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Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Is All Press Good Press? Ask Your Favorite PR Firm

Laura Chick digs in again. This time her meal is the contract between Fleishman-Hillard and the City of LA. She claims that through "unsubstantiated, unsupported, and questionable" billings that the PR firm has bilked the taxpayers of LA for $4.2 million, and she wants the money back. She has turned her reports over to the army of prosecuting groups salivating at the bit to go after Fleishman. The $4.2 million overcharge accounts for almost 18% of the total $24 million the firm has billed DWP.

Now for the fun part. The blame game. Chick says it belongs to Mayor Poopy. She has a point, as half of his staff seems to have worked for Fleishman at one point or another, and how could they not know this was going on? Hahn sent his spokesman Robb to the front to point out that Chick shares blame since she cut the checks. Well DUH! Mayor Poopy also sent a "strongly worded" statement to Delgadillo saying to take a tough line with Fleishman. Talk about bold leadership! I'm wowed!

There is plenty of blame to go around. Let the games begin!

24 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Chick should be ashamed of herself.

She is the only person I know who can get away with pointing her finger at other people and not looking at her own department's approval of all those Fleishman payments.

Only after she played the press did she FINALLY use her authority to reject requests for payments that lacked proper paperwork. What took so long??? And how did the other $4.2 million get past HER desk???

What a scam. What responsibility should the CONTROLLER take in the fiasco? She does sign ALL the checks in the City.

November 17, 2004 9:10 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Half his staff? Hmmm....only one current mayoral staffer used to work for FH and one former deputy mayor used to.

And before the cries of "well, you must work for the mayor" begin, let me point out that I do NOT work for Mayor Hahn.

Laura Chick absolutely should take part of the blame for this. Her staff signed off on the $4.2 million of supposed overbilling. what doe sthat say about her oversight and her staff?

November 17, 2004 10:15 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

My question back to Chick is why didn't she questioned the bills when SHE PAID THEM? No one is to blame as much as she is for signing all that money to the pr firm. Good luck trying to get it back

November 17, 2004 10:35 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Who's taken money from Fleischman-Hillard (according to the city's ethics site)?
Cardenas: $2,000
Chick: $3,000
Delgadillo: $2,250
Garcetti: $1,000
Gruel: $2,000
James Hahn: $4,725
Janice Hahn: $1,500
LaBonge: $2,750
Ludlow: $500
Padilla: $3,000
Parks: $500
Perry: $1,000
Reyes: $500
Smith: $1,000
Villaraigosa: $3,150
Weiss: $500
Zine: $500

Add to that more than $70,000 contributed by individuals who list FH as their employer.

Something tells me that FH is gonna come out of this juuuuuuust fine.

November 17, 2004 2:03 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Add CD11 candidate Bill Rosendahl to list. But he was stupid enough to accept it even after the scandal broke and won't give it back.

November 17, 2004 8:29 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Chick is sounding like a big cry baby. Thanks to her, $4.2 million of our tax dollars is gone and she won't be able to get it back. Doesn't she LOOK at bills that she pays? Shouldn't SHE have been more diligent then simply signing off all that money to ONE company? This definitely should tell all VOTERS in Los Angeles, Laura Chick IS NOT the type of controller we should re-elect. I hate to think how many other companies she gave blanket pay offs to without questioning them. We don't need another airhead added to our list of politicans.

November 18, 2004 9:18 AM  

Blogger Chief Parker said:

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

November 18, 2004 10:01 AM  

Blogger Chief Parker said:

So, we learn today that not only did Fleishman-Hillard overcharge the DWP, they weren't even always doing their bidding. Where was there attention averted to you ask? A certain office on the third floor of City Hall perhaps? Imagine that!

While at this point no one should be shocked by yet another scandal to hit the Mayor's office, it is amazing at just how brash they were. They were charging work for their office to DWP's contract. Now, I give Mayor Poopy a lot of credit for at least realizing that his office has fallen so far off the wayside that major PR work would be needed to right the ship, but to do it on the DWP's budget which is already used on a monthly basis to bail out the general fund rampant with his leaderships overspending is appalling. It's no wonder we don't have enough money for basic city services like police and fire and have our basic fees for trash and water threatened to be raised to astronomical rates.

Check out the LA Times for more.

November 18, 2004 10:06 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

From: Spring Street Philosopher

Laura Chick was on KABC radio this morning and they discussed how the DWP sponsors the Dodgers. Maybe a scan of the Ethics Commission database for the Dodgers and their past and current owners would be in order.

The DWP - a city agency with a total monopoly - spends $24 million per year on PR. Think of how many cops that could buy! (Probably at least 1500-2000).

Much of the DWP largese is showered on community groups and events. While a good cause in theory, it would be interesting to connect this money to support for the Mayor, Council, et al.

November 18, 2004 10:17 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

WAIT A MINUTE. YOU MEAN TO TELL ALL OF US THAT EVEN CHICK GOT CAMPAIGN MONEY FROM THE PR FIRM THAT SHE NOW IS GOING AFTER?

November 18, 2004 10:57 AM  

Blogger Chief Parker said:

Each and every elected city official has taken money from Fleishman-Hillard except for one...

Drum Roll please........

Cindy Miscikowski. Maybe she should be our next CLA.

According to the LA City Ethics Commission website, she hasn't even taken a check from someone employed by Fleishman-Hillard.

November 18, 2004 11:17 AM  

Blogger Chief Parker said:

You can check the LA City Ethics Commission site for yourselves too, if you would like.

http://ethics.lacity.org//efs/public_search.cfm

This is a great resource for all things troublesome down in City Hall

November 18, 2004 11:21 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I'm in Cindy's district, and am far from a fan of her's, but I give her props for staying off the FH money. Thanks for your constituent, Cin!

November 18, 2004 4:47 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

READ THIS....The mayoral election politics around this story could get interesting. Chick had endorsed Hahn for reelection, but withdrew her backing in August with a blast at Hahn. She is friendly with both Antonio Villaraigosa, who she endorsed four years ago, and Bob Hertzberg, who presided at her swearing-in to office in 2001. Hertzberg has his own complications, having been under contract to Fleishman during some of the time that the DWP payments were made. Part of Fleishman's defense could be that Chick's office approved the invoices and payments made under the disputed DWP contract. Meanwhile, Chick says she sent her audit findings to the DA and the U.S. Attorney. With federal and county grand juries already looking into the Hahn Administration's ethical practices, it's reasonable to assume that the Fleishman-Hillard issues are being rolled into those inquiries.

November 18, 2004 5:59 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Say it ain't so Joe....HERTZBERG

November 18, 2004 6:33 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Say it ain't so Joe....HERTZBERG

November 18, 2004 6:33 PM  

Blogger The Gadfly said:

Fleishman-Hillard is in business to make money. That's what businesses do, right? City officials are supposed to use the lowest cost responsible bidder. City officials can cancel a contract or award away from the lowest cost responsible bidder.

City officials wrote the contract. City officials administered the contract. City officials used the services for years. City officials approved the purchases. The Controller's Office paid for the services rendered for years.

After six years of abuse, Laura Chick and City officials (contract users) get the idea to blame Fleishman-Hillard for not managing the City's money...

Why aren't the city officials held responsible? Aren't they responsible for prudent use of city resources in the best interests of the citizens?

Do we need a contractor to monitor our City officials? Isn't it supposed to be the other way around?

Should we question the use of the City Attorney's office attempt to transfer blame to Fleishman-Hillard?

Are these bankrobbers blaming the government for minting the stolen money?

November 18, 2004 9:35 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY CORRECT

November 19, 2004 9:36 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY CORRECT

November 19, 2004 9:38 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Fleishman-Hillard is in business to make money. That's what businesses do, right?... Why aren't the city officials held responsible?"Er... seems like there's enough blame to go around. Being "in business to make money" doesn't justify overbilling and account inflation. Sure, we can blame the security guard who fell asleep at the door, but that doesn't absolve the burglar who tiptoed past him, bag in hand.

November 19, 2004 1:38 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Hertzberg was a consultant to Fleishman and yet he's coming out swinging at the Mayor. How much money did he get paid? Can someone post? Antonio on the other hand has his own money scandals. He's taken money from Neighborhood Councils knowing full well he had thousands in his state campaign fund left over. Now the question should be "how greedy can he be"?

November 20, 2004 8:57 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

http://www.calinst.org/bulletins/b1029i.htm

I guess Pete Wilson must have been overbilling DWP too.

Seems to me like Hertzberg's deal had more to do with his having been a former speaker than it did with being a mayoral candidate.

November 21, 2004 11:27 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Hertzberg is really disappointing me these days. He seems to be just as dirty as the rest of them. Yet, he comes out swinging as if he's the only clean candidate. I agree with the previous post people. We should be able to find out what clients Bob worked on and how much he got paid.

November 22, 2004 9:16 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

“At 11/19/2004 01:38:30 PM, Anonymous said...
Fleishman-Hillard is in business to make money. That's what businesses do, right?... Why aren't the city officials held responsible?"Er... seems like there's enough blame to go around. Being "in business to make money" doesn't justify overbilling and account inflation. Sure, we can blame the security guard who fell asleep at the door, but that doesn't absolve the burglar who tiptoed past him, bag in hand.”

Very good! However… Your security guard must be a descendant of Rip Van Winkle who has a five-year established pattern of nodding off at precise times and a practice of knocking off investigators (Dan Carvin) that are on the trail of the real perpetrators. In this case, the burglar has a store receipt for everything in the bag. FH was not low bid caviar. Were some of the Hahn’s pro bonos mis-marked (free)?

November 24, 2004 10:31 PM  

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