At the heart of the controversy is a 2003 letter that Gloria Allred claims the Social Security Administration sent to Meg Whitman and her husband Griffith Harsh. The letter notifies them of a mismatch between housekeeper Nicky Diaz Santillon's name and her social security number. Whitman and Harsh initially said they never received it - but then Allred produced a copy. There's a note at the bottom asking the housekeeper to check into the problem that Allred claims was written by Harsh. Here's Allred during a news conference webcast on entertainment news site TMZ:
"Meg Whitman is exposed as a liar and a hypocrite. She should now apologize to Nicky, the press and the public for her blatant lie."
Allred says the letter proves that Whitman and Harsh knew Diaz Santillon was in the country illegally, but continued to employ her. However, Whitman and her husband say that's untrue. Rob Stutzman is with the Whitman campaign. He says the letter dealt with social security benefits - not legal status:
"if this letter is authentic, Dr. Harsh very reasonably does not recall ever seeing it. And it's also the very reasonable and likely conclusion that if the letter is authentic, his frame of mind is completely focused on making sure that Nicky was going to appropriately was going to receive her social security credit and therefore her benefits."
Harsh released a statement saying that he didn't remember receiving the letter, but it's possible the handwriting at the bottom is his. Whitman says she was shocked when Diaz Santillon told her she was undocumented in June of 2009. That's when the couple fired the housekeeper. The Whitman campaign calls the entire thing a politically-motivated smear campaign. Whitman says she's even willing to take a polygraph test.