NEW YORK: Claiming it is ’tired of PR firms being used as scapegoats,’ RLM Public Relations has taken a former client to arbitration for dollars 10,500 in unpaid fees and expenses.
NEW YORK: Claiming it is ’tired of PR firms being used as
scapegoats,’ RLM Public Relations has taken a former client to
arbitration for dollars 10,500 in unpaid fees and expenses.
MOUSE, a Manhattan-based non-profit group that helps New York City
public schools bridge the digital divide, canceled its PR contract with
RLM on April 27, one month before it could have walked away without
MOUSE was paying dollars 9,000 per month, one-third of the agency’s
Jonathan Herzog, a lawyer representing RLM, said the case is clear-cut:
’It was a one-year term contract, starting January 27. There was a
window from May 16 to May 31 in which either party could back out. MOUSE
breached the terms of the contract.’
According to Herzog, MOUSE executive director Sarah Holloway canceled
the contract on April 27, claiming MOUSE wanted to work with a firm with
more non-profit experience. Non-profits on RLM’s roster include City
Family magazine, and the NY-based Community Health Center.
Calls to MOUSE were not returned, and its new PR rep, George Shea of
Shea Communications, said his client ’did not want to address this issue
But MOUSE was not shy about drumming up press over Memorial Day
The story was leaked to the Silicon Alley Reporter, where MOUSE chairman
Joanne Wilson once served as advertising director. The SAR is also a
corporate sponsor of MOUSE, according to its Web site.
In an e-mail obtained by PRWeek, sent one day before the SAR story ran,
Wilson told RLM CEO Richard Laermer that MOUSE canceled the contract
because of substandard service. Wilson added that unless RLM dropped its
arbitration claim, ’I will leak this to the press ... I would suggest
that your other clients or potential clients would not be interested in
RLM suing a non-profit such as MOUSE.’
’I found it more humorous than anything else,’ Herzog said of the
Laermer was less diplomatic: ’It was blackmail.’
Connie Connors of NY-based Connors Communications said no one will come
out of these contretemps looking good. ’Let’s not air our dirty
laundry,’ she said. ’It devalues the PR profession.’ She added that
after getting stiffed by a few clients, she has gotten more serious
about demanding payment up front.
RLM is also seeking unpaid fees from two other former clients, RU4 and
online jewelry retailer Bodyflash.