NEW YORK Omnicom Group's Fleishman-Hillard has confirmed the departure of Doug Dowie, an executive who allegedly played a key role in the public relations firm's ongoing overbilling scandal.
In July 2004, the St. Louis-based agency's Los Angeles office was accused by the L.A. Department of Water and Power of overbilling the utility in excess of $4.2 million from May 1999 to 2004.
Dowie, the former manager of F-H's Los Angeles branch, was placed on paid administrative leave at the time; he had been accused by ex-agency staffers of encouraging employees to falsify DWP invoices. Two other F-H employees associated with the DWP account, Steve Getzug and John Stodder, have also left the PR practice.
"As of this week, three employees who were associated with the DWP account are no longer employees of Fleishman-Hillard," said Richard Kline, general manager and senior partner at F-H, Los Angeles.
Kline would give no other details of the employees' departures.
"We're making no accusations and no individuals have been accused of criminal wrongdoing by authorities," he said.
While at F-H, Dowie was the most senior person on the DWP account from 1998 to 2004. Getzug was a senior vice president on the business from 1998 to 2004, and Stodder, also an svp, worked on the account from 2002 to 2004, said Kline.