Gloria Allred Unveils Letter Allegedly Showing Meg Whitman Knew of Housekeeper's Status

Former housekeeper, Nicky Diaz Santillan, left, looks to her attorney Gloria Allred, as Allred displays a copy Thursday Sept. 30, 2010 of a purported 2003 letter that she says shows Republican gubernatorial candidate, Meg Whitman knew all along that her housekeeper might be an illegal immigrant. AP

Updated at 4:55 p.m. ET

Attorney Gloria Allred today unveiled a letter she says was sent to Meg Whitman and her husband from the Social Security Administration, indicating that their housekeeper's Social Security number did not match her name, with notes on the letter allegedly from Whitman's husband -- proving that Whitman and her husband saw the letter and should have known their housekeeper was an undocumented worker.

"Today we have clearly proven with the release of this letter that Meg Whitman lied to the press and the public," Allred said. She said the letter reveals the California Republican gubernatorial candidate's attempt "to deceive the public and hide the fact that she knew she was employing an undocumented worker long before" she fired the housekeeper.

Allred is representing Nicky Diaz Santillan, who was Whitman's housekeeper for nine years before she approached the billionaire about becoming a legal resident and was subsequently fired. Diaz Santillan alleged yesterday that Whitman knew about her status as an undocumented worker, since she and her husband received a 2003 letter from the U.S. Social Security Administration questioning the legitimacy of Diaz Santillan's status.

Whitman this afternoon denied that she ever saw the letter, saying "this is truly a political smear."

"We never received that letter or that notification," Whitman said after a campaign event Wednesday.

Allred alleged, however, that Whitman's husband, Griff Harsh, partially filled out a form that was included with the Social Security Administration letter and wrote a note for Diaz Santillan on the bottom of the letter.

Allred held up the letter to the press, revealing a note scrawled across the bottom that read, "Nicky, please check this, thanks."

"[Harsh] wrote this on the letter and then gave it to Nicky. That is why she has it," Allred said.

She said that Diaz Santillan was familiar with Harsh's handwriting and confirmed that it was his.

"They are the employers, and the letter clearly indicates it is the employers' duty to return the completed letter to the goverment," Allred said. "Meg Whitman is exposed as a liar and hypocrite."

Allred said that Diaz Santillan allegedly saw other letters from the Social Security Administration thrown in the trash. The attorney said she and her client concluded that Whitman and her husband never responded to the letters "because they wanted to continue to employ an undocumented worker because she was easier to exploit than a documented one."

Update:
The California arm of the Service Employees International Union today released a new television ad that targets Whitman for her alleged hypocrisy on the issue of hiring undocumented workers. The new ad will begin airing on October 2 on Spanish language stations in Fresno and Los Angeles, and it is part of the first wave of a $5 million campaign from the SEIU to drive Latinos to the polls.

"We are launching the largest Latino Independent Expenditure campaign in history because the Latino community's voice must be heard," SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina said in a statement. "We won't leave it to Meg Whitman to define our issues with lies and scapegoating."

More coverage:

Will Allegations from Meg Whitman's Housekeeper Hurt Her in November?
Meg Whitman Says Ex-Maid's Allegations are "Completely Untrue," Blame Jerry Brown's Campaign
Whitman Goes on Defense About Ex-Maid's Status; Gloria Allred Promises to Prove Otherwise
Meg Whitman's Housekeeper Dilemma
Meg Whitman Housekeeper Nicky Diaz Santillan Claims Mistreatment, Unfair Termination


Stephanie Condon is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.

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