Doug Dowie, the former power broker as head of the Fleishman-Hillard PR office in Los Angeles during the mayoral administration of Jim Hahn, has been ordered to report to federal prison on Feb. 4. Same for John Stodder, his underling at Fleishman, according to the L.A. Times. They were convicted in May 2006 of wire fraud and other charges in connection with inflated bills for PR services to the city's Department of Water and Power. Dowie was sentenced to 42 months and Stodder to 15 months, but they have been free for three-plus years while appealing. The 9th Circuit rejected the appeals on several points last month, sending the case back to U.S. District Court Judge Gary Feess. He has now told the men to surrender Feb. 4, according to a lawyer in the Times report.
We covered this story at length back at the time, and before his fall I profiled Dowie for Los Angeles Magazine. He is the former managing editor of the Daily News and UPI bureau chief who transitioned to politics and PR starting on the staff of then-Assemblyman Richard Katz. An ex-Marine and strong personality who clashed frequently with colleagues in journalism and PR, Dowie made enemies and a reputation for being cutthroat that probably didn't help him avoid becoming the highest-profile target when prosecutors went after Hahn Administration associates before the 2005 mayoral election. Since his conviction, Dowie has worked with Richie Lichtenstein at Marathon Communications and contributed to ex-Daily News colleague Ron Kaye's politics website.
Stodder was a former journalist and City Hall staffer before going into PR. He also worked for Supervisor Ed Edelman at the Hall of Administration. After his conviction, Stodder wrote on his blog about what it's like having a family while facing a prison sentence. Both men have insisted on their innocence throughout and have pointed out that neither made money off these crimes.
Steve Sugerman, another former Fleishman-Hillard executive, pleaded guilty to wire fraud in the overbilling and received three years probation and 250 hours of community service. He cooperated with authorities in the Dowie and Stodder prosecution and remains in practice on the Westside.
Sacramento Bee photo: Doug Dowie at the Pacific Dining Car