• Seattle construction workers say they were threatened with extortion

    By: David Ham


    SEATTLE - Alejandro Victoria-Martinez is charged with 3 counts of extortion in the second degree for allegedly threatening construction workers.

    "He extorted my workers," said Mario Hernandez who is the project manager for Paramount Construction.

    He's the subcontractor for a new apartment complex being built at N 43rd Street and Aurora Avenue North for Catholic Community Services. Part of the project is funded by city grant money.

    Miguel Pimentel worked on the project and said that he was threatened by Victoria-Martinez and ordered to give him a $150 cut out of his paycheck every week or he would be reported to immigration officials.

    A Seattle Police Department investigation report outlines that the wife of a construction worker that reported the threat said that Victoria-Martinez or his wife would, "Call La Migra (Immigration) and that it was worth $150 a week to not get sent back to Mexico.

    "I was scared. I needed work and my family and everything you know," said Pimentel.

    He agreed to give Victoria-Martinez a cut, but never paid.

    We went to Victoria-Martinez's house in Everett.

    He wasn't home, but his wife was. The couple owns a subcontracting business called AV7 Enterprises.

    Tabata Romero said Mario Hernandez set them up adding he, "(tried to) throw us under the bus."

    She said that neither she nor her husband Victoria-Martinez ever tried to extort any of the construction workers.

    However, Omar Rubi of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, AFL-CIO said that Victoria-Martinez confessed to him and wrote a statement saying that he did in fact extort the workers.

    Rubi added, that Victoria-Martinez said that it was Hernandez that told him to make the extortion threats.

    "It is a very vulnerable group right now and a lot of them are being exploited due to their immigration status," said Rubi.

    None of the construction workers paid Victoria-Martinez the fee.

    His arraignment is set for Monday, Oct. 7.


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