SAN JOSE — Defeated Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman agreed to pay her former undocumented maid $5,500 Wednesday to settle a dispute that erupted during the heat of the fall campaign.
Nicky Diaz Santillan and Gloria Allred, her famous Los Angeles attorney, said they were pleased with the agreement.
It includes a statement from Whitman that she does not feel she owed her maid any money, and it is less than the $8,000 to $10,000 in wages, mileage and penalties that Allred had pursued.
But Allred called the agreement a "victory" that "vindicates us" because the check that Diaz Santillan will get is close to the entire amount she had initially sought – about $6,000.
The closed-door conference "was a bit tense and dramatic and sometimes unpleasant," Allred said. "Obviously, there are strong feelings on the other side. All we are focused on is the wages, and we resolved it."
Whitman did not attend the conference with officials of the state Department of Industrial Relations, but an attorney and her husband, Griffith Harsh, did attend.
Whitman campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds said the meeting was "the last dying gasp of a political act that all Californians are better off with now that it's dead and gone. It's important for people to understand that this was a political charade, and at the end of the day Meg Whitman and Dr. Harsh are just glad to move on and put this spectacle to rest."
Dennis Brown, an attorney representing Whitman, said many of the maid's claims could not be substantiated. No timecards were kept.
"Dr. Harsh was very concerned. He wanted to make sure that what Nicky Diaz was saying, she actually believed," Brown added.
Harsh asked the former maid, Brown said, to "look him in the eye" and say she was really owed money. He said Diaz Santillan refused.
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