Celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred held a press conference Wednesday to announce that a former employee of California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman was filing a claim against the woman who had employed her for nine years. According to TMZ, Allred said that Nicky Diaz Santillan worked for Meg Whitman even after Whitman found out that her Social Security number was falsified — and was fired when Meg Whitman found her inconvenient for her candidacy for the governorship. Whitman’s camp quickly fired back, telling TMZ that Nicky Diaz Santillan had lied on her application in 2000 and was summarily fired when Whitman found out in June 2009. Whitman is blaming it all on Gloria Allred and Jerry Brown, the Democratic candidate for governor.
“I believe Nicky is being manipulated by Gloria Allred for political and financial purposes during the last few weeks of a hotly contested election,” Meg Whitman wrote in a statement.
“This is a shameful example of the politics of personal destruction practiced by people like Jerry Brown and Gloria Allred. The charges are without merit.”
And it well might be — at least plausibly so — that the allegations have a most coincidental timing, just shy of the election “surprise” month of October. Is it strange that Nicky Diaz Santillan has come forward after more than a year of silence to make the allegations and file for back wages or is it just simple coincidence? Were the press conference and the allegations simply the culmination of a long preparatory process that just happened to be ready for legal maneuverings by September 29, just a month before the November election, or was it carefully planned to embarrass the Republican candidate for California’s governor, especially after she made her public stance Tuesday in a debate with Jerry Brown that employers should be held accountable for hiring undocumented workers?
Coincidences are so difficult to accept when politics is involved and Whitman’s camp is making certain that the coincidence angle is illuminated.
Gloria Allred noted that Nicky Diaz Santillan had decided to come forward knowing that Whitman had the resources to retaliate. She said that Santillan was filing a claim of back wages and lost mileage for the work she did for Meg Whitman and for which she had never received compensation. Allred described the separation between employer and employee as the “cold and heartless treatment of a hard working Latina.”
In her own words, Nicky Diaz Santillan recounted how she was fired by Whitman. She said Whitman, who had known for years that she was undocumented because of notifications from the Social Security Administration, had first promised to help her then told her not to come back to work. She also told her to never tell anyone she knew her (Whitman).
Nicky Diaz Santillan said she had been treated as if she wasn’t a human being. Santillan said she was doing this for all the “Nickys” out there.
Meg Whitman has refuted the claims.
It isn’t even October… yet…