Every few weeks for nearly four years, the Secret Service screened the IDs of employees for a Maryland cleaning company before they entered the house of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, the nation's top immigration official.
The company's owner says the workers sailed through the checks -- although some of them turned out to be illegal immigrants.
Now, the owner finds himself in a predicament that he considers especially confounding. In October, he was fined $22,880 after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigators said he failed to check identification and work documents and fill out required I-9 verification forms for employees, five of whom he said were part of crews sent to Chertoff's home and whom ICE told him to fire because they were undocumented.
In addition to the Chertoffs' house, the service once cleaned the home of former president Bill Clinton and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, as well as homes of Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright. In those cases, he said, his company worked as a subcontractor and billing was done by a larger contractor firm.
Red flags everywhere!!! Anytime you hear the word subcontractor - be wary. Be vary wary because subcontracting is most often used as a means to provide cheap labor. Plain and simple.
Of course, another red flag deals with the illegal employees. A simple nationwide background check would have verified the citizenship of each employee. It would have cost $50 per employee, a lot less than a $23,000 fine.
In the end, this article proves a much bigger point. Cheap sells - even to our most decorated public officials.
If you want to hire a professional cleaning company, don't expect for a low price to be the biggest benefit that you'll receive. Expect on-time service, every time. Expect legal, safe and secure employees. Expect customer service at its best. Expect quality, nontoxic cleaning supplies. And yes, expect a clean house too.
Be careful out there. Hiring a maid is easy. So is starting a maid service company.