Escambia County

Last batch of Valentino emails

June 5, 2009

I will try to summarize all these emails and give my analysis by Sunday morning.

Part 2 pages 1-20

Part 2 pages 21-35

Part 2 pages 36-50

Part 2 pages 51-72

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  • Not A Birdwell Fan, But... June 6, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    Fair enough, but as I search the PNJ archives on this story (and the project) was on the skids by mid-March, certainly by end of March.

    Thanks for the recap on this. Nonetheless, this story was beyond repair of any PR firm by end of March, which means maybe your criticism of birdwell on THIS project is a bit unfounded.

    Perhaps GV’s “PR people” is the Birdwell agency, but they can’t be “blamed” for this screw-up. Duke it out with them on PEDA all you want, but to be fair, they didn’t blow this rollout, looks like Bullock did.

    • Rick Outzen June 6, 2009 at 8:05 pm

      Not really sure much PR work was ever done. It’s difficult to tell from the emails. We at the IN had heard rumors about the casinos but no PR person ever contacted us to spin it. I brought up Birdwell solely because BPM handles marketing for Perdido Key and the possible conflict. The Bullock angle is worth asking about and I will. Their firm could have a similar conflict because of their marketing of Pensacola Beach. We don’t know if Raad Cawthon was acting independently or note. With so little PR business in Pensacola, it may be unfair to even worry about such conflicts.

      But to be fair to all, there appears to be several people helping with the PR of this project – Travis Peterson, Bill Cagle, Randy Cudd and Beth Barrios. The emails don’t tell us what role each played. We don’t know who was being paid or by whom.

  • Not A Birdwell Fan, But... June 6, 2009 at 10:33 am

    Funny, Rick it seems like you’ve been after Birdwell for quite a while, but it turns out that the Bullock, not Birdwell, agency was “handling” the PR effort for this bingo casino, at least according to the emails.

    If I were Keefer or Valentino or whoever was paying Bullock agency, I’d be pretty upset.

    This whole story blew up once it hit the PNJ and I guess Carlton Proctor’s desk. For a big agency like Bullock, they should have known better or “pulled some strings” at the mullet wrapper.

    This bingo project got about as much negative press from the PNJ as the Waterfront Park plan got positive. It was an all-out assault.

    But it wasn’t Birdwell, RIck. Going to take on Bullock now?

    • Rick Outzen June 6, 2009 at 11:07 am

      Not a Birdwell Fan, But:

      Looks like Raad Cawthon at Bullock was working for Julian MacQueen according to the Feb. 11 email from MacQueen to GV and Keefer (read page 16 ). I believe the Bullock agency also handles the marketing for the dog track. I do have a call into Raad – he was out of the office Friday.

      There is also a March 6 email from Raad (from his personal email account) asking Cy Keefer to ride with him to Atmore. I don’t know if Cawthon is working for himself or Bullock on this (seems unusual that he isn’t using his corporate acct). Read page 20.

      In March 15 email from GV to Keefer, it appears that GV doesn’t know who Raad is (calls him Radd). Instead GV says he wants to bring in his PR people. After March 15, Cawthon is no longer mentioned.

  • whoopee June 5, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    I think that Valentino and Keefer would have been better off getting the Mayoki Indians to sanction bingo at the Flora Bama under one of the big tents with a wet t shirt contest and mullet toss thrown in for good measure. Think of it as the Escambia version of The Wharf. No wonder they laugh at us across the state line.

  • Richard Hawkins June 5, 2009 at 7:14 pm


    Can you summarize what you have learned from these records?

    FWIW, I also want Gene’s response to Rick’s summary — I have asserted all along that Rick Outzen is responsible for every area problem, especially since he took out the former leaders of the Downtown Crowd.