Nicky, After You Pick Up the Kids, Can You Sort the Mail?

ImageThere are so many things wrong with Meg Whitman’s story that it’s difficult to know where to start. Meg Whitman was paying Nicky Diaz Santillan, her housekeeper, $23.00 an hour for 15 hours a week. Who pays their housekeeper $23.00 an hour. Answer (and I’ve researched this): Nobody. But wait, Nicky was, also her nanny. Assuming it was Monday to Friday, who has a nanny three hours a day?!! Answer: Nobody. Add into that, in addition to being a housekeeper/nanny, (i.e. domestic hyphenate), it was, also, part of Nicky’s job to sort the mail which clearly implies, she showed up, at least, five days a week.

Was the “fifteen hours” a way to avoid paying withholding tax, social security tax, unemployment tax, and, additionally, maintaining a worker’s compensation policy? Was it a ploy to pretend that Diaz Santillan was an independent contractor who “set her own hours”? A nanny doesn’t get to set their own hours and it’s very unusual that a housekeeper could do the same. But we don’t know. The facts aren’t out yet as to whether Ms. Whitman reported on a 1099 form or a W4 for Diaz Santillan. Although Meg Whitman has stated in many subsequent interviews, that she had a 1099 on file for Diaz Santillan (leading me to believe that my conjecture may be right.)

It doesn’t bother me that Meg Whitman hired a woman who had a problem with her immigration status. It bothers me that Meg Whitman didn’t do anything to help her. The same way it bothers me that Meg Whitman didn’t bother to even register to vote until she decided to run for office.

ImageWhat Meg Whitman (or her husband) could have done is hire an immigration lawyer to help their housekeeper/nanny/assistant, Nicky Diaz Santillan apply for a green card. Diaz Santillan’s two children had been born in the U.S. They’re both citizens – there was a case to be made. Meg Whitman could have sponsored her and signed a sworn affidavit that she would give Diaz Santillan a job. But she didn’t. She didn’t do anything. Except cook the books, so to speak, and pay Nicky “$23.00 an hour” for “15 hours a week” of work.

But like I said, it doesn’t bother me that she employed her. What bothers me is that she lied about it. Because the facts are out now, and she knew, as early as 2003. What bothers me is that Meg Whitman didn’t think any of the rules applied to her until she was running for public office.

I had a housekeeper/nanny/assistant once who had a problem with her immigration status. I hired an immigration lawyer and I sponsored her. It was a different time and she was from El Salvador and was eligible for political aslyum. After a somewhat lengthy process, she was granted a green card. That was seventeen years ago. Lila is a citizen, now, as is her daughter, as is her granddaughter who was born here. Lila came in to work on Friday and said, “I wasn’t planning to vote in November – it didn’t seem important. But, boy, am I voting, now.”