Angry Accusations Follow St. Louis Account Shift

CHICAGO-This much isn’t in dispute: Alan Epstein left Kupper Parker Communications in St. Louis to join Adamson Advertising across town, and the $4 million regional Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken account made the same move.
Everything else remains a bit muddy, amid accusations and disagreements about whether Epstein and the Popeyes account team were fired from K-P or quit.
“It’s a tough business,” said Bruce Kupper, managing partner of K-P. The shop has been a regional agency for Popeyes for 14 years, Kupper said. Its business had grown to include Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas and, since February, all of Texas, with the exception of Houston.
Epstein had been with the agency for 16 years. He was a partner and the head of new business until August 14. Kupper says on that afternoon, Epstein and two Popeyes account people were “asked to leave” after they were caught making copies of key agency documents concerning Popeyes.
Epstein said he resigned, and that he has a letter of resignation to back him up. “How could I be fired at 1:20 [p.m.] and have another job by 2:40 [p.m.]?” he asked.
Epstein said he had longstanding differences with fellow executives at K-P.
“I resigned for reasons that had accumulated over a longtime period,” he said, although he declined to elaborate. “I don’t want to get into mudslinging,” he said.
Going to Adamson with Epstein were Kerry Allen, an account supervisor on Popeyes, and Martha Donovan, an account coordinator at Popeye’s.
Kupper said Epstein’s move violated a noncompete agreement, and that he is considering legal action. Epstein said the client’s decision was completely its own.
“It really is more conducive for the client to be at Adamson,” Epstein said. “The client would not move [the account] if it wasn’t to their benefit.”