City News Service has moved an urgent advisory, saying that Doug Dowie, the former head of Fleishman-Hillard public relations in Los Angeles, has been charged with conspiracy and fraud. The story is developing (and this post is being updated frequently)...
* Updates: It's a superseding indictment to the earlier charges against Dowie's former deputy at Fleishman, John Stodder. I now have the indictment in hand; more as I read it...The new charges relate to Fleishman-Hillard's contracts with the Department of Water and Power, the Port of Los Angeles, Gehry Partners and the Worldwide Church of God.
In count one, Dowie and Stodder are charged with conspiring with unnamed, unindicted co-conspirators to falsify PR billings to the DWP, port, Gehry and the church. In one example, the indictment says, when Stodder proposed padding the hours charged to the DWP, Dowie emailed "OK, let's do it."
Counts two through sixteen allege interstate wire fraud by Dowie or Dowie and Stodder, in the transmission of false billings between Fleishman headquarters in St. Louis and (I think) the clients in Los Angeles. The indictments come out of the federal side of the task force investigating Fleishman and corruption in City Hall, and are signed by U.S. Attorney Debra Wong Yang; Stephen D. Clymer, chief of the criminal division; and Adam D. Kamenstein, head of the public corruption and government fraud section.
Dowie is expected to surrender to federal custody on Friday and appear in court in the afternoon. The conspiracy charge carries a possible five-year prison sentence. Each count of wire fraud could bring twenty years [Did I read that right? Yes.].
The grand jury alleges that the DWP overbillings total more than $300,000. The indictment reports a January 2003 discussion where Dowie suggests padding a DWP bill by $30,000, and Stodder responds that amount was "more than the system could bear." So they reduced the false charges to help them get through.
Doug Dowie was the head of Fleishman-Hillard's office in Los Angeles and a close confidante of Mayor Jim Hahn. He also is the former managing editor of the Daily News. Here is my Los Angeles magazine story on Dowie from January 2004.
Dowie sues Fleishman-Hillard
Fleishman case indictment
Massacre at Fleishman-Hillard
Ethics edict at Fleishman
Dowie sent home
Fleishman throws in the towel
Dowie kicked upstairs
and my personal favorite...