DALLAS: McGill Associates, a mid-size PR and advertising agency based in Dallas, has apparently closed up shop, as its founder faces a trial for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the city.
John McGill, who started the agency more than 15 years ago, was indicted late last month by a Dallas County grand jury, charged with running a kickback scheme that netted him and a corrupt city transit official nearly $350,000.
In 2000, McGill Associates landed a four-year, $4.4 million advertising contract with Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART). Prosecutors say that McGill worked together with former DART AVP Micah Causey to bill the transit agency for work that was never performed, and divide the subsequent payments between themselves. The thefts occurred from September of 2002 to the end of the contract in July of 2004. DART media relations manager Morgan Lyons said that the contract was being reviewed for renewal when the irregularities became apparent. DART has since awarded the contract to Moroch, another local ad agency.
The Dallas County District Attorney began investigating suspicious payments related to the contract last September, and McGill was charged with first-degree felony theft last month.
Today, the agency's website has been taken down, and its phone number is no longer connected. Calls to McGill's cell phone were not returned by press time.
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, which hired McGill Associates in 2003 to handle PR for Dallas store openings, also did not return calls seeking comment.