L.A. Controller Demands Fleishman Apology

BOSTON Los Angeles controller Laura Chick today demanded an apology from Omnicom Group’s Fleishman-Hillard during a city council hearing concerning her recent audit of the agency.

The demand comes two weeks after Chick’s audit of the L.A. office of Fleishman-Hillard found that the public relations firm overbilled the city’s Department of Water and Power by $4.2 million from 1998-2003 [Adweek Online, Nov. 16].

Richard Kline, senior partner and president of the agency’s L.A. office, said at the time, “We strongly disagree with the vast majority of the controller’s report. Most of the assertions in the document cannot be supported by fact.”

During the hearing today, Chick said the “full blame for this sham sits squarely with … Fleishman-Hillard. Quite simply, this is a story of corporate greed. My office is lined with boxes filled with thousands of pages of billing records detailing how Fleishman-Hillard used the City of Los Angeles as a cash cow.”

She continued: “Though admitting to over $600,000 in undocumented billings for which they have absolutely no explanation, Fleishman-Hillard has not seen fit to apologize to the people of Los Angeles. Not only do I ask … Fleishman-Hillard to apologize, I once again ask that they make things right by paying full restitution to the ratepayers of Los Angeles.”

Fleishman executives were not immediately available for comment.