Propheta Communications President Kevin Mercuri is threatening to file a lawsuit against the parent company of Help A Reporter Out (HARO), Two Cats and a Cup of Coffee LLC, which is owned by Peter Shankman, if it does not honor a six-month contract it signed with Propheta.
HARO is a service that matches journalists with sources.
This summer, HARO tapped Propheta to handle public relations. They parted ways more than four weeks ago. Mercuri told PR Junkie that he reached a “gentleman’s agreement” with HARO to end their contract. He said the agreement included the possibility of working together down the road.
Last week, PR Junkie reported that HARO had named RLM PR its agency of record about three weeks ago.
Mercuri feels HARO’s chief operating officer, Thom Brodeur, has breached the gentleman’s agreement because of comments he has made about Propheta.
“I’m not quite sure why he’s doing what he’s doing, but this is really the only way to make it stop,” Mercuri said. He plans to file a breach of contract lawsuit if HARO does not compensate him for the full six-month contract.
HARO has denied any wrongdoing. Brodeur said HARO has no further comment on the matter.
Today, HARO founder Peter Shankman offered PRNewser this statement: "HARO engaged Propheta Communications to handle public relations duties during the summer of 2009. After working with Propheta for several weeks, we decided to shift the direction of our communications strategy." Shankman added, "[W]e believe Propheta's allegations are without merit and don't believe this to be an issue."
PRNewser’s Joe Ciarallo suggested that there’s bad blood between RLM and Propheta. Mercuri worked at RLM before leaving the firm to become a vice president at 5WPR.
“I have no battle with” RLM President Richard Laermer, Mercuri told PR Junkie. “I don’t think I ever had a battle with Richard.”
Laermer was unavailable for comment.