LOS ANGELES (AP) – Republican Meg Whitman’s former maid said Tuesday she’s not a Democratic pawn in California’s race for governor, but her attorney refused again to provide key details about her claims that Whitman employed her for nearly a decade despite knowing she was in the U.S. illegally.

Nicky Diaz Santillan, a Mexican who Whitman says used a fraudulently obtained Social Security card and California driver’s license, dismissed claims by the GOP nominee that she was part of a Democratic smear intended to damage Whitman’s standing with voters, particularly Latinos.

“I make my own decisions and I am not anyone’s puppet,” Diaz Santillan said in a prepared statement she read at the Los Angeles office of her attorney, Gloria Allred. “Nobody made me do it.”

Allred, who has longtime Democratic ties and donated money to Brown when he ran for attorney general , has yet to disclose details about how she became involved in the case or disclose who, if anyone, is picking up the bill for her legal work.

Allred says Diaz Santillan was referred to her by another lawyer, whom she will not name. Allred didn’t answer directly when asked if that lawyer had ties to Whitman’s opponent, Democrat Jerry Brown, or his Democratic allies.

Allred also sidestepped a question about whether she had any contact with labor unions working to get Brown elected.

“I’m not going to play any kind of guessing game,” Allred said. When asked about a union link, she said she would need more details before responding.

Diaz Santillan has not taken a single question from reporters during three public appearances since last week.

The allegations upended the contest last week and forced Whitman to hold an unusual, hour-long news conference in which she answered an array of questions about Diaz Santillan, who cleaned her Silicon Valley home for nine years.

Largely at issue is whether Whitman knew about a 2003 letter from the Social Security Administration that raised discrepancies about her housekeeper’s documents—a possible tip-off that she could be in the U.S. illegally.

Whitman says she didn’t learn about Diaz Santillan’s illegal status until told by her maid in June 2009, and she promptly fired her.

She has given conflicting answers about the letter: she first said—repeatedly—she never received it, then disclosed that her husband might have seen the letter and jotted a note on it telling the housekeeper to “please check this.”

At a debate in Fresno last week, Whitman accused Brown’s campaign of engineering the disclosures and sacrificing the maid “on the altar of your political ambitions.” Brown urged Whitman to acknowledge she made a mistake.

“You have blamed her, blamed me, blamed the left, blamed the unions. But you don’t take accountability,” Brown said.

Meanwhile, Diaz Santillan filed a claim with state regulators saying Whitman owes her $6,200 for time she worked or as reimbursement for mileage while running errands.

Whitman spokesman Andrea Jones Rivera said in a statement:

“It’s time for Gloria Allred to pack-up this circus and leave town.” Brown’s campaign declined comment.

A group of farm workers marched on Whitman’s Cupertino offices Tuesday in support of Santillian.

(© 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 (20)
  1. TV says:

    The best thing she could have done was to admit it. We’d have forgiven and forgotten. The fact that she lied about it makes her a hardcore politician. They all lied one way or another. I was hoping to get a real honest person in the office before they turn into a politician…..Sorry Whitman, you’ll lose this race and hundreds of millions of dollars……Which I believe can help a lot of families in needs.

    1. Pmjohnson says:

      What makes you think she lied? Why would she have to. I have a maid and my wife takes care of all the details, because I am too busy working. You would rather have someone like Jerry Brown. Seems to me you and people like you are the problem! BTW Meg is as honest as they get~!!!

  2. Cathy A. says:

    Who cares anymore – she is illegal, she was committing identity ltheft – why is she still here? Shouldn’t she be deported by now?

  3. Judy says:

    Wonder how much federal or state taxes she paid over those 9 years of employment? Oh yeah, forgot, as an illegal she gets a free ride

  4. honestly says:

    Meg has not been proven a liar.
    However Diaz is a liar just by being here illegally.
    She knew it was wrong yet she remained here.
    If she falsified identification to stay in this country she should be jailed.

    Gloria is a troller and should be disbarred.
    At the expense of equal rights for taxpaying US Citizens her 15 minutes were up many years ago. Someone should put her on dancing with the stars or something so she can be humiliated into isolation where she belongs.

  5. Bill says:

    How would Nicky know whether or not Jerry Brown, State Attorney General, had caused to have a referral made to All Red? Does she have any credibility to make a statement like that?

  6. CA needs Meg says:

    Is this maid getting paid, then being deported?

    I don’t know why she’s even still here, and why she would even want to go public about this, what is she getting out of this????

    1. pmjohnson says:

      She was offered a pardon if Brown wins the election. Why else would a hard working women risk being deported and uproot her kids. That is the only thing that makes sense~!!!

  7. John says:

    Whether the maid was on Meg Whitmans payroll or paid through an agency you best believe those wages were taxed…Whether or not the maid was bold enough to file a tax return remains to be seen. As long as the Meg Whitmans of the world keep employing these illegals they will keep coming.

  8. kc says:

    Cathy A – she was not committing id theft if her sister gave her her on info – still falsifying records or something like that.
    Judy – her employer did pay taxes, withheld social security and such – that is the “proof” that they knew remember – the info provided didn’t match up and her husband even wrote a note on one letter – that should have been a clue.
    Also, Meg has said that she didn’t want to report her, wouldn’t have been right and so on – yet she would have demanded it from someone else.

  9. bob says:

    Has Prop 19 passed already? Gloria and Nicky must be stoned if they think Nicky should be paid back wages!

  10. dave says:

    $140 millions down the drain !!! bye bye Meg…

    1. LJURGAITIS says:

      Meg W will be Gov vs Brown. Go Gov MEG

  11. tn says:

    Even if Meg knew, she can’t admit it now. Jerry would have a field day with that and cast more doubt to the public. Jerry’s been around for a while and knows how to “play the game.” Meg is smart to try to stay focused on the politics of what she can do for California while the Demos try and discredit her (since she has no political background or history to debate). If Meg went through an agency like she said she did (notice the Repubs didn’t contest that), unless there’s proof she knew or not, unless it was written or recorded, it’s “he said she said.” So, Jerry has a poor political history, and Meg has a poor employment history. Who’s best?

  12. patriot308 says:

    Gloria Allred named Mark Van Der Hout as Diaz’s immigration lawyer on the Mark Levin Show tonight.

  13. East Coaster says:

    you CA folks are bizare.. I guess thats what happens when everyone is smoking dope..Yo dude pass the bong. I think you should take all the illegals letem live at your house.. You all deserve the SA fault line hope it cracks off soon.

  14. spawn44 says:

    Gloria allred has been exposed as a blundering idiot. This charade has not only blew up on the democrats face, it has back-fired big time. The election of obama has set the democrat party back 50 years. It’s all over friiend in 2010.

  15. noel says:

    So if a prostitute declares on network television that Brown had sex with her for a fee, we are to give her credit and discredit Brown?

    Is that how the mindset is in our country?

  16. pmjohnson90 says:

    I hope you get them~!!!