News of state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, knowingly employing a person who was in the country illegally in the 1980s has caused more sparks to fly in the Republican race for lieutenant governor.
Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, the candidate that exposed Patrick’s employment practices, is promising more to come.
Houston resident Miguel Andrade recently came forward saying that while working for one of Patrick’s sports bars in the mid-1980s, he was in the country illegally and Patrick had knowledge of this. Patterson confirmed this fact with a letter written by Patrick.
"We are going to have hard copy verification that he helped one of these gentlemen become legal, he wrote a letter of recommendation and we are going to have an interview with two more who say the same thing as Miguel Andrade," Patterson said.
On his campaign Facebook page, Patrick wrote:
"1. Patterson admits last night on TV he hired private detectives to look back 30 years into my life to find dirt on me.
2. They found a former employee of ours, out of hundreds, who says a manager, not me, hired him around 1984 as a dishwasher. Worker admits when required to fill out employment forms he supplied false documents & social security number.
3. My Mom was my bookkeeper in 1984 and handled payroll. She is 87 and is greatly offended by this. She is a stickler to follow the rules & law and neither she nor I would knowingly hire anyone illegal. In 1984 there wasn't E-verify
4. The worker's other allegations are false. He offers no proof on anything - just his memory from 30 years ago as an 18 year old person who falsified government documents."
Patrick later wrote:
"I'm not going to let Patterson or Staples' dirty political attacks imply my mother would have broken any rules or laws 30 years ago when she worked as our bookkeeper and handled our payroll. It's offensive. She nor I did anything wrong."
"The problem with his denials now is he doesn’t know or he doesn’t care about the things that are going to be forthcoming in the next couple of days," Patterson said.
Patterson said his campaign launched a private investigation in response to Patrick’s claims that Patterson supported amnesty and open-borders and after hearing rumors about Patrick. Patrick has recently taken heat from Hispanic Republicans for his campaign rhetoric regarding illegal immigration.
"You got to be careful what you say because you have a message, and when your words cover up your message, your message is being squashed," Patterson said.
The last day to vote in the primary election is March 4 with a possible runoff set for May 27.