P.R. concern won’t pay for Dowie defense

first_imgThe former Fleishman-Hillard executive who won millions of dollars in city contracts while providing free political advice to Mayor James Hahn’s administration has lost his bid to have the public relations firm pay legal fees related to his federal indictment for fraud mainly over work for the Department of Water and Power. The Jan. 11 decision grants Fleishman-Hillard’s motion to dismiss Doug Dowie’s civil lawsuit demanding the company pay his defense costs. But U.S. District Judge Gary Allen Feess said Dowie could revive his suit if he is acquitted of charges that he bilked the DWP out of at least $300,000 over a four-year period. Dowie has pleaded not guilty. Dowie’s civil attorney, Michael J. Faber, said he didn’t know how much Dowie has racked up in legal bills with Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, but said those defense lawyers are continuing to “vigorously” represent him. Faber said Dowie can seek reimbursement of the legal fees later, regardless of the outcome of the criminal trial. Feess’ ruling doesn’t affect the wrongful termination suit that Dowie has filed against Fleishman Hillard, which is scheduled for trial in June. He’s seeking lost wages from his $370,000-a-year job and other damages, alleging he was made a “scapegoat” for the public relations company as it was being swept up in a City Hall corruption scandal. Fleishman-Hillard paid the city nearly $6 million to settle a lawsuit over the alleged overbilling, distanced itself from possible criminal wrongdoing in the case, and said it would fully cooperate in the investigation. The firm issued a statement saying it was satisfied with the court’s decision and would have no further comment. John Stodder, who also was fired by the P.R. giant, was indicted on 11 counts of wire fraud and a conspiracy charge. He also has pleaded not guilty. Former Fleishman-Hillard executive Steve Sugarman pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud in July, admitting he bilked the DWP out of tens of thousands of dollars and agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors against other former company officials. Beth Barrett, (818) 713-3731 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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