Undocumented Woman Sues Chicago Radio Station Over Unrewarded Corvette

A 22-year-old woman is suing a Chicago Spanish-language radio station over allegations that they refuse to give her the car she won in a contest because she's undocumented.

Maribel Nava Alvarez won the Corvette on July 4, 2005, in a raffle sponsored by 107.9 FM La Ley.

In a lawsuit naming both the radio station and its parent company, Spanish Broadcasting System, Alvarez says La Ley withheld the car when officials found out she's undocumented.

She is suing for breach of contract and emotional distress.

In a written statement, La Ley said that it is legally required to get a valid Social Security number or tax identification number from anyone who wins prizes worth more than $500.

The station tried to give Alvarez the car even though her tax information couldn't be verified, the statement said.

Alvarez said she was never told she needed to be a U.S. citizen or legal resident to win the car.

Alvarez's suit also names SBS lawyer James Cueva, who sent her attorney a letter on Dec. 19, 2005, threatening to contact immigration officials if she pursued a lawsuit.

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"I will caution you that if you insist on filing suit against SBS, I will in turn be forced to refer this matter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as I believe your client is in this country illegally," the letter said.

Cueva's remarks "have sometimes been presented without proper context," the station's statement said.

Alvarez said she has left the Chicago area out of fear that she would be deported.