Oldham Council appointed Bell Pottinger North to handle media relations around its prosecution of kitchens trader Vance Miller in January.
The Manchester Evening News reported that Oldham Council appointed the agency because it wrongly assumed it would win the case. But when the judge threw the case out, the only media relations the council embarked upon was to issue a 134-word statement and to refuse to answer any questions.
Bell Pottinger North managing director Chris Warham said the agency had been retained for four months running up to the case. During that time, it developed a multimedia press pack that was never used and 'prepared for the case being won or lost'.
Warham defended the payment it received: 'It was a very complicated case. The amount of evidence being pulled together by both sides was enormous. I believe we delivered what the council asked us to.'
He said the statement was 'not particularly well-issued' by the council's press office because at that time it was dealing with snow announcements.
Part of the agency's work involved writing case studies with 'disgruntled' customers of the kitchens trader.