LOS ANGELES: Former Fleishman-Hillard Los Angeles GM Doug Dowie has filed a lawsuit that charges the firm with using him as a scapegoat in its billing problems with the LA Department of Water and Power (DWP).
The suit, filed this morning, alleges that Fleishman broke a promise to keep Dowie employed as long as the former GM agreed not to speak publicly about the billing scandal and take paid administrative leave.
Fleishman has been accused of overbilling the DWP by $4.2 million. Dowie was released from the agency on January 5.
"What lies at the heart of this lawsuit is the fact that [Dowie] never did anything ... without the knowledge of [Fleishman]. It's apparent that what this is really about is scapegoating Doug Dowie by serving him up as a sacrifice," said Dowie's attorney, Michael Farber.
"[Dowie] kept his silence and [Fleishman] allowed the public perception to develop that it all stopped with Doug," said Faber. "[Dowie] was like a human punching bag and couldn't fight back, and then when things got hot they just fired him."
Fleishman regional president Richard Kline, who is named in the suit, said he was not able to comment on personnel issues, but said, "The lawsuit has absolutely no merit. If this litigation goes forward, I'm confident that the facts will show we treated Doug more than fairly."