Meg Whitman Denies Knowing Her Housekeeper Was in the U.S. Illegally

By Michael R. Blood and Juliet Williams, Associated Press |CNSNews

Nicky Diaz Santillan (L) speaks during a a news conference as she sits next to her attorney Gloria Allred in Beverly Hills, California, September 29, 2010. Santillan, the former housekeeper of Republican governor candidate Meg Whitman, claims Whitman knew she was an illegal immigrant when she was hired by the former Ebay CEO in 2000. Photo: Reuters

Los Angeles (AP) – Meg Whitman has courted Hispanic voters with Spanish-language radio and TV ads, a Spanish-language website, Spanish-language billboards — even Spanish-language posters at bus stops in Hispanic neighborhoods.

But her fight to win Latino votes has come to an unexpected place — her own home.

The Republican candidate for California governor Wednesday denied allegations that she knew for years her housekeeper was an illegal immigrant from Mexico, and that she ignored warnings from the government that her employee might have dubious legal status in the U.S.

For a candidate who has called for tougher sanctions against employers who hire illegal workers, the allegations, if proven, could undercut her credibility just weeks before Election Day and damage her image, particularly with Hispanics she has pursued for months.

Gloria Allred, a Los Angeles attorney who represents Whitman’s former maid, Nicky Diaz Santillan, said she would release evidence Thursday showing Whitman was aware of the maid’s illegal status as far back as 2003, a claim Whitman denies.

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