TWO FORMER OGILVY & MATHER EXECS PLEAD NOT GUILTY
Handcuffed Defendants Appear in U.S. District Court
INDICTED OGILVY & MATHER FINANCE CHIEF RESIGNS
Thomas Early Is Charged With Defrauding Government
TWO INDICTED IN WHITE HOUSE DRUG OFFICE CASE
One Current and One Former Ogilvy & Mather Executive Named
BACKGROUND: THE WHITE HOUSE DRUG OFFICE ADVERTISING CASE
The Stories From 2001 to the Present
Read the 14-page indictment .pdf
Shona Seifert and Thomas Early yesterday pleaded not guilty to charges of falsely inflating Ogilvy's labor costs from May 1999 to April 2000 while working on the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy account. The charges come nearly two years after Ogilvy settled for $1.8 million civil charges that it overbilled the government for work on anti-drug youth advertising campaign.
Earlier Ogilvy statement
In a statement seemingly distancing itself from the two earlier in the week, Ogilvy said it has cooperated with all the government investigations and that if any of its employees broke the law, "their behavior was inconsistent with the high standards the company promotes and maintains."
Today an Ogilvy spokesman declined to say how much of the pair's legal defense Ogilvy would pay or for how long. He said corporations typically pay some part of legal fees for executives charged in cases related to the workplace.
He denied payment runs contrary to Ogilvy's earlier statement: "Ogilvy covers certain legal expenses by law for matters occurring during employment. And by law, the privacy of our employees and former employees precludes us from saying anything more."
If convicted, Ms. Seifert and Mr. Early face up to 100 months in prison and a fine.
Mr. Early is represented by Laurence Urgenson, a partner in the Washington office of Kirkland & Ellis. Ms. Seifert is represented by Gregory Craig, partner in Williams & Connolly, also in Washington. Mr. Craig represented former President Bill Clinton during his impeachment trial.
Requests for comment left at the offices of both lawyers were not returned by press time.
Mr. Early resigned as finance director for the New York office yesterday. Ms. Seifert left two years ago to become president of WPP Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day' office in New York. TBWA has declined to comment, saying that this is an Ogilvy matter and that "while at TBWA/Chiat/Day, Shona has shown the highest professional standards and we are pleased to have her at the agency."
The two are alleged to have directed some Ogilvy employees to revise already completed time sheets to show they had worked longer on the contract than recorded and to have their time sheets reflect that they'd spent a specified amount of time on the account, regardless of whether they actually had done so.