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Nevada Woman Says Republican Candidate Brian Sandoval Hired Her Before she had Legal Status

Gubernatorial candidate Republican Brian Sandoval, right, during a debate against Democrat opponent Rory Reid, left, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010, in Las Vegas. AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

Updated: 1:38pm ET

California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman's isn't the only Republican facing housekeeper woes: Republican Brian Sandoval - who is running for Nevada governor - is now facing similar accusations.

CBS affiliate Channel 2 News in Reno reports that Ana Padilla, a Guatemalan immigrant, has come forward with a claim that she was employed by Sandoval as a housekeeper during the 1990s, before she gained legal status.

Padilla, who illegally immigrated to the States from Guatemala in 1986, said she was never asked to prove she was a legal resident.

Sandoval's campaign has denied the allegation, as well as any association with Padilla.

"Brian and Kathleen do not know this person," a spokesperson for the Sandoval campaign said in a statement obtained by CBS. "Obviously, this is another desperate and dishonest attack by Rory Reid's failing campaign. It is further proof that Rory will say anything to get elected."

Mike Trask, a spokesman for Rory Reid , acknowledged that Padilla had contacted the campaign -- but, he says, "this is not a 'desperate attempt.'"

"Ana did contact our campaign a few weeks back...Our campaign spoke with her  at length, collected some of her documents, and ... we had an attorney look into it," Trask said, in an interview with CBSNews.com. 

"To be frank, we thought Ana's story was compelling and we were looking into it," Trask continued. "Ana asked to be put in contact with media members. Basically, I gave her number to a couple local reporters and said, 'this woman has a tip.' ... The way the story ended up coming out last night frankly had nothing to do with our actions whatsoever."

Padilla, now a legal citizen, says she worked for Sandoval and his wife, Kathleen, in 1997. "When I was working for them, they never asked me for documentation," Padilla said, adding that she primarily dealt with Kathleen while working for the family. "The checks all the time were signed by Kathleen, but the checks have both of their names on them," she said.

Padilla says she was initially excited to see Sandoval, Nevada's first Hispanic attorney general and federal judge, running for office - but that she was disappointed when she learned of his stance on illegal immigration.

Sandoval has said he does not support amnesty for undocumented citizens, and has spoken in favor of Arizona's controversial immigration bill, SB1070, which was passed amid much controversy last spring.

"In the time I worked with him, he supported me," said Padilla. "Now he says he does not support Latinos that are already here?"

Despite claims that Reid's camp is behind Padilla's statement, the woman says she does not support either Sandoval or Reid for governor.

According to U.S. Census data, 26.5 percent of Nevada residents were of Hispanic or Latino origin as of 2009. A recent poll currently puts Sandoval ahead of his Democratic rival by a 13-point margin.

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Lucy Madison
Lucy Madison 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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