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 But the welders maintain they were restricted to the apartment complex and the worksite because of the deportation warnings by ILP’s owner, Hung Quoc Vu. “It was like being confined i

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PostSubject: But the welders maintain they were restricted to the apartment complex and the worksite because of the deportation warnings by ILP’s owner, Hung Quoc Vu. “It was like being confined i   Fri Jul 01, 2011 6:39 am

eement, the owners of the companies were not held liable and the companies have no assets, lawyers involved in the negotiation said. The welders have yet to receive a cent.

In the meantime, the workers said they had received threats from people connected to the labor companies in Vietnam because of the lawsuit. They said they feared for their lives if they returned.

When the workers arrived in Houston in May and June 2008, they were taken to filthy, unfurnished apartments in Pasadena, Tex. Four men were asked to share each two-bedroom apartment, paying $500 a person when the apartment normally rents for a quarter of that, Mr. Ngo said. “It was a very dirty apartment, no beds, no furniture, a bad odor, roaches running all over,” he recalled. “The carpet was filthy and the air-conditioner didn’t work.” Coast to Coast Resources also charged each of them $85 a week for a van to take them to work and to a grocery. Each was charged $280 more for welding equipment.

Scott Funk, a lawyer who represented Coast to Coast in the state suit, said a district court judge did not find the men had been manipulated or exploited. Also, he noted, the owner of the company, Kenneth W. Yarbrough, was not found liable.

Mr. Ngo and three other welders said that they worked mostly at night at Southwest Shipyard Inc. in the hulls of ships, but that they were paid by Coast to Coast, which had contracted with ILP Agency to obtain workers from Vietnam and to oversee them, according to court documents. The welders acknowledged that even with the deductions they were able to earn $300 to $400 a week. Some managed to wire money home through a Vietnamese woman living in the same complex.

“These were legitimate workers who were here on legitimate visas and made good money, and they were disappointed they couldn’t continue to make good money,” said David J. Quan, a lawyer who represented ILP Agency in the state suit. Mr. Quan said the contracts promised only 10 months of work, with a possible extension that depended on a visa. He added that the lodgings were spartan but adequate, and that the workers had made a fair wage.

But the welders maintain they were restricted to the apartment complex and the worksite because of the deportation warnings by ILP’s owner, Hung Quoc Vu. “It was like being confined in prison,” said Trang Nha, 29. Han Thanh Phan, 30, a welder who left his infant daughter and wife behind, said the debt he owed to relatives kept him from trying to escape. “I felt that because the money I was making was so little, I had failed,” he said. “I owed my family. I did not give them wh
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But the welders maintain they were restricted to the apartment complex and the worksite because of the deportation warnings by ILP’s owner, Hung Quoc Vu. “It was like being confined i
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