UTAH MAYOR QUITS PR JOB AMID SCANDAL
The Mayor of West Valley City, Utah, has quit his PR job at a Salt Lake City agency after writing more than a dozen articles under a phony name.
Mike Winder resigned from The Summit Group after two years on Nov. 15, apologizing for penning articles about his city to Utah media under the name Richard Burwash.
“I am hoping that my departure will demonstrate that The Summit Group is an agency that always strives for the highest ethical practices and open and forthright relationships with the media,” he said in a resignation letter read to the West Valley City council.
Utah’s Deseret News reported that Winder had more than a dozen stories published over a two-year period in outlets like the Deseret
News, KSL.com and the Oquirrh Times, some of which quoted himself as mayor.
The mayor said he stopped using the pen name when he learned it violated the policy of the Deseret News’ freelancer network he used to publish the works.
“Since The Summit Group knew nothing about my pen name until last week, I feel that this is an important step to absolve the agency from any association with this issue,” said Winder, who created a fake online profile to produce the stories.
Dennis Jolley, a public affairs and marketing director for the University of Utah and president-elect of the Salt Lake City chapter of PRSA, condemned the acts of the mayor.
“By choosing to take a shortcut via deception, Mayor Winder not only damaged his own reputation, but that of West Valley City, the city’s elected representatives, and communications professionals,” he said in a statement.
Winder told the Deseret News he wanted to “restore balance” to its coverage of his city, which he said published more crime stories than other news.
Summit Group partner told the Salt Lake Tribune “it doesn’t reflect how we do business.”
“We say who we are when we do our job,” he said, telling the Tribune that he met with employees Monday to “re-emphasize the expectations of the firm.”
ASSANGE HIRES PR FIRM
Julian Assange, who is currently appealing the Nov. 2 decision of a British judicial panel to deport him to Sweden, has hired Stockholm’s Ullman PR.
The WikiLeaks founder faces rape and sexual assault charges in Sweden.
Harald Ullman decided to represent Assange because he’s “entitled to a good lawyer and a good PR agency to handle the huge media” that will cover a trial, according to a statement on his firm’s website. He believes Assange is “innocent of the charges of rape as alleged.”