When we checked in last October on Doug Dowie, the former Daily News managing editor who went to prison in the Fleishman-Hillard case had just launched a new Los Angeles based PR business. The new issue of the Los Angeles Business Journal profiles Dowie (subscribers only) and finds that Evolution Communications still has no office, just one client and some freelance associates, including author and former LA Times Calendar writer Bill Knoedelseder. The story is framed as pugnacious ex-Marine and ex-editor is in the beginning stages of a new fight to get his career going again at age 66. "To some people, I have more baggage than the Queen Mary,” Dowie quips. From the story, with an updated photo of Dowie by Ringo Chiu:
At one time considered one of the most powerful public relations executives in Los Angeles, Dowie was general manager of Fleishman-Hillard Inc.’s L.A. office from 1998 to 2004. It was there that Dowie helped the firm secure a $3 million annual contract with the DWP, a deal that would ultimately become his undoing.
Amid a swirl of pay-for-play allegations during the administration of Mayor James Hahn, a jury convicted Dowie and a co-worker in 2006 of conspiracy and wire fraud stemming from charges that they overbilled the DWP by about $500,000.
Upon the advice of his lawyers, Dowie never took the witness stand in his defense, a decision he still regrets.
“My attorney said if we make the wrong decision here and you get convicted, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life,” Dowie remembered. “And I have now told him he was correct.”
By the time he went to prison, Dowie had racked up nearly $4 million in legal bills.
He said he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection last year in order to get a “fresh start.” He now supports himself with income from a sole PR client, his Social Security reimbursement and pensions from the Daily News and United Press International, where he worked as a reporter and bureau manager between 1978 and 1985.
The story says that Dowie has remained close to former Daily News editor Ron Kaye and some old friends, including longtime PR pro Lissa Zanville. Dowie's wife and mother both died while he was serving his prison sentence. He lives and works from his girlfriend's apartment in Brentwood, per the story.
I profiled Dowie for Los Angeles Magazine in 2004.
Previously on LA Observed
Doug Dowie takes a step back from prison
Dowie, Stodder lose appeals in Fleishman-Hillard case