There was no stopping Florida Senator Marco Rubio from persistently hammering GOP frontrunner Donald Trump at the Republican debate on Thursday night.
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Rubio, who has been shifting from third to second place in the polls, took a no-holds-barred approach to discrediting Trump’s candidacy. At one point he attacked his business record by claiming the real estate mogul employed undocumented Polish immigrants to work on a demolition of a building to clear the space for the future Trump Tower.
"He hired workers from Poland, and he had to pay a million dollars or so in a judgment," said Rubio adding, "I’m sure people are Googling it right now, ‘Trump Polish workers.’ You’ll see $1 million for hiring illegal workers on one of his projects. He did."
According to Alphabet-owned Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL), there was a 700% spike in searches for "Polish workers" after the fiery exchange between Senator Rubio and Mr. Trump.
“Polish workers was on no one’s radar but during those times that Rubio brought it up it piqued everyone’s interest to know more and this is what they started searching for,” said LaToya Drake, Google search trends expert.
The story behind Rubio’s accusation has to do with a lawsuit from the 1980s, when union members sued a union boss, Donald Trump and his contractor for cheating them out of funds. According to the lawsuit, 200 undocumented laborers from Poland called the “Polish Brigade” worked 12-hour shifts seven days a week for $4 to $5 a week. Some workers were never paid what they were owed and the lawsuit claims the billionaire businessman owed the union pension fund $1 million.
In 1990, Trump testified he had no knowledge the Polish workers were undocumented and blamed the violations on the contractor who hired them. A year later a judge ruled that Trump had to pay $325,000 plus interest because his company “participated in the conspiracy” to cheat the union.
In a 1998 New York Times report, Wojciech Kozak, one of several members of the “Polish Brigade” told their story, describing the work conditions as “horrid” and “terrible.” Trump continued to refuse to settle the case out of court, but in 1999 it was sealed and settled.
With the story back in the spotlight, FOXBusiness.com spoke with Kozak. He says there has never been a resolution to this legal case.
“I really never got one penny from that settlement, for me it hasn’t ended, I have nothing to show from it,” said Kozak.
During the litigation period, Kozak said he struggled to live with little money and even found himself homeless at times without any food to eat.
“I have no ill will towards Mr. Donald Trump but I do have an issue with the contractor that employed me and never paid me,” said Kozak. “I still have some hope that I will see the money that I am owed.”
This is not the first time Trump has been accused of hiring undocumented workers. In 2015, the Washington Post reported the real estate mogul employed illegal immigrant workers to complete a $200 million hotel project in Washington D.C.
There is no telling if Trump’s record on using undocumented workers will impact his tough immigration stance or if the controversy will simply fade away like others in the past.
FOXBusiness.com requested a statement from Donald Trump’s campaign but had not received a response at the time of publication.