Gov. Huntsman Stands By Nomination for Dept. of Community and Culture

Gov. Huntsman Stands By Nomination for Dept. of Community and Culture

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Richard Piatt ReportingGovernor Huntsman is standing by his nominee to lead the Department of Community and Culture. Yvette Diaz would be the first Hispanic in a top cabinet position in Utah, but her confirmation is anything but clear-cut.

The Diaz nomination is charged with political electricity, sparked by allegations she hired an illegal immigrant to work for her. The charges may or may not affect her Senate confirmation. But they are enough for a group of fellow Hispanics to make it a point to come out and support her.

Yvette Diaz isn't commenting about charges she employed a nanny for a year and a half, knowing that nanny was an illegal immigrant. But her attorney released a packet of documents, also sent to the Governor, defending her. Included in the packet were documents that support claims that Diaz hired Andreina Perez, believing she was eligible to work as a nanny in Utah. Those documents include a green card, social security card, tax forms, and what's known as an I-9 form.

Also today, the Utah Hispanic Advisory Council and other individuals defended Diaz.

Joe Reyna, Supports Diaz Nomination: "We are here together and we're not going to tolerate any more divisiveness."

Sean Reyes, Supports Diaz Nomination: "We believe her when she says she checked the documentation of her employee, that she and her husband paid taxes."

The key players in this situation are not talking. Diaz spent the day in this office building and did not return a phone message. And Perez, the ex-nanny, is declining to talk about the time she worked here at the Diaz home, at least until her story airs on Spanish-language Univision TV.

In response to an investigation, her attorney says the Venezuelan-born Perez is fearful because of her status, but claims the Diaz family knew of her undocumented status, even discussing it with her.

A series of checks confirm Diaz paid about $600 a month to Perez for about 19 months--income Perez says was unreported, but that Diaz claims was.

Right now it's the word of an undocumented worker against Hispanic leaders, the Governor and of course Diaz. There is an investigation into this situation, seeking information about anything improper.

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