Whitman housekeeper says she was fired, treated like 'garbage' [Updated]
Nicky Diaz, the household worker who alleges she was fired by Meg Whitman, the Republican nominee for California governor, after telling her that she was undocumented has recounted her version of what happened when she asked Whitman and her husband for help in June 2009:
"I told her I don't have papers to work here and need her help," the worker said at a press conference in attorney Gloria Allred's office. Whitman's husband "was very angry and said, 'I told you, I told you she was going to bring us problems.' Ms. Whitman turned to him and said, 'Calm down, calm down.' "
She said Whitman's husband "yelled" at her. "I was crying for fear and intimidation. With a face full of tears, I told them, 'I believe in people. And I believe people deserve a chance. I also told them I don't wish them any harm. I just wanted their help.
She said Whitman walked her to the door and said, "I don't know what I can do, but let me see what my lawyer can do."
She said Whitman later left her a voicemail telling her she talked to her lawyer. "She said, 'I cannot help you. And don't say anything to my children. I will tell them you already have a new job ... and from now on you don't know me, and I don't know you. You have never seen me, and I have never seen you. Do you understand me?' "
"I was shocked and hurt that Ms. Whitman would treat me this way after nine years. ... She was throwing me away like a piece of garbage."
[Updated at 11:55 a.m.:
Meg Whitman put out this statement in response to Nicky Diaz's allegations:
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 nine 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.
The campaign also provided this timeline of events:
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.]
-- Evan Halper in Sacramento