Sunday, May 21, 2006

Bolejack & McKenna Hire PR Firm

The Star's "Behind Closed Doors" clues us in today on the hiring of a local public relations firm, Avatar, by the ousted executive director of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute Heather Bolejack and the friend to whom she awarded a $417,000 grant Michael McKenna. Avatar's most famous client the column tells us is Stephen Hilbert, the former CEO of Conseco. The column reminds its readers of the now famous photo of the duo taken together at the recent grand opening of Sushi On The Rocks:

If nothing else, [Avatar President Ernie] Reno's experience with the Criminal Justice Institute's scandal has given him an important lesson he can share with others:

Discourage your clients from partying in public together as the scandal escalates. Or, at least, discourage them from having their pictures taken.

Bolejack and McKenna were photographed together by INtake (a sister publication of The Indianapolis Star) the day before Bolejack was fired -- a photo that then was publicized across Central Indiana.

AI has some even better advice for Bolejack and McKenna. Don't waste your money on a PR consultant. If the two of you have money just sitting in your pockets that you're just itching to burn through, hire a good criminal defense attorney.

"Behind Closed Doors" also takes a swipe at FSSA spokesman Dennis Rosebrough's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy for being less than candid about his boss' former ties to the company which is bidding on a contract with the agency valued at $1 billion. The column writes:

Dennis Rosebrough, spokesman for the Family and Social Services Administration, apparently subscribes to the "don't ask, don't tell" philosophy, even when it comes to information.

When Rosebrough was asked recently whether the group headed by Accenture -- one of the two finalists for a $1 billion agency contract -- had any connection to FSSA Secretary E. Mitchell Roob's former private-sector employer, the answer was "no."

What Rosebrough didn't say at the time was that Roob's former company, Affiliated Computer Services, was a partner in the other consortium seeking the job. In fact, he didn't even mention that ACS was a part of the group headed by IBM during an extensive interview regarding progress on the privatization contract.

Rosebrough was asked later whether Roob's former employer was a part of the IBM group. He then confirmed that ACS was involved -- and that it was no surprise "because there are only a limited number of companies who provide these services."

As a side note, AI noticed that in a recent local news interview Rosebrough appeared to react with surprise when questioned about Roob's ties to ACS. Perhaps his boss didn't clue him in on that one.


Anonymous said...

Even if it IS a good idea to hire a PR firm, hiring one for whom Hilbert has been the major client might not be the best of ideas.

Party on, Heather.

Anonymous said...

Heather has hired a defense attorney. She has been lynched in the media without us even knowing the facts. If you had a family to support wouldn't you fight for your rights to support them?

Gary R. Welsh said...

Absolutely anonymous 7:06, but I would do that work through a good defense attorney who can handle the media without the need for a p.r. firm. As an attorney, I have a real problem with p.r. firms being used to spin legal cases, which should be decided on the law and facts alone.

Anonymous said...

Well, as an attorney you know we should reserve judgement until we know the facts. Let's see where this goes before deciding we know it all.