[UPDATED:] Will Maid's "Explosive Allegations" Sink Meg Whitman's Latino Outreach?
Billionaire Meg Whitman exploited a Latina housekeeper the GOP nominee for California governor knew was in the country illegally, alleged celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred this morning, setting off an array of charges and counter-charges.
Nicky Diaz was dragged before the cameras and microphones permanently fixed on the two chairs in Allred's Los Angeles office reserved for the celeb lawyer and the scorned woman of the latest news cycle. "Controversial and explosive allegations" against Whitman were promised for a hungry media.
Calling her client "courageous" for coming forward, Allred then accused Whitman of having exploited Diaz for nine years. Allred said Diaz suffered as many poor immigrants in the employ of the rich and powerful do. The lawyer vowed to file a legal claim against Whitman.
The celebrity mouthpiece was helped by a pre-news conference re-hashing by gossip site TMZ.com of other allegations previously lodged against the 54-year-old former eBay CEO.
In June, reports surfaced that Whitman swore at and shoved an eBay subordinate in a 2007 incident that cost the company a six figure settlement.The Diaz charges come after Whitman has famously spent some of the $120 million she's burning to campaign for governor on Spanish-language ads meant to woo Latinos. This infuriates a GOP base that believes in bashing the brown skinned at all costs and, more importantly, Latinos who see Whitman courting both sides in the immigration debate.
She was also accused of age discrimination while at FTD, a lawsuit that also resulted in a confidential settlement.
While at eBay, she received special access to lucrative stock offerings made by the investment house Goldman Sachs. After a lawsuit by eBay stockholders alleged that she had received the stock in exchange for steering eBay banking business to Goldman Sachs, Whitman returned nearly $1.8 million in profits.
But Team Meg struck back hard and fast. After the press conference, they provided the media with Diaz's employment forms and noted the the suspicious timing of Allred's allegations, which come mere weeks before the November election.
Even before the lights went up inside Allred's soundstage office suite, the GOP nominee's campaign released a statement from Whitman, a timeline and evidence of Allred's close ties to Jerry Brown, Whitman's Democratic foe for governor.
Meg Whitman Statement:
"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.
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.