Fleishman's Kline responds to allegations stemming from <i>Los Angeles Times</i> article

Richard Kline, Fleishman-Hillard's regional president and GM, has responded to fresh allegations against the agency published in today's Los Angeles Times, which names a former employee who claims the firm falsified time sheets for its Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) account.

Richard Kline, Fleishman-Hillard's regional president and GM, has responded to fresh allegations against the agency published in today's Los Angeles Times, which names a former employee who claims the firm falsified time sheets for its Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) account.

Meanwhile Doug Dowie, the former GM who is at the center of the controversy that has swirled around the DWP account, is still working with the firm's public affairs clients, Kline affirmed. "He is working directly with clients, and these are clients who he has provided counsel to for many years and who have trust in him," Kline said. Diana Greenwood, the former employee, told the Times, "There was a monthly billing figure that we needed to hit, so if it meant making up stuff, we made up stuff." "The firm's leadership has no knowledge of any such activity," Kline told PRWeek. "A review is in progress and if we discover any wrongdoing we will take swift, appropriate steps." Kline confirmed that Greenwood was a FH account executive for 10 months in 1999 and worked on the DWP business. It is not known if she worked on other firm business. "She had no responsibility for billings," Kline said. "At no time did she ever come forward with these allegations." FH clients were alerted in advance that the Times story was forthcoming. Kline said the LA office is winning new business, but declined to give the office's total staff number, citing the restrictions imposed by holding companies because of Sarbanes-Oxley legislation. Gail Harris, public affairs representative for the DWP, said her agency plans an internal investigation, and will work with the city controller to examine the issue. Joe Scott, director of communications for the L.A. district attorney?s office declined to confirm whether that office was investigating the billing charges, which the D.A. told the Times would be a ?form of theft? if proved true. Scott said, ?We are involved with the federal government in an ongoing investigation into pay to play,? in reference to a separate investigation involving city contracting procedures.

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