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Whitman's Ex-Housekeeper Alleges Financial, Emotional Abuse

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Meg Whitman's former housekeeper claims she was "emotionally and financially abused" during her nine years of employment, attorney Gloria Allred alleged Tuesday, adding that the Republican gubernatorial candidate knew the woman was an illegal immigrant.

"In short, it was a nightmare," Allred said.


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Allred said that during Nicky Diaz Santillan's nine years of employment, Whitman caused her "to feel exploited, disrespected, humiliated and emotionally and financially abused."

"The relationship was terminated last year by Ms. Whitman for what appeared to be political reasons involving Ms. Whitman's decision to run for governor," Allred said.

Allred contended that Whitman knew her client was an illegal immigrant, but kept her employed until she decided to run for governor.

Tom Hiltachk, Whitman's attorney, denied the allegation.

"This person was initially hired by Meg Whitman in November 2000," Hiltachk said in remarks reported on the Los Angeles Times Web site. "She filled out standard (Internal Revenue Service) forms and Department of Justice forms and presented her Social Security card and California driver's license. She filled out immigration forms that stated under penalty of perjury that she was a lawful resident."

Hiltachk said the woman admitted in June 2009 that she was not a legal resident.

"She was immediately suspended and terminated on June 29, 2009," he said.

Whitman's spokeswoman Andrea Jones Rivera released the following statement:

"With the polls tied, it comes as no surprise that the morning after a successful debate for Meg that the sleaze machine of the political left is now focused on the politics of personal destruction. Gloria Allred is a shameful manipulator and the timing of today's news conference so close to the election should serve as a warning to Californians that they are witnessing dirty political smears at their worst."

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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