Meg Whitman's campaign has released documents it says shows the Republican gubernatorial candidate was unaware that her former housekeeper was undocumented and unable to legally work for the family for nine years.
The documents, posted here, include a social security card and California driver's license provided by former Whitman employee Nicandra Diaz and signed U.S. Department of Justice employment eligibility forms in which Diaz claims she is a "lawful permanent resident."
Diaz today unveiled through celebrity attorney Gloria Allred that she had worked for Whitman's family for nine years illegally. Allred said in a press conference that Whitman never asked about Diaz' legal status and received notice from the Social Security Administration in 2003 that the Social Security number provided by Diaz did not match her name, calling that a "a clue that the employee may be undocumented."
Diaz, who alleges she was fired in June 2009 after she approached the family to ask for help gaining legal status, is filing a complaint seeking back pay for extra hours she says she worked unpaid during her nine years working for the family.
The Whitman campaign said the "charges are without merit" and that Diaz was fired after admitting to Whitman she had falsified documents. They released an employment application Diaz submitted through a housekeeper placement agency that indicated she is able to work legally, copies of the Social Security card and driver's license provided by Diaz and federal tax forms signed by Diaz.
"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."
The statement and employment time line from the Whitman campaign is posted after the jump.
"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."
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.