LAS VEGAS -- A Reno woman is coming forward claiming she was an illegal immigrant when she worked as a housekeeper in Brian Sandoval's home. The Guatemalan immigrant says Sandoval never asked for her work permit when she worked for the Republican gubernatorial candidate 13 years ago.
The Sandoval campaign denies ever knowing Reno resident Anna Padilla. But Padilla, who is now a U.S. citizen, says she's coming forward now, speaking first to Reno Spanish radio stations because Sandoval's stance on immigration enforcement would be harmful to Nevada's Latino community.
Padilla says she illegally immigrated from Guatemala in 1986. The mother of three found work as a housekeeper in Reno. She went by the name Maritza Gomez, using her middle and maiden names.
She claims then-state Assemblyman Brian Sandoval's wife Kathleen hired her after Padilla handed out business cards in their neighborhood October 1996.
"The checks were signed by Mrs. Kathleen and the checks had Brian Sandoval and Kathleen Sandoval's name, address and phone," she said.
But Padilla has no documented proof of those checks. She claims she was told Bank of America only allows access to those records up to seven years. Padilla says she was paid $40 to clean the Sandoval house every Monday.
"To me, it's very big and two rooms over here in the top. Then there was Mr. Brian Sandoval. That office, I don't touch it. I just take the garbage out and I clean the rest," she said.
Padilla presents documents showing she obtained her work permit after the period of time she allegedly worked for the Sandovals. She claims the Sandoval family never asked for her legal status or mentioned an I-9 form needed for Social Security taxes. Padilla says she stopped working for the Sandovals July 1997.
She adds she was excited to learn about Sandoval's candidacy until she discovered his stance on immigration enforcement.
"If he (will) not support the illegals, why is he hiring me at that time," she said.
Padilla contacted Rory Reid's campaign by email.
"Brian has taken a hard stance on immigration and has said more than once the employers should be responsible for who they employ. He's said that multiple times. He's taken a hard stance on immigration. If this was true, then I think it raises some questions on where he stands on this issues," said Reid spokesman Mike Trask.
The Sandoval campaign responded with a statement saying, "Brian and Kathleen do not know this person. Obviously, this is another desperate and dishonest attack by Rory Reid's failing campaign. It is further proof that Rory will say anything to get elected."