Dowie sent home

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Fleishman-Hillard has suspended Doug Dowie, the former head of its Los Angeles office and architect of the agency's political practice, while investigating charges from ex-employees that bills to the city Department of Water and Power were faked, the Times reports. The home office in St. Louis also distanced itself, with an internal email to the troops from chairman John Graham calling the accusations disturbing and a firing offense if true. Also on Friday, city attorney Rocky Delgadillo announced a suit against Fleishman with the mayor and controller Laura Chick at his side, and councilmen Villaraigosa and Weiss demanded a probe of the DWP. Daily News, Daily Breeze.

So just how interwined is Fleishman in local affairs? The press secretaries for both Delgadillo and Mayor Jim Hahn once worked for Dowie at Fleishman. Hahn's former communications adviser and campaign manager works for Fleishman. Mayoral candidate Bob Hertzberg until recently had a rich contract with the firm. Villaraigosa's former press secretary works for rival PR firm Burson Marsteller, headed by a guy who until last year kept an office at Fleishman. Dowie has raised money for Hahn and advised Chick. Just the newspaper connections are dizzying. Dowie used to be managing editor of the Daily News, hired a number of ex-reporters from there and the Times as Fleishman VPs, and one of the ex-employees who says bills were padded is the daughter of the Times' former editor over all local coverage. And those are just the major connections...

Previously on L.A. Observed:
Fleishman back in the news
Cripes, it's the media

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