Meg Whitman

Meg Whitman

Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman responded to potentially explosive allegations that she knowingly employed an illegal immigrant for years Tuesday, dismissing the claims as “a political stunt.”

The accusations came earlier Tuesday during a Los Angeles press conference held by Whitman's former housekeeper Nicky Diaz and Diaz's high-profile attorney Gloria Allred. Diaz worked for Whitman from 2000 to 2009.

Allred claimed Whitman was alerted about a potential problem with the housekeeper's immigration status in 2003, but didn't fire Diaz until last year as Whitman prepared her run for governor. Diaz also claimed that Whitman was abusive during the time that Diaz worked for her.

“I don't feel like someone should be treated this way,” said Diaz. “She treat me as if I was not a human being.”

The timing of the accusations was potentially devastating. Just 24 hours earlier during her first debate with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown. Whitman called for a crackdown on employers and even homeowners who hired illegal immigrants.

Meg Whitman spoke to KTVU shortly at a campaign stop in San Jose after the Allred and Diaz held their press conference to unveil the allegations and responded that the charges were completely fabricated.

“The charges are not true. The charges are absolutely not true,” asserted Whitman. “She was a great employee. We had a great relationship. It is absolutely a lie.” She additionally denied knowing anything about Diaz’s immigration status prior to June of 2009.

“We hired her through an employment agency who had documented a signed 1099, a California drivers license,” explained Whitman. “She represented herself with documents as legal to work in this country. We had no reason to suspect otherwise.”

The Republican gubernatorial candidate told KTVU Diaz kept her immigration status secret until last year, when Whitman announced she was running for governor.

“We had to let her go that very day,” said Whitman. “We said ‘Gosh, Nicky, you can't work for us anymore. I am sorry. I feel terrible about this.’ She has got three children.”

The Whitman campaign said California voters should consider the source of these new allegations: Gloria Allred. Representatives said Allred is part of a Democratic Party sleaze machine.

They also said Allred is known for going public with shameful, sometimes unsubstantiated claims. “She is manipulating Nicky Diaz,” said Whitman. “This is a political stunt.” Whitman went so far as to suggest Brown and Allred might be in cahoots. “I think this is the classic 40-year career politician,” said Whitman. “This is how career politicians do their business.”

Two weeks ago, Brown's campaign alerted KTVU that they had heard Whitman had "housekeeper problems." On Tuesday, his campaign denied having anything to do with Gloria Allred. The Brown campaign said it was just passing along rumors.

KTVU asked Whitman what she would say if she could talk to Diaz after the press conference Tuesday. “If she is listening right now, I am so sorry. I bet you are feeling really badly and it is a shame,” said Whitman. “It is really, really a shame.”

When asked if she thought her housekeeper should be deported, Whitman replied that that was up to immigration officials.

Comments (0)