California Nurses Union Reportedly Helped Expose Whitman’s Maid

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The California Nurses Association helped the illegal immigrant former housekeeper of billionaire Meg Whitman make her story public, a revelation that helped sink the gubernatorial hopes of the former eBay chief executive, according to a report published Tuesday in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Nicky Diaz Santillan, whose story knocked Whitman’s tightly orchestrated campaign off message when she came forward in September, reached out for help from the union because she believed she was unfairly fired by Whitman, the newspaper reported, citing people who were close to the matter but would only speak if their names were not used.

Diaz Santillan contacted a friend who knew a member of the nurses union, according to the Chronicle. The union then put the Mexican-born housekeeper in touch with an immigration attorney and celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, who appeared with her at a Los Angeles news conference in September.

Diaz Santillan said Whitman knew she was an illegal immigrant during her nine years as a maid. She and Allred also produced a 2003 Social Security document saying the government number given by Diaz Santillan did not match her name, a tip-off that she might be in the country illegally.

The letter included a handwritten note from Whitman’s husband, a Stanford neurosurgeon, directing the housekeeper to check it out.

Whitman said she fired the maid when she learned of her illegal status in June 2009, just months after Whitman had formed an exploratory committee to run for governor. She blamed the campaign of Democratic Gov.-elect Jerry Brown and his union supporters for exposing her.

Nurses union executive director Rose Ann DeMoro declined to comment Tuesday to The Associated Press on whether the union helped Diaz Santillan. But in an interview with the AP and in a public letter addressed to Diaz Santillan published last week, she praised the illegal immigrant for her courage in coming forward.

DeMoro said the union’s goal is to help working women and advocate for those who don’t have a voice.

“So it’s natural that if someone would come to us for help, that we would help them,” she said.

She said Diaz Santillan helped highlight “the arrogance of wealth.” Whitman set spending records in her race, giving her campaign $144 million from her personal fortune.

“It is really just a striking thing. She’s one of the richest women in the world and (Diaz Santillan is) someone who is essentially living paycheck to paycheck on survival mode,” DeMoro told the AP on Tuesday.

A campaign adviser to Whitman, Rob Stutzman, was traveling Tuesday and did not immediately return an e-mail message seeking comment.

Whitman hired Diaz Santillan through an agency and paid her $23 an hour for 15 hours per week.

The nurse’s union backed Brown’s candidacy and campaigned vigorously against Whitman, following her to events with a character it dubbed “Queen Meg.”

The newspaper said the housekeeper was emotionally and financially devastated by her sudden firing by Whitman in 2009, for whom she had worked since 2000. Afterward, Diaz Santillan had asked Whitman for help finding someone who could help her gain legal status.

Whitman refused and the former housekeeper claimed Whitman later left her a voicemail message, warning her: “You don’t know me, and I don’t know you.”

Diaz Santillan and her immigration attorney are now addressing her status with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. a. george says:

    THE CALIF.NURSES UNION HAS NO RIGHT SPENDING MEMBERS MONEY.ON SOMETHING ALL THE MEMBERS DO NOT AGREE ON. MAYBE THE HEAD OF THE UNION SHOULD BE REPLACED SHE MUST HAVE ALOT OF TIME TO WASTE.

  2. T. says:

    Whitman hired Diaz Santillan through an agency and paid her $23 an hour for 15 hours per week.

    We should all be so lucky! Please tell me she has been deported!

    1. jeff says:

      T. If you think that work without any right is so good, and if the money is so good. Why don’t you apply for her job now I heard that she’s looking for someone legal this time.

      1. Tubbie says:

        T already has a job, genius.

      2. td says:

        SHE IS ILLEGALLY HERE!! WHAT RIGHTS DOES SHE HAVE HERE? WHY DID SHE LIE ABOUT HER IMMIGRATION STATUS? MAYBE, BECAUSE SHE KNEW SHE BROKE LAW BY BEING HERE!! THIS IS ALL A SET UP AND B.S.
        SO SHE 5 GRAND, WOW, BIG DEAL MAYBE THAT WILL GO ALONG IN MEXICO WHERE SHE BELONGS..

  3. Sherrie Lee says:

    I’ve been a nurse for over 22 years, and I’ve realized that we, as a group, can be the most vindictive and evil bunch of women there are. Still, good work CNA! I disliked Meg Whitman’s blatant attempt to buy the govenorship. Her about ftwo-aced appeal to we nurses, when she was caught with her foot in her mouth about us was also very distasteful.

    1. td says:

      Buy the governership.. Better than JB.. He has nothing to show for his 40 years in politics.. Just another life long pollitian looking for free ride and tax us more and more. God Job for those nurses!! You want to my taxes..

  4. James Adams says:

    Who are the people who are apologising for Meg Whitman? How is Ms Santillan taking a job away from any U.S. citizen who wants a job? How many Anglos do you see doing housecleaning, gardening, picking fruit, semiskilled jobs?

    Immigrants are doing what they’ve always done, and what every one of our parents and grandparents did if they weren’t native Americans: making a life for their children.

    1. td says:

      My Grandfather did it legally though… Worked in the coal mines in PA LEGALLY with a sponsor.. That is the difference.. Wake and smell the coffee, break the law go to jail and then deported..

  5. Rt in Danville says:

    Meg provided Calif with $150 million stimulus.
    Thanks Meggy…please do this again in 4 years.

    1. td says:

      Yeah but this time WIN.. For the sake of all Californians.. Legal ones that is.. Hopefully we will be able vote by then…

  6. Rice a roni says:

    Send the illegal back to mexico and take Allred with her. She has not business suing anyone.

  7. dorothy says:

    as a nurse practitioner (ARNP) in Florida and RN since 1979 , I find this situation deplorable and thank God I am not a part of that union—hopefully that illegal has returned to her own country and stays there –maybe she can find a housekeeping position in Mexico that pays the same wages

  8. Angry Taxpayer says:

    DOWN with unions. They are the modern-day moffia and the downfall of our nations infrastructure. The pensions alone are going to sink our economy. Why should taxpayers fund these pension plans when we have to fund our own? The auto industry wonders why they almost collapsed? UNIONS!!! You don;t see Japanese auto workers making what the lazy pigs here make. As always, Is share one of my favorite quotes…

    Thomas Jefferson:

    “I think myself that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.” – Letter to William Ludlow, September 6, 1824

    1. nancy lewis says:

      Thank you Nurses for standing up to Meg Whitman who profited at her Maids expense.

  9. Mad Mike says:

    How convenient that this story comes out AFTER the election. Way to dig into things KPIX! What a joke…..can’t wait for Brown to send this state further into the toilet so you libs can get what you deserve….

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