Ex-Fleishman exec enters plea of not guilty in DWP case

LOS ANGELES: Former Fleishman-Hillard executive John Stodder Jr. pled not guilty last week to federal charges of wire fraud.

LOS ANGELES: Former Fleishman-Hillard executive John Stodder Jr. pled not guilty last week to federal charges of wire fraud.

The charges stem from the firm's alleged $4.2 million overbilling on a contract with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Stodder, along with other unnamed "co-schemers," has been accused of padding invoices and falsifying hours on that contract and others with the Port of Los Angeles, the World Wide Church of God, and architect Frank Gehry's firm.

A trial date was tentatively set for August 2, and Stodder remains free on bail. The date was set in part to allow the defense time to examine evidence, including what Assistant US Attorney Adam Kamenstein describes as "probably well over a million e-mails."

Stodder was indicted in the middle of last month as part of an ongoing investigation by the FBI, the US Department of Transportation, and the LA country district attorney.

Kamenstein declined to comment on whether more indictments are expected, but LA Mayor James Hahn, whose has been plagued by the DWP scandal and, according to campaign finance reports, has raised money for his own legal defense fund, asserted that any further indictments before the upcoming elections on March 8 would be politically motivated.

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