Dirt Diggers Network: Digest No. 10
June 27, 2002

Editor: Philip Mattera

1. Query about Ketchum PR firm
2. Reply to query about IPOs
3. Replies to query about IRS Form 990s

1. Query about Ketchum PR firm

Sheldon Rampton writes:

I'm doing some research on the Ketchum PR firm, including its labor unit
(read: union-busting operation) in Chicago and would appreciate any leads
anyone can give me about its current or past activities.

Ketchum's labor team is called the "Ketchum Workplace Communications Practice"
and works with other Ketchum affiliates including Sheppard Associates and
Cohen/Gebler. Staff members include Libby Andrews (formerly vice president
of the Kamber Group, which has advised labor unions); David Drobis
(Ketchum's senior partner and CEO); Paul Furiga (a former union organizer
and journalist); Logan Sossman (an attorney); Lynn Reno; Dominick Argento;
and Peter Fleischer and Jerry Thompson (directors of Ketchum's Pittsburgh

Last year Ketchum hired a workplace specialist (I think it's called
Schlomberg in NY), and I believe it merged it with Ketchum Sheppard in Calif.
I'd appreciate any help that anyone can give me in fleshing out the details
of Ketchum's labor-related PR activities.

2. Reply to query about IPOs

Michael Garland writes:

Regarding the IPO query, it's an important question and i would be very
interested to learn of any such sites. Unfortunately, i fear that no such
source exists. While some companies openly disclose their intention to issue
an IPO, none provide meaningful details (in part i think for valid legal
reasons regarding disclosure) until they've filed with the SEC. Even after
the company has filed a preliminary S-1 it can be extremely difficult to
obtain good info on the IPO timetable and roadshow without a line into one
of the underwriters. For those network participants with access,
edgar-online has a good IPO site (http://www.edgar-online.com/ipoexpress/)
that lists upcoming/ongoing IPOs at various stages, as follows:

I understand that the above, however, does not address the Query regarding
IPOs that have yet to file.

3. Replies to query about IRS Form 990s

Maria Pellerano writes:
As far as I know there is no way to get this information unless someone
gives it to you by mistake. I believe the law was intended to protest the
privacy of the donors not necessarily the nonprofit. My organization's
accountant provides us with a "public disclosure" copy which is basically
what one sees on Guidestar. Others may have inventive ways to get this

Stephanie Greenwood writes:

I used to do research for a medical residents' union and spent a lot of time
tracking down Form 990s. (Virtually all the hospitals in New York are

If you want to directly confront the company, the law is absolutely on your
side. I had good success showing up with a written copy of the legal
requirement (do you have a copy? I can dig mine up and send it) especially
when dealing with actual lawyers for the firm. More junior people tended to
hedge and delay, but if you are willing to make a loud fuss about the fines
someone will probably help you. (I never got to the point of having someone
fined, but sometimes had to point out that I knew who to write to about it.)
For a more covert approach, copies of the Form 990s are also filed with the
State. In New York they are available at the Charities Bureau of the State
Attorney General's office. They will let you come "inspect" on short notice
but can take a couple of weeks to get copies mailed.

Also - probably you know this, but you can buy detailed audited financial
statements off dpcdata.com, a website for bondholders, for $20 a pop.

P.S. I don't believe that names of major contributors are required to be included
in the Form 990s. Top paid executives, yes, and top paid contractors. But
contributors I am not so sure...Sorry not to be of more direct help.

Ed Ramthun writes:

According to the IRS regulations, you can ask for a copy of the three most
recent 990s (and the organization's application for exempt status) either in
person or by making a written request (www.irs.gov/pub/irs-irbs/irb99-17.pdf).

The regulations exclude contributors' names and addresses from the definition
of discloseable documents, but sometimes you get lucky and the organization
provides an unedited copy. GuideStar is fast, anonymous, and very cheap. Requests
made directly to the organization, however, may produce a recently filed 990 that
is not yet available on GuideStar, and may include the excludable
information that has been screened out by GuideStar -- and may also tip off
the organization that someone is investigating it. Other documents such as
an organization's annual report or fund-raising material, if you can get
them, also may yield information on contributors.


Philip Mattera