Mind the gap: Country club GMs make 33 times as much as foreign workers

Two general managers of Boca Raton country clubs made 33 times as much as the low-wage foreign workers who cleaned tables in their dining rooms, according to a Palm Beach Post analysis of federal data and country club tax returns.

Related: As employers hire more foreign workers, President Donald Trump wins 70 visas at Mar-a-Lago

At Boca West Country Club, former General Manager Jay DiPietro was paid $977,145 for the year ended Sept. 30, 2015. He told the IRS he worked 55 hours a week, which translated to an hourly wage of $341.66.

Starting pay for foreign workers at Boca West for 2014-15 was $10.25 an hour, so DiPietro made 33.3 times as much as his lowest-paid front-line workers.

John Crean, general manager of the Broken Sound Club, was just behind, at 33.2 times. That’s based on pay of $706,817 for the year ended Sept. 30, 2015, and Crean’s 40-hour-a-week schedule. Foreign workers started at $10.25 an hour that year.

As pay gaps go, 33 times isn’t a huge ratio. By some measures, CEOs of large publicly traded companies make 300 to 700 times as much as their front-line workers.

Two other Palm Beach County country clubs had slightly lower ratios between the highest-paid employee and the lowest-paid foreign workers hired through the federal government’s H-2B visa program.

At St. Andrews Country Club, GM Craig Martin made $930,639 to work 60 hours a week, an hourly rate of $298.28. Foreign workers started at $11 an hour, for a ratio of 27.1.

And at the Everglades Club in Palm Beach, GM Richard Lese’s pay of $614,710 and 40-hour-a-week scheduled translated to an hourly rate of $295.53. That was 26.9 times the starting wage of $11 that year.

Those four country clubs are organized as nonprofits, a tax status that compels them to disclose their tax returns. Other prolific employers of foreign workers, including The Breakers and President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, are for-profit entities and don’t divulge executive pay.

The pay gap could widen: While country club GMs typically negotiate robust raises for themselves, hourly wages for H-2B visa workers have flat-lined in recent years. 


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