Don’t know if this story is getting much play outside the advertising community, but it should, for comic relief if nothing else. The huge firm Ogilvy & Mather is defending itself against charges it overbilled the Clinton Administration’s White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).
According to Ad Age online, an O&M exec sought in late 1999 to hide problems with the company’s financials by shifting billing time from other accounts to the government.
Testifying in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the FBI’s John Sardone presented a set of timesheets for Rosalinde Rago, Ogilvy’s former director of research and planning who died last year. He told the jury that the handwriting on written orders on the timesheets telling Ms. Rago to “Put Huggies and Wings time on ONDCP” matched handwriting samples provided to prosecutors by Ms. Seifert.
For all the clients who ever suspected they were being overcharged, this case provides plenty to worry about. As for O&M, it’s going to take a lot of Huggies and Wings to soak up all the hot water they’re in.