LOUISVILLE, CO—After filing two unsuccessful protests with Colorado’s state purchasing department, CTA Public Relations has requested a hearing from the executive director of the State of Colorado to reverse the recent decision to award the Colorado wine industry development board’s PR contract to an Arizona advertising agency that has no wine industry experience.
“Hiring an Arizona advertising agency to promote Colorado’s wine industry is a slap in the face to Colorado,” said Carl Thompson, owner of CTA Public Relations. “This decision is an insult to Colorado’s public relations profession and taxpayers, particularly during these recessionary times.” Thompson says the decision also flies in the face of the ‘Always Buy Colorado’ program, now called the ‘Colorado Proud’ program, which the Colorado wine board embraces.
“It’s hard to fathom that the State of Colorado could not find one Colorado public relations firm qualified to represent Colorado’s burgeoning wine industry,” added Thompson. “Colorado’s wine board is fond of saying that Colorado consumers should support the home team and buy Colorado wine. However, the wine board apparently does not support the home team when it comes to selecting a homegrown public relations agency to represent Colorado’s wine industry.
“This is either highly hypocritical or there is some funny business going on under the table between someone on the state level and this Arizona advertising agency. Either way, the process was flawed.”
On June 30, the state purchasing office indicated it intended to award the Colorado wine board PR campaign to Riester~Robb Colorado. Riester~Robb is an advertising agency headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, which opened a satellite office in February of 2003 in Denver, Colorado, to service its only Colorado client, the Colorado anti-tobacco advertising campaign.
Because it is a limited liability company, Riester~Robb Colorado does not pay Colorado corporate income taxes. According to Thompson, all of Riester~Robb Colorado’s income flows to its owners who reside in Arizona, where there is no state income tax. CTA has been paying Colorado corporate income taxes for almost 18 years.