The Whitman maid dirty trick

Everybody in California knows the story by now, if not everybody in the nation. Ten years ago, Meg Whitman and her neurosurgeon husband hired a part-time maid from an agency that certified her as a legal resident or citizen. In 2003, the family got a “no match” letter from Social Security about the maid. The letter DOES NOT say she is illegal and has all sorts of disclaimers in it. The letter can be seen here and there is a note, probably written by the husband, asking the housekeeper to “look into this.” The housekeeper kept the letter all this time (It was sent in 2003) and one wonders why. Finally, this spring, Whitman became aware that the maid was not legally here and had been lying all this time. She contacted her attorneys to see if she could do anything to help the maid legalize her status and they told her they could not help. At that point she fired the maid as the only thing she could do, especially as she was running for governor. An otherwise inflammatory web site confirms that Whitman did get legal advice to see if she could help her.

In June 2009, Allred says, Nicky spoke to Ms. Whitman and her husband Dr. Harsh for help to get legalization.

At that point Nicky Diaz Santillan picks up the story:

“I explained that I was married and our economic situation in Mexico was very bad…no job, no food, no place to live and that is why we came here…and that is why I need help… Ms. Whitman just laughed (Nicki starts to cry)…

“Dr. Harsh came in and said ‘I told you she was going to bring us problems.’

“Ms Whitman said, ‘calm down, calm down’ (Nicky breaks down and cries).

“I told them I believe in people and I told them people deserve a chance. I told them I don’t wish them any harm.

“Ms.. Whitman said ‘I don’t know what I can do but let me see what my lawyer can do.’

“On Wednesday June 29 she called me, ‘I talked to my lawyer and he told me can not do anything for you she said, I cannot help and don’t say anything to my children, I will tell them you have a new job, and have gone to school….I don’t know you, and you don’t know me, I have never seen you, and you have never seen me, understand’ (continues to cry)”
She throws me away like a piece of garbage

Aside from the emotional stuff, it is clear that Whitman, by the maid’s own statement, tried to help her. The maid has committed several felonies by this time and Whitman had no choice but to do what she did or break the law. It’s also clear that Allred and the Brown campaign have now focused a spotlight on this particular illegal alien for deportation. Whitman did not call immigration.

Illegal immigration is a serious problem and one that threatens to overwhelm California. The 1986 amnesty promised border enforcement but that promise was never kept. It is also clear that the emotional atmosphere about this subject has changed in the past 30 years. My closest friend in medical school was one of 10 or 12 children of a couple who may have come illegally into the country. I think the issue was much less formally treated in the distant past. His father had a welding shop where he made wrought iron gates and the like. His mother, who did not speak English, made her own tortillas. All the the children but one had graduate degrees.

My wife taught school in east Los Angeles, near the medical school and County Hospital. Most of the children in her class were Hispanic and many of the parents did not speak English. She quickly learned that if a child was not doing homework or putting out maximum effort, she must be very careful about how she mentioned this to the parents. Sometimes the child would come to school the next day with bruises. The parents were adamant that their children learn English and grow up educated. Slowly, that ethic has diminished and we now see the sort of pathology seen in the inner city black communities. Boys are in gangs and girls have out-of-wedlock babies in increasing frequency.

I have spent many years caring for illegal aliens, many of them trauma cases. One that stands out in my mind was a young man who was walking with a friend on the railroad tracks listening to his SONY Walkman when the train came. They didn’t hear the train, of course, and the friend was killed. This young man came in with a massive liver fracture bleeding into his chest and abdomen. I managed to pull him through although it took 60 units of blood to do it. After he went home, he came to the office for his first post-op visit with his brother, who spoke English. In talking to them, I learned that they had a lawn care and gardening business in San Juan Capistrano. I had had many uninsured patients pay me back through some sort of barter. One woman who had a housecleaning business, cleaned my house for six months. I suggested to this young man that he could cut my grass for a year to pay me back for saving his life. No, he said, they were too busy.

A couple of months later, an attorney for the railroad contacted me and we had a discussion. The young man was now trying to sue the railroad. We had a good laugh about it as I told him I had a conflict of interest. If he should win such an unlikely lawsuit, I might get paid. Not only was there no gratitude, but they were now trying to play the system.

I retired with my own medical problems some years ago and I now review claims for workers compensation. The only claims I see are those with an unusual aspect to them; routine care is handled by nurses. About two-thirds are Hispanic names and, of those, about half do not speak English. In the histories where such information is collected, the claimants list education often. It is usually second grade education and almost all are illiterate in Spanish, let alone English.

I think there has been a change in the immigrants in the past 30 years. There is a lower level of skill and education, for one thing. For another, there is a sense of entitlement. Listen to the tone of the Whitman maid’s statements. There have been lots of activists, many of them Democratic Party activists, telling these people that they are not illegal. There is no such thing as an illegal immigrant. Our highly educated president even made a statement that there were Mexicans here even before the founding of the United States. In fact, Mexico broke from Spain in 1821 but we have learned not to follow the president too closely on his facts. We see groups like MECHa organizing on college campuses and demanding courses on Chicano Studies as one more useless degree program.

The problem is worse now than it was in 1986, partly because the tone has changed. There is also the question of the employability of the newer immigrants who lack any education even in Spanish. Another hazard lurking in the background is the potential collapse of Mexico as a functioning state.

UPDATE: Here is an interesting post at NRO on income inequality contrasting the usual left wing approach to some data driven observations. The author agrees with me on illegal immigration.

Globalization is accelerating the long-term trend, but other factors are at work, as well. For example, one that Pearlstein managed to ignore was that our nearly open borders have meant the United States has imported millions of low-skilled, low-education workers from South of the Border. As my colleague Robert Rector has observed, we are literally importing poverty. Often hard-working, illegal immigrants nonetheless anchor the income distribution while they compete away low-skilled jobs from American citizens. Income inequality must increase if we import millions of low-wage workers. That is not a political observation; it is not anti-immigrant; it is a mathematical fact.

And look at Rector’s point, one I have made based on observation. He has data.

Today’s immigrants differ greatly from historic immigrant populations. Prior to 1960, immigrants to the U.S. had education levels that were similar to those of the non-immigrant workforce and earned wages that were, on aver­age, higher than those of non-immigrant workers. Since the mid-1960s, however, the education levels of new immigrants have plunged relative to non-immigrants; consequently, the average wages of immigrants are now well below those of the non-immigrant population. Recent immigrants increasingly occupy the low end of the U.S. socio-economic spectrum.[2]

The current influx of poorly educated immigrants is the result of two factors: first, a legal immigration system that favors kinship ties over skills and education; and second, a permissive attitude toward illegal immigration that has led to lax border enforcement and non-enforcement of the laws that prohibit the employment of illegal immigrants. In recent years, these factors have produced an inflow of some ten and a half million immigrants who lack a high school education. In terms of increased poverty and expanded government expenditure, this importation of poorly educated immigrants has had roughly the same effect as the addition of ten and a half million native-born high school drop-outs.

Based on the data I have seen, just in workers comp cases, a large share of those immigrants are third grade dropouts.

20 Responses to “The Whitman maid dirty trick”

  1. Montana says:

    Griff Harsh, the husband of California gubernatorial candidate Nutneg Whitman, acknowledged in a statement on Thursday that “it is possible” he received and wrote notes on a letter from the Social Security Administration back in 2003, regarding the former housekeeper. The Whitman/ Harsh household then fired their housekeeper in June 2009 (after nine years of service), when Nutmeg handlers decided that she was an election liability.

    Meg, Meg, Meg, where do I start, you have reportedly spent $140 million of your own money to get elected Governor but you couldn’t use some of it to get your housekeeper (after nine years of service) some legal help to get her papers, and worse you lied about it. Wow, what a WITCH, of course I meant it with a “B”.

    But your comments on holding employers accountable for hiring undocumented workers real takes the cake, I assume you exempt yourself and your husband, or will you be turning yourself in.

    Meg on holding employers accountable:

    Meg you think you can buy the election, but what puzzles many is if you real cared and loved California then why not do your civic duty and vote, seems more rhetoric than anything else.

    In good times we might give you a try but not in our disaster mode that we find ourselves in after that so-called outsider Independent Republican, named Arnold Schwarzenegger (sold to us by radio personalities John and Ken), ruined our state, yah we will trust another one of you liars, think not. And another thing nine years this maid was in your house, in your house and you failed to learned this major thing about her, come on this sounds like a huge lie that no one can believe in.

    Ebay paid out $200,000 because Nutmeg assaulted an employee, so it’s not the first time she has mistreated an employee. Good luck winning Nutmeg, money will buy you admiration from the majority just from the Gay Old Party (GOP), but not from all of California.

  2. KenF says:

    That’s our society. Politicians, judges, and other prominent officials wail against illegal immigration, then get caught employing them because they want cheap labor.

    Everyone wants cheap labor, but god forbid any illegal immigrants get hired ! I don’t buy the ‘we were duped’ defense.

    I think Whitman knew and/or just didn’t care until she began her campaign and figured out she had a problem that would hurt her. Whitman isn’t the first and won’t be the last to end up like this…

  3. Foxfier says:


    Are folks even reading your post?

    The gal followed the law to the best of her ability, EXCEPT for when she found out that someone who had been working for her for a long time had lied the entire time, when she tried to get the woman legal help. When that didn’t work, she fired her.

    Side note, I wouldn’t call over twenty bucks an hour “cheap…..”

  4. They are probably trolling web sites and posting prepared comments. The immigration thing in California is getting really nasty. The open borders advocates have no interest in what is happening to the state. George Skelton, an LA Times political columnist who is a lefty (no surprise there) and I had an e-mail exchange over a column in which he said Whitman was a hypocrite. I responded saying he is an open borders guy and he responded denying it. Now who is the hypocrite ?

    A member of a focus group that Frank Luntz had on Fox the other night made the most powerful comment. Now, employers will be afraid to hire any Hispanic because they cannot trust their documents. Certainly, any Republican politician would be crazy to have a Hispanic employee.

    The commenters above are just trolls. The troll Montana never acknowledges that Allred pulled same stunt on Schwartzennegger. A woman accused him of sexual harassment some years ago at the gym where he used to work out. After the election, the woman vanished. No case was ever brought. Schwartzennegger was a disappointment but he tried with his ballot initiatives. He made the mistake of holding a special election instead of waiting for a primary or general election. The employee unions spent over $100 million to defeat them and he just gave up.

  5. Foxfier says:

    …So, in a response to a post pointing out the cheap political trick with the maid, they’re doing ANOTHER cheap political trick?


  6. Dana says:

    God,this is so ridiculous but to be expected. On the upside, the Brown camp referred to Whitman as a “whore”, so at least we can move on to some other “scandal”. Cannot wait for this election to be over with.

  7. Mike K says:

    It will get worse. Cuomo is now running ads showing elderly Social Security beneficiaries being sent to jail by Republicans. Some of the ads, like one run by Dingell’s campaign in Michigan, are so silly they will backfire. I can’t find it now but it has photos of tea party rallies. The first time I looked at it, I thought it was a tea party ad.

  8. Mike K says:

    I found the Dingell ad. Just scroll down.

  9. mary stack says:

    There is now way Whitman believed her housekeeper was a legal immigrant. I get the distinct impression she could not have passed the INS English proficiency test nine years ago.

    Either case, comparing Allred’s sexual harassment case vs. Schwarzenegger is idiotic. Does that make all her clients liars? IIRC, Schwarzenegger admitted he was a bad boy, and apologized for his behavior. Btw, juxtaposing an elected President to the omniregency of Sheikh Mohammed (who is the PM, Vice President of UAE, Dubai’s ruler, and part of a tribal leadership dynasty) is carping criticism.

  10. doombuggy says:

    Interesting post.

    Not only was there no gratitude, but they were now trying to play the system.

    I casually hired a green card Mexican national 10 years ago. I found out later he had previously been in a drunk driving accident and ran up $250,000 in medical bills which was paid for by Social Security and he was on SSI. When our relationship became somewhat acrimonious, he became a work comp nightmare, filing claims for every little thing and threatening to sue me. He did get on with an alleged neck injury that resulted in a fraud investigation. The case worker shared with me her frustration that she could not inform the doctor that this shark was working while under medical orders not to work. When I finally got rid of him, I noticed a rash of burglaries on some remote properties and equipment that I suspect was from him filling in his circle of buddies. In general he was comfortable with theft and not paying his bills. I don’t imagine he will earn enough in his lifetime to cover the cost of his pathologies.

    Our society can absorb a few of these individuals, but too many and we become another Latin American country. Yipee.

    It is eerie in how the Mexican immigrants in our area promptly go down and file for all the available assistance programs. Knowledge is power, I guess.

    Our immigration debate has a weird zeitgeist. A common refrain is that “immigrants do work that Americans won’t do”. This is insulting, and I haven’t seen any such in my hires. The same Leftists that sneer at patriotism, Americanism, and Christianity, get all teary eyed about immigrants coming here to better their lives. If they are going to be so cynical, I wish they would be a little more suspicious of the recent arrivals who seem more intent on building an outpost of the old country.

  11. Foxfier says:

    I get the distinct impression she could not have passed the INS English proficiency test nine years ago.

    Wait, she should’ve known the person she hired, with documents showing she was legal, wasn’t legal because she talked funny?


  12. Mike K says:

    These trollers never come back to explain how they know what she was thinking. I do think this will harm Hispanics looking for work. Also, the Schwartzennegger incident was well documented and yes, many if not most, of Gloria Allred’s clients are liars.

    The “carping criticism” is obviously from someone who knows nothing about business or economics. Just remember that economics is a branch of psychology. Why people invest their money hoping for a return is a complicated calculation but the rule of law has to be a big part of it. Why do you think there is no African country that is prosperous?

  13. Mary Stack says:

    Dear Oy,
    I am an immigrant and we are required to speak, and write in English. I saw the Allred/”Nicky” news conference, and her language skills were basic at best. If you recall, she had worked for the Whitman family for nine years, and it ended two year ago. Typically, immigrant women exposed to school aged children improve their verbal/written skills exponentially faster than their male counterparts.

    The green card issue further cast doubt on the Whitman story. This pink card has evolved from the simplistic paperwork to several types of cards with different requirements. IIRC, the validity of the card varies from one to ten years. Did her sister’s appearance even match that of Nicky? Did her sister have a one year car, or a ten?

  14. Mary Stack says:

    Mike, I posted my reply before I read your post. So you are wrong on “never come back to explain how they know what she was thinking”.

    Troll? That is too childish for a rebuttal.

    “Gloria Allred’s clients are liars”. Really? A lawyer has guilty clients? Next, you’re going to tell me a hooker has johns. In Allred’s defense, those girls she represented (in theTiger Woods scandal) had convincing evidence of their relationships.

    “[S]omeone who knows nothing about business or economics” I have no doubt you have isangelous knowledge in every subject but I know enough to recognize a phlyarologist when I hear one.

  15. Foxfier says:

    I grew up with a great many folks whose parents were legal immigrants.

    Most of them are still cursing the US school system because the English as a Second Language training fails them. Most don’t have good enough English to be competitive.

    Yay, California!

    Typically, immigrant women exposed to school aged children improve their verbal/written skills exponentially faster than their male counterparts.

    Depends on if the children are actually learning English, or if they’re being taught in their language of origin. This USE to be true, in my parents’ generation.

  16. Foxfier says:

    On a side note: my great-grandparents were mostly immigrants. Those from Scotland were nearly incomprehensible to my father, even thought they were technically speaking English. This, in spite of having a far larger number of children and grandchildren who spoke understandable English, and not having a population that would support inability to do so.

    I also knew several folks whose ancestry hailed from the Philippine Islands; also on generation three or four, no small number of them did not know more than basic English when they joined the US Navy. There are neighborhoods all over California where the default language is Tagalog.

    There’s a ton of running jokes about the Navy supply system, because it attracts so many people with incredibly thick Filipino accents and sometimes questionable grasps of the English language. Some of these people are immigrants; some are born citizens.

    Are you going to assume that all of those Vets, many of whom risked life and limb, are illegals? Because they talk funny?

  17. Mary Stack says:

    I never used the words “talk funny”, and my point was in reference to Nicky’s exposure to English speaking children. I understand that there is is trend to speak the native language in some homes, educate their children via ESL, and I agree the results have led to failure. My exposure has been to immigrant parents who are sending their children to private/parochial school and in turn learning along with their children. Their sacrifices to educate their children is probably similar to the attitude of parents from previous generations.

    You did not address the green card issue, and neither has the press. It would be interesting to see the identification photo on the sister’s green card.

    Mike, I reflected on your criticism that my carping criticism remark “is obviously from someone who knows nothing about business or economics.” Between the Bush and Obama governments, I am not sure than anyone with an economics background knows what the hell they are talking about either.

  18. Mike K says:

    Well, unlike a couple of commenters, you did come back to debate. OK. I had a cleaning lady for 25 years who was legal through amnesty in 1986. She was a hard worker and honest and a good person taking care of a lazy husband and a schizophrenic son. I could understand about one word in three and her English never got any better. That has been my experience with most first generation immigrants, legal or illegal. I have spent a lot of time, over 40 years, caring for these people and I have learned rudimentary Spanish but very few of them ever become fluent English speakers.

    You may hate Meg Whitman but god help us if Jerry Brown is elected. That was the thought behind my comment about people not understanding economics. Money really does not grow on trees.

    As far as the Bush government, I was very unhappy wth his failure to veto spending bills. I believe that Dennis Hastert was the villain in a lot of spending. He and DeLay thought they could keep a Republican majority forever by filling all the troughs with pork. Hastert is another member of “the combine”, the crooked outfit that has run Illinois into the ground. He is as big a crook as Reid and that is saying something. I was opposed to Bush pushing the Medicare drug bill, mainly because they did not press the drug companies for discounts. It is too expensive. There was, however, logic behind it. Drugs are a much larger part of treatment than they were in 1965.

    Bush and some of his administration did try to stop or slow down the Freddie/Fannie disaster but were thwarted by the Dems. I have You Tube video of the exchanges on my blog. Barney Frank and Maxine Waters are stars. The financial crisis can be dated back to the Carter CRA and the crony capitalism at Fannie and Freddie.

  19. Mary Stack says:

    My latest blog is in defense of Meg Whitman, and all other female politicians labeled as whores. My pen name blog has a better explanation of my political views, but alas, I’ve used my real name here.

  20. Foxfier says:

    You keep talking about the language skills she displayed on TV; that’s an elaborate way to say she didn’t speak like a standard American, AKA, she talked funny.

    You did not address the green card issue

    As I have no way of getting a look at the card and making a judgement on if it’s close enough– considering how horrible government ID cards tend to be– to believe it when taken in conjunction with everything else… of course I didn’t “address” the issue.

    Of course, I know that when I sign up for a job, I have to say that I’m eligible to work in the US, and that I’ll alert my employer if that changes.

    That agency needs to *really* be looked at closely.