New Information: The DraftFCB $200 Million Scandal
Editor’s Note: There have never been criminal charges brought against Boschetto, and MyTwoCensus does not claim to have any knowledge about his guilt or innocence. The suit linked to below makes allegations but does not provide supporting evidence to support its claims.
Editor’s Update: Today, Jim Edwards of BNet writes of the Boschetto case:
A federal judge dismissed the case in February 2007, fined the lawyer who filed it $8,000, and ordered him not to bring it again. (He appealed.) The judge also noted that Boschetto was never served in the case — even though he’s a named defendant — and that the complaint was littered with errors, including the plagiarism of several passages from other suits that were also dismissed. The judge wrote, “This intent to humiliate and embarrass is further manifested in the amended complaint which is littered with wholly irrelevant, inflammatory, and embarrassing facts concerning defendants and non-defendants alike that have no bearing on the actions brought…”
The mid 2000s were tumultuous times for DraftFCB. Wal-Mart pulled out of their $580-million deal with the firm when, in December 2006, Wal-Mart fired two marketing executives who had helped procure the DraftFCB contract, alleging that the executives had accepted gifts from the agencies under consideration when making their decision to hire DraftFCB.
These problems were further compounded when, in February 2006, DraftFCB’s CEO Laurence Boschetto, was accused of sexual abuse (read the court documents by clicking here) in bizarre incidents related to the Catholic Church abuse scandals. According to the attorney who filed this lawsuit (whom MyTwoCensus spoke with today), this case is still pending in the New York State Supreme Court and Boschetto has never refuted the charges by saying he didn’t commit the crimes (Purportedly, he has only stated that the statute of limitations in this case has expired).
None of these factors prevented the US Census Bureau from thinking that this was the ideal company to carry out its ad/media campaigns for the 2010 Census. DraftFCB was publicly announced as the winning firm in August 2007. Ostensibly the bidding/selection process for this $200 million contract took place while the firm was in the news for its less than positive dealings, which makes one wonder why they were selected over companies that weren’t plagued by scandals. As the Wal-Mart example shows, DraftFCB has no problem providing kickbacks for people to gain contracts.
MyTwoCensus is seriously concerned about the nature of how this contract was awarded and we are seeking information about the bidding process, proposals of other firms, and the high likelihood that Washington power-brokers had an unethical (if not illegal) influence on this bidding process. Unfortunately, we are unable to place an FOIA request to determine the nature of other companies’ proposals and bids due to legal restrictions, but we urge our readers who work for the IG, GAO, or Congress to gather this data.