthew Trail with the Pillen campaign calls the allegations baseless and false.
“Mr. Lucar, a disgruntled former employee terminated for poor performance, is an anti-conservative, pro-illegal immigration activist lying about the Pillen family,” said Trail.
Trail also points to the attorney’s office filing the suit, Powers Law, headed by Vince Powers, a former Democratic Party state and national officeholder.
“A clear effort by Democrats to smear the strongest, most conservative candidate for Governor of Nebraska,” said Trail.
The lawsuit is seeking punitive damages from Pillen Family Farms.