A former housekeeper for Meg Whitman was “emotionally and financially abused” during her nine years of employment, an attorney alleged today, adding that the Republican gubernatorial candidate knew the woman was an illegal immigrant.
Whitman strongly denied the allegations, calling them politically motivated.
Attorney Gloria Allred said Nicky Diaz Santillan worked as a housekeeper for Whitman for nine years before she was fired last year.
“In short, it was a nightmare,” Allred said.
Allred said that during the woman’s years of employment, Whitman caused her “to feel exploited, disrespected, humiliated and emotionally and financially abused.”
“The relationship was terminated last year by Ms. Whitman for what appeared to be political reasons involving Ms. Whitman’s decision to run for governor,” Allred said.
Allred contended that Whitman knew her client was an illegal immigrant, but kept her employed until she decided to run for governor.
In a statement, Whitman said Santillan falsified hiring documents and personal information she gave to an employment agency, then later admitted to her in June 2009 she was an undocumented immigrant.
“Nicky told me that she was admitting her deception now because she was aware that her lie might come out during the campaign,” Whitman said. “Nicky said she was concerned about hurting my family and me.
“As required by law, once we learned she was an illegal worker, I immediately terminated Nicky’s employment,” Whitman said. “It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I considered Nicky a friend and a part of our extended family.”
Whitman said she believed Santillan was being “manipulated” by Allred, and the allegation is “a shameful example of the politics of personal destruction practiced by people like Jerry Brown and Gloria Allred.”
Whitman spokeswoman Andrea Jones Rivera said Allred’s news conference was politically motivated. She called Allred “a shameful manipulator” who is a supporter of Brown — Whitman’s Democratic opponent in the hotly contested governor’s race.
“With the polls tied, it comes as no surprise that the morning after a successful debate for Meg that the sleaze machine of the political left is now focused on the politics of personal destruction.”
The Whitman campaign noted that Allred donated $1,000 to Brown in 1982 and $150 to Brown in 2006.
Brown campaign spokesman Sterling Clifford said the Santillan case “has shown that she (Whitman) thinks the rules don’t apply to her.”
“After more than a year of Whitman demanding immigration policy that `holds employers accountable,’ we learn that accountability doesn’t extend to her own actions,” Clifford said. “From the start, Meg Whitman has failed to tell Californians the truth — about her voting record, her positions on climate change, her history of conflict with staffers or about Jerry Brown.”
Allred claimed Santillan was not paid for all of the hours she worked, and said she would be filing a claim against Whitman.
Fighting back tears, Santillan told reporters she approached Whitman and said she didn’t have “papers to work here” and needed help. Santillan said Whitman later left her a voicemail message saying she could not help her and adding, “from now on you don’t know me, and I don’t know you. You never have seen me, and I have never seen you. Do you understand me?”
Meg Whitman issued another statement immediately after the news conference on Wednesday.
“Nicky Diaz was my housekeeper from 2000 to 2009. We consider Nicky a friend of our family and were saddened this morning to hear about her legal action.After 9 years of faithful service, Nicky came to us in June 2009 and confessed that she was an illegal worker. Nicky had falsified the hiring documents and personal information she provided to the employment agency that brought her to us in 2000. Nicky told me that she was admitting her deception now because she was aware that her lie might come out during the campaign. Nicky said she was concerned about hurting my family and me.As required by law, once we learned she was an illegal worker, I immediately terminated Nicky’s employment. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I considered Nicky a friend and a part of our extended family.I am deeply worried about Nicky and her family. I believe Nicky is being manipulated by Gloria Allred for political and financial purposes during the last few weeks of a hotly contested election. This is a shameful example of the politics of personal destruction practiced by people like Jerry Brown and Gloria Allred. The charges are without merit. I will continue to focus my campaign on the issues that the people of California want to hear about: jobs, education and fixing our broken budget system in Sacramento.”Timeline:As early as 1999, Meg Whitman and Griff Harsh retained a placement agency in California to assist them in finding a qualified applicant for in-home domestic services.In May, 2000, Nicandra Diaz-Santillan filled out a standard application provided by the agency. She provided the agency with a social security number and California driver’s license number as well as filling out a standard employment application including references of prior employers over a lengthy period of time.In November 2000, Nicandra Diaz-Santillan was hired by Meg Whitman. At the time she was hired, she filled out a standard IRS form W-4 and U.S. Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service form I-9. Ms. Diaz provided a copy of her Social Security Card and her California Driver’s License. Ms. Diaz signed the I-9 stating under penalty of perjury that she was a lawful Permanent Resident Alien.During her employment, Meg Whitman paid state and federal income tax and provided Ms. Diaz with a standard IRS form W-2.On or about, June 20, 2009, Ms. Diaz came to Meg Whitman and Dr. Harsh and confessed that she was not a legal resident and that she had used her sister’s documents to gain employment. Diaz was immediately suspended.On or about Monday, June 29, 2009, Meg Whitman informed Ms. Diaz that her employment was terminated.There has been no further contact between Ms. Diaz and Meg Whitman since her termination.Allred Is A Partisan Democrat And Long Time Supporter Of Jerry Brown:Allred donated $1,000 to Jerry Brown in 1982.Allred donated $150 to Jerry Brown in 2006.The Associated Press Reported That “Allred is a Democratic superdelegate who has given money to Whitman’s challenger, Democratic nominee Jerry Brown.”In 2007, Allred said on CNN that she knows Jerry Brown “personally.”Allred has contributed tens of thousands of dollars to exclusively democratic candidates and causes.Allred is a registered democrat in California.Jerry Brown sitting next to Gloria on CSPAN panel in 94.
Democrat Jerry Brown who is running against Whitman released a statement on Wednesday afternoon.
“Nicky Diaz has a compelling story, and it is our hope that she will be treated with respect and dignity as this story unfolds.Once again, Meg Whitman has shown that she thinks the rules don’t apply to her. After more than a year of Whitman demanding immigration policy that ‘holds employers accountable,’ we learn that accountability doesn’t extend to her own actions.From the start, Meg Whitman has failed to tell Californians the truth – about her voting record, her positions on climate change, her history of conflict with staffers, or about Jerry Brown. California deserves a governor who tells the truth.”