Meg Whitman’s former housekeeper said she was never treated like a member of Whitman’s family – as Whitman said publicly – and rejected suggestions that she was manipulated to embarrass the GOP gubernatorial candidate.
“Meg Whitman, don’t say I was part of your family, because you never treated me like I was…” said Nicandra Diaz Santillan, an undocumented immigrant who worked for Whitman as a domestic for nine years. Whitman fired her in 2009.
For Diaz Santillan and her attorney, Gloria Allred, the briefing Tuesday morning represented a counterattack against Whitman, who has suggested that the emergence of the former housekeeper was a political ploy engineered by Jerry Brown’s campaign.
Brown and Whitman are locked in a close race. The latest polls show them neck-and-neck, and as the final weeks of the General Election campaign heat up, both s
ides fear any last-minute political bombshells. Whitman, the billionaire former chief executive of eBay, has spent some $119 million of her own money on the race.
Brown has denied any connection to Allred or the former housekeeper. Allred said Diaz Santillan’s comments were prompted by a desire to let the public know about her situation.
“I knew the risks of speaking. I decided to come out of the shadows, the shadows in which millions of people live every day,” Diaz Santillan said. Her disclosure roiled the gubernatorial campaign of Whitman, who has been critical of employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.
Diaz Santillan was accompanied by Allred at Allred’s law offices. Allred, a well-known figure in Los Angeles politics and media, declined to say how she came to represent Diaz Santillan, other than that the woman had been referred to Allred by an unidentified attorney.
Allred said Diaz Santillan, who has a job-related claim with the state, had not been paid to speak publicly about Whitman.
“She is not being compensated for making her statements,” Allred said, but added that, “I don’t know what the future holds.”
She also rejected suggestions that she has any connection to Brown.
The Whitman campaign was not convinced. A spokeswoman said the campaign’s tracking polls were “picking up blowback against Allred.”
“This is a political circus with no acts left,” said Whitman spokeswoman Andrea Jones Rivera, “and it has nothing to do with the truth or what’s going on in the state. This political circus should pack up and leave town.”